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Microsoft teases ‘Halo 5’ with new alternate-reality game

The Hunt the Truth ARG investigates the origins of Master Chief.


Dennis Scimeca

Internet Culture

Posted on Mar 23, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 6:13 am CDT

Microsoft is using an online game to drop hints about the story of Halo 5: Guardians that suggest Master Chief is a traitor. Halo fans may also finally get a real origin story for their favorite Spartan.

Hunt the Truth is the story of a journalist named Benjamin Giraud, who is investigating the background of Master Chief. The first audio clip on the Hunt the Truth Tumblr page introduces Giraud and the nature of the story he’s been investigating.

Buried within the Hunt the Truth campaign, however, is an alternate-reality game. Redditors are piecing together clues gleaned from a short video that Microsoft posted to YouTube on Friday, information that Microsoft shared on Twitter, and the background image on the Hunt the Truth Tumblr page. So far, it looks like all the clues are pieces of a star map, but no one knows yet what that’s supposed mean.

Benjamin Giraud is a long-established piece of Halo history, having been featured in Second Sunrise Over New Mombasa, one of the short stories in Marvel‘s Halo Graphic Novel in 2006. New Mombasa plays a big role in Halo 2 and Halo 3 as a city invaded by the alien Covenant, and the Battle for New Mombasa was a central theme in Microsoft’s “Believe” ad campaign for Halo 3.

In Second Sunrise Over New Mombasa, Giraud was a “photographer” who created edited news reports for the military to feed to Earth’s civilian population. The news reports made it look like humanity was holding its own against the Covenant, but Giraud knew the truth: that humanity was on the brink of extinction. Giraud, who was in New Mombasa when the Covenant invasion began, tried to sneak intelligence on the Covenant out of the city.

If Giraud was privy to the most classified military information during the war, it’s reasonable to think that he would also be given classified information about Master Chief’s origins. This suggests that Hunt the Truth may have some fun disclosures for Halo fans. All fans really know for sure about Master Chief is that his first name is John and that he was kidnapped as a child and forced into the Spartan super-soldier program.

Halo 5: Guardians will be released this year. Microsoft has not announced a specific release date.

Screengrab via Xbox/YouTube

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*First Published: Mar 23, 2015, 12:23 pm CDT