E3 2018 Announcement Trailer
Updated: Feb 9, 2022
The trailer that started it all! From the beginning, it could have been anything, but somehow a part of you knew it was Halo. Imagine your satisfaction and excitement when you not only saw the Master Chief’s helmet, but it looked so similar to the one from Halo 2 and Halo 3. From the beautiful vistas and magnificent fauna to the abandoned Pelican and wandering Marines, this trailer captivated our interest and made us hungry for more. Although we wouldn’t get too many more details until E3 2019, this trailer actually showed us more than just some pretty sights. Here’s what we can glean from the trailer, including both obvious features and hidden details:
The trailer is running entirely in the game’s engine, showing off not a pre-rendered video but actual objects and designs within the engine. Now, this trailer is designed primarily to demonstrate what the game’s engine can do, not so much what will be in the final game. As such, some of the creatures, scenery, or objects we see in the trailer may not be in the final game. Even so, the general atmosphere and broad themes of the trailer likely tie directly into the game, giving us few concrete story details but instead communicating the overall mood around the game.
An immediate question is: “Why are there deer here, on a Halo ring?” This question is quite valid, as canon fans will note the prevalence of more alien creatures on other planets and Halo rings. There is one Halo ring, however, that stands out as being a bit different from the others: Zeta Halo or Installation 07. This ring housed a number of ancient humans toward the close of the Forerunner-Flood War, and it is likely that its environment was tailored to mimic that of Earth. Of course, 343i could just be showing how the engine works with animals, but what if there is more to it?
Here we have more evidence to support the theory that this trailer takes place on Zeta Halo: glyphs carved into rocks. These glyphs are modifications of characters from several ancient human languages, making them seem familiar but not entirely recognizable. What might it say, however? Are these just meaningless glyphs, or is there more to it? Several sleuths found a likely translation for the glyphs shortly after the trailer released, indicating that it likely meant “Enemy Within.”
What is the enemy within? There are a lot of possibilities in the Halo universe, although the context might suggest infection by the Flood. The last Precursor and Mendicant Bias performed several experiments on the Installation 07 human population involving the Flood, so it is possible that this message refers to that. However, I am unsure that this situation is altogether likely, and I expect that it probably refers to some sort of betrayal that the UNSC may experience at some point following the ending of Halo 5: Guardians. For now, though, we do not know anything more than this message, and we will have to wait and see if it becomes clearer in the months to come.
This UNSC radio in a tattered canvas tent is receiving a message in Morse code. The message is “SOS Zeta Halo GRD.” In fewer than 20 seconds, we have seen three suggestions of Zeta Halo, this one being the most obvious of the three. Clearly, Installation 07 is going to have a major role in the upcoming title, and this trailer seems to focus on it as a setting.
Of particular importance is the SOS at the start. Whoever is sending the message is not having a good time apparently. The other interesting term here is “GRD.” At this time, it is not known precisely what is meant by GRD, but it most likely is an abbreviation of “ground.” The question is then, “Is the message referring to the sender or the recipient?” Perhaps we will find out more soon.
We see the nose of a rhino just prior to this shot, but here we see the front half of the rhino. Interestingly, this rhino bears striking resemblance to some prehistoric species that have since gone extinct on Earth. Perhaps these rhinos are the last living remnants of a species that no longer exists on Earth. Even if not, the presence of these familiar, yet distinct, animals makes sense given that we are on Zeta Halo in this trailer. We would expect to see creatures very similar to those on Earth.
This enlarged screenshot from the interior of the Pelican shows a date: 5/27/2560. That is likely when the trailer takes place. For reference, Halo 5: Guardians ended around 10/28/2558, so this trailer would be more than a year and a half later. A lot can happen in that time, so we’ll be entering a very different universe later this year than we left.
Here’s where it becomes much more obvious that we’re looking at a Halo game: we have Marines! The Marines seem to have a new armor configuration that is something like a combination of Halo: Reach and Halo 4/5 Marines. In addition, two of them are holding what appear to be scopeless Battle Rifles of the Halo 5 variety, although this model may very well be a placeholder based on more recent information.
If you didn’t catch on that you were watching a Halo trailer, this reveal, coupled by the simultaneous piano chord from one of the Halo 3 trailers, practically beat you over the head with it. This view of the Master Chief’s helmet shows a departure from the Mk. VI version in Halo 4 and Halo 5 and a return to a version more heavily influenced by Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo Legends. Between the Master Chief and the Marines shown just a few seconds prior, it’s clear that this Halo game is taking a long, thorough look at what came before and creating new artistic designs out of the old ones. In addition, the music that begins here is an instant callback to Halo 3, showing a similar influence for the music of Halo Infinite.
Here we see a Scout Warthog kicking up some dust with the four Marines in it. Two are riding in the front, and two are riding in the back. In the background, we can see a Forerunner signal tower, one that should be intimately familiar to players of Halo: CE. These towers act as beacons in the mission Halo from Halo: CE, firing blue bolts of energy into the sky for some unknown purpose. The callback to CE in this trailer should not be ignored, as it will become even more prominent in later Halo Infinite media.
The ring is revealed at last! The last time we were actually on a Halo, excluding side games, was the mission Halo in Halo 3. Yet, we haven’t spent much time on a Halo ring since Halo 2, so the opportunity to explore a “new” ring is clearly inspired by Halo: CE and Halo 2. Are you ready to experience Halo once again?
Not only is it a game engine demonstration, it’s a demonstration of a brand new engine, called the Slipspace Engine. More on this marvel of technology in a later entry.
As Chief inserts the AI chip into his helmet, we can briefly zoom in and see part of the serial number for the AI: 0453-0. For context, Cortana’s serial number is CTN0452-9, which is remarkably similar to this AI’s serial number. This mystery has not been officially solved, but it is likely that this new AI is related to Cortana in some way.
So here’s what we know from the trailer:
The trailer is a demonstration of the Slipspace Engine, being designed by 343i specifically for Halo Infinite.
The trailer is set on Zeta Halo, which is known for formerly housing ancient humans.
The trailer likely takes place on May 27, 2560, more than a year after Halo 5.
The art style is heavily based on the first few Halo games with some new twists.
The Battle Rifle is probably in the game.
The music is reminiscent of Halo 3, but it also has some subtle references to other music from Halo, including Halo 4’s Green and Blue during the buildup.
The Warthog, at least the Scout variant, is likely in the game.
The towers from CE are likely in the game as well, provided it actually takes place on Zeta Halo at some point.
Master Chief has an AI chip with a new serial number that seems similar to, but distinct from, Cortana’s.