The core Halo games are intense first-person shooters, so some fans may not be interested in playing a real-time strategy spinoff like the upcoming Halo Wars 2. However, anyone that is looking forward to the next FPS entry in the series may want to reconsider that, as 343 Industries narrative director Kevin Grace has teased that the events of Halo Wars 2 will tie directly into the unannounced Halo 6.
In an interview with GameSpot, Grace stated that since Halo Wars 2 takes place shortly after the conclusion of Halo 5: Guardians, the events depicted in the game will have a “big impact” on Halo 6. Halo Wars 2 will apparently be used to enhance the Halo universe in general, with 343 possibly incorporating important characters first introduced in Halo 4 and 5 into the proceedings to help all the games have a more cohesive narrative.
Exactly which characters could be coming to Halo Wars 2 has yet to be revealed. We know that the game is set in “present time” for the Halo universe, unlike the original Halo Wars, which actually served as a prequel to the first game. Considering its place in the timeline, just about any major character from Halo could potentially show up at some point during Halo Wars 2‘s story, including heavy hitters like Spartan Locke, Master Chief, or The Arbiter.
Unfortunately, 343 is staying tight-lipped about any returning characters players can look forward to seeing in Halo Wars 2. However, the title could impact the Halo universe in other ways as well. For example, the game is introducing a brand new enemy type to the franchise, called the Banished, and it’s possible that this new threat will play a role in Halo 6, or at least show up for a few firefights here and there.
343’s goal is to make all the Halo games feel like a consistent universe, and it will be accomplishing that by making the story of Halo Wars 2 have major implications for future games in the series. And as seen in the game’s online multiplayer beta, it will also be accomplishing that goal by incorporating new weapons, vehicles, and enemies that were introduced to the series in the years since the
Halo Wars 2 won’t be available for a few more months, but the game has potential to outsell the original if 343 is serious about it having a “big impact” on the story of Halo 6. Fans that would usually steer clear from real-time strategy games may be swayed into buying Halo Wars 2 just for the chance to see the next chapter in the ongoing Halo saga. We’ll find out early next year if Halo Wars 2‘s increased narrative importance over its predecessor pays off.
Halo Wars 2 will be available on February 21st, 2017 for PC and Xbox One.