Halo 5 will naturally see the return of Covenant vehicles to the Xbox One franchise, though the Covenant effectively ended with Halo 3. The vehicles have seen tweaks and touches over the years that have largely remained unexplained. 343 Industries provided details on the latest changes to the vehicles and used the Halo lore to help explain.
The Banshee aircraft, Ghost ground attack vehicle, Phantom troop carrier, and Wraith tank are all returning for Halo 5. The vehicles do come with some changes though due to the dissolution of the Covenant and the fact that the Sangheili (Elite) are currently engaged in a civil war between those that follow the Arbiter and the Sword of Sanghelios faction against the Covenant remnant led by Jul ‘Mdama.
The designs of each of the vehicles have been tweaked to look even deadlier, and possibly more beetle-like, as graphics continue their inevitable forward march. The changes are steeped in the lore of Halo, however, including how the San’Shyuum (Prophets) influenced so much of how the Covenant vehicles were designed.
“Combat flyers had been a staple in the Elite warfare for millennia, and the Hesduros-pattern T-54 Banshee harkens back to earlier designs that once dominated the Sanghelios skies. Freed from the design shackles of conservative San’Shyuum bureaucrats, the Banshee has been updated with numerous improvements, including an integral energy shield.”
“The new generation of Ghosts feature a sleek biomimetic carapace wrapped over the latest boosted-gravity drive components. The T-54 RAV offers a greater level of protection and higher performance to give operators an edge during ground engagements.”
“Few combat vehicles reflect the traditional Sangheili design aesthetic better than the ubiquitous Phantom. The new dropships crafted by Malurok Armory, the Kolaar Manufactorum, and Achoem Weapons to feed the ravenous war engines of the Covenant and Swords of Sanghelios draw their inspiration from aquatic predators found on Elite colonies. Design details that the San’Shyuum had always deemed… inelegant.”
“A new artillery vehicle for a new style of war, the smaller, more nimble Wraith plasma artillery is used by both sides of the Sangheili civil war to great effect. A completely new design, the T-58 LAGC features a host of refinements and design elements of great interest to the humans’ Office of Naval Intelligence.”
Halo 5 players should expect to see Sword of Sanghelios variants of all of these vehicles as well.
It’s always interesting to see how game designers work around the limitations imposed by the canon of the source material and the reaction from the fan base. The most telling example was when 343 Industries redesigned the Master Chief’s armor in Halo 4, but could not provide a reasonable explanation for how those changes happened while the Chief was in cryogenic sleep chamber.
That was but one of the problems Halo fans had with the final game from the series on the Xbox 360. However, the reaction to the changes to Covenant vehicles seems more upbeat so far. Members of NeoGAF, not particularly known for their easy love of Halo, praised the changes overall with a few nitpicks toward the Wraith not looking big enough.
Halo 5: Guardians is currently set for an October 27 release on the Xbox One. 343 Industries has been hyping up the game in the past week with a pair of live-action commercials that reveal the lengths that ONI is willing to go with propaganda to cover up Master Chief’s and Blue Team’s supposed split with the UNSC. It also serves to set up Spartan Locke’s and Fireteam Osiris’ motivation to hunt the Chief down.
What do you think of the changes to the Covenant vehicles for Halo 5? Sound off in the comments below.
[Images via Halo Waypoint]
[Edit: Corrected the last sentence of the second paragraph after it abruptly ended before mentioning the other side of the civil war.]