Halo 5 Seen To Have Two Playable Characters

Posted: May 16 2014, 2:36pm CDT | by , Updated: May 16 2014, 8:50pm CDT, in News | Gaming

Will Halo 5: Guardians Have A Female Character?

Earlier, Paul Tassi wondered aloud if the next playable protagonist in upcoming Xbox One exclusive Halo 5 would be a woman.

While I think the end of Halo 4 left us squarely in the boots of Master Chief, I don’t think a female protagonist is entirely out of the question. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see players take on the role of multiple playable characters—something we saw in Halo 2 a decade ago with the addition of the Arbiter.

So it’s possible we’ll have a playable female character.

But I sincerely doubt we’ll have only a female playable character, both because Halo 4 strongly implied a continuation of the story of the heart-broken Master Chief, and because this is the video game industry and games featuring female protagonists simply don’t sell very well.

That’s the key here. The Xbox One is still well behind the PS4 in total sales. Halo is the biggest Xbox One exclusive franchise. Microsoft and 343 Industries won’t jeopardize the selling power—and system selling power—of Halo 5 by putting a female lead at the helm. Alone.

I don’t say this happily or, rather, I find it a grim factoid that games with girls in lead roles sell poorly still, still scare publishers away. I think that’s a symptom not so much of the lack of female participation in the market but of the industry failing to realize the market’s full potential and advertise and package games accordingly.

I think it would make hardly one ounce of difference to have a largely silent female space marine decked out from head to toe in a fancy high-tech space suit rather than a largely silent male space marine decked out from head to to in a fancy high-tech space suit. Except in terms of what the story is about, or who it’s about.

The thing is, for the first time since the first game in this series, I’m actually pretty invested in the story of Halo 4, and I really want to find out what happens next in Master Chief’s personal journey. I can’t imagine he’ll be tossed aside, and I don’t think this would be the right time to do that either.

My guess, from looking at that teaser image (above) is that we’re going to revisit the two-protagonist formula of Halo 2, this time with both Master Chief and a female protagonist and their two branching storylines.

The death of Cortana in Halo 4 and the way that impacted Master Chief makes including a new female element more likely as well. Filling Cortana’s shoes isn’t possible, so a new female playable character makes a lot of sense. Note the plural in the subtitle also—Guardians. Perhaps another clue that we’re going to be playing as more than one hero.

Halo 5 is slated for a 2015 release.

Follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Read my Forbes blog here.

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