343 Industries already has "a definite story arc in mind" for Halo 5 and 6, the studio's told CVG.
Speaking at Microsoft's Xbox Spring Showcase earlier this month, 343 studio creative director Josh Holmes revealed the developer has "clear arcs" for where the second Halo trilogy will go, but in terms of how it executes those arcs, he said "that will be worked out as we go through the creative process".
"We have a definite story arc in mind. We have a very, very clear vision and understanding of the story for Halo 4 obviously and as you go further out from that point into the saga it obviously becomes a little looser," Holmes said.
He also confirmed the Halo 4 plot is a direct continuation from Halo 3, but wouldn't say outright if previous games contained hints as to where the new game will go - or clues as to the identity of its mysterious new foe.
"Everything that we've created has been designed with constancy and tie-ins to the existing cannon," he said. "So all of the historical cannon that comes before this game has been taken into account and connects in meaningful ways.
"And there's been a lot of work that we've put in to building the franchise," he added. "Specifically, Frank O'Connor and the franchise team have been developing the fiction that surrounds the franchise and they've put a lot of effort into creating those tie-ins to the things that we're building for Halo 4.
"That's something that we've partnered together on for the last several years."
For more details and comment from 343, read the first eyes-on impressions in our Halo 4 preview.