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No new factions and why this is bad

OP total war1402

"hey guys - I'm all for transparency and realistic expectations - I'm genuinely excited about the content that's yet to come for Halo Wars 2 but I can go ahead and confirm that there will not be any other playable factions in the game. I definitely get the excitement and desire (and I personally share it!) but it's not in the plans for HW2." -ske7ch

I was really disappointed to hear about this. I had thought from the SDCC panel that they were going to add the Prometheans as a faction so having that bubble burst ain't good.

The first Halo Wars only had two factions. But whilst a lot of people rightly wanted the Flood as a faction, it wasn't actually that bad a problem. This is because the game was set during the Human - Covenant War. Right from the start you get a retelling of the battle of Harvest and the entire plot centers around a Forerunner fleet that could change the outcome of the war. So while we do encounter sentinels and the flood, they are incidental and they are not the focus of the story. As a result them not being included felt a lot less like an oversight because the game was clearly about humanities war against the Covenant. So we get them as our playable factions.

So what you ask? Halo Wars 2 is about Cutter fighting the Banished right? Well, no. It really isn't.

343 themselves made a really big deal before the games release that the game would be set post Halo 5. Which means that context of the human covenant war no longer applies. The context is "lets see what kind of galaxy we woke up to?". Which is odd, because the post Halo 5 story has been very heavily focused on the Prometheans in one form or other. So you simply can't do a game set in the Reclaimer Saga without the Prometheans. Now, if 343 doesn't introduce them at all then the game may as well not be set post Halo 5 at all and has nothing to do with the Reclaimer Saga. If their intention is to do a ATN esque expansion with non-playable Prometheans, well, why? Surely if you want to introduce the context of the whole "AI rebellion" thing then you can't have a primary antagonist be a non-playable faction?

In fact the main consequence of the HW2 campaign is that it explains how Cortana gets ahold of Installation 4C. So the entire point of the campaign was built around her acquiring a Halo Array. It was never about Atriox being this threat to humanity like the Arbiter was in the first Halo Wars and it was definitely not about defeating them. In fact him being outside the galaxy means he has a lot less humans he can possibly kill. But it means 343 did a campaign about "Cortana gets Halo ring"; without introducing a new faction. What you get is a very convoluted set of circumstances by which they have to use a Halo as a distress beacon and slip-space it back to the Milky Way.

Halo Wars 1 was a story which was very much an extension of the central conflict of the original trilogy. In which the fate of humanity was at stake and under threat because of the Covenant. In Halo Wars 2, the Banished simply aren't portrayed as a threat on that scale. In the context of post Halo 5, what we see is really just a glorified skirmish between two warships on the outskirts of a much larger conflict between humanity and the Prometheans. At no point does the game ever clearly show you that "if Atriox gets X, he can destroy humanity". If the purpose of HW2 campaign was purely to explain how Cortana stole installation 4C then the Prometheans should have been central to that narrative and included as a playable faction.

But Awakening the Nightmare is even worse and I actually now really hope they don't do the same thing with the Prometheans. The Flood in Halo Wars 1 were not central to the story. They were just there as fan service. Its never like in Halo CE where "if these get out the galaxy will end" and the campaign does not revolve around stopping a Flood infestation. As such them being an under-developed non playable faction made sense. But if ATN is going to entirely focus on a major flood infestation with the Flood as the main antagonists and an actual threat to the wider galaxy; surely that means they should be a playable faction? If you're making them that central to the narrative then it makes sense to include them.

IMO this is very much in line with a lot of other "next generation titles". You look at Battlefront. Everybody said they wanted a campaign and multiple era's. Instead we got multiplayer and rebellion only. But as if by magic we're suddenly getting all of that in Battlefront 2? Basically developers seem to be treating their first games as bare bones things that they can flesh out in sequels. If you're planning to have multiple games released every few years then it makes sense to not release everything people ask for at once; plus its easier on development on a new console I'd guess. So I reckon they plan to add another faction for Halo Wars 3 because theres not a lot of other features they can really add to an RTS. They already pulled the "return of Halo Wars" gimmic so they'll need something new.

Which would be fine if the campaign was focused on the Banished threat to humanity. But as I mention above, it isn't. The first campaign is about how Cortana gets that Halo ring. The second will be about the return of the Flood. If they knew that it was unfeasible or they were unwilling to fully develop those faction as playable races then why bother introducing them into the main campaign at all? Why set the game post Halo 5? Why have a big cliffhanger where Anders is captured by a Guardian?
You can complain all you want but it's not gonna happen ;)
You can complain all you want but it's not gonna happen ;)
No need to be snarky man, he provided a very well thought out reason as to why it would have been beneficial to have added more factions.

Now, in regards to the OP's post, I can see where you're coming from. However we know that the story of the Banished/Spirit of Fire is not finished. Perhaps the Flood returning in ATN will be a huge deal in Halo 6, or perhaps the Banished will find a way off the Ark to avoid the infestation and in turn threaten humanity. We don't have all the facts of the story yet.
You can complain all you want but it's not gonna happen ;)
Oh it will happen eventually. Just not in Halo Wars 2. They'll need some new feature for a third instalment if they do one. Otherwise they'll have to resolve the tale in a comic.

If they just wanted to tell a self contained story where the Spirit of Fire goes against a splinter group called the Banished then:

Why bother setting the game post Halo 5?

Why does the main campaign revolve around Cortana taking control of the Halo Ring?

Why does one of the expansions focus on a non-playable faction?
We don't know the story yet so it could make sense on why that exact setting is post halo 5 if they're clever enough. Also I don't think they are keeping things out of the game to put on the squeal simply because another halo wars isn't releasing anytime soon if at all
You can complain all you want but it's not gonna happen ;)
Oh it will happen eventually. Just not in Halo Wars 2. They'll need some new feature for a third instalment if they do one. Otherwise they'll have to resolve the tale in a comic.

If they just wanted to tell a self contained story where the Spirit of Fire goes against a splinter group called the Banished then:

Why bother setting the game post Halo 5?

Why does the main campaign revolve around Cortana taking control of the Halo Ring?

Why does one of the expansions focus on a non-playable faction?
Having a post Halo 5 setting allows Halo Wars 2 to setup Halo 6 and bring Cutter's Crew/Banished into the spotlight and allow them to a play a part in later installments.

Eh, wasn't the main storyline; the main storyline was the struggle between Atriox and Cutter.

Well, that's just how they wanted it. Maybe we should wait until we find out what the 2 new leaders are.
just finished the campaign and I will say that story wise, it was a step in the right direction. Most of the new halo games are suffering because they do not have their own genuine stories but rather try to hard to connect to the extended media. The new games are also too complex and end up propelling most of the story into the novelizations(I will never get over how the Didacts story was handled...what a shame).

But I agree with you by wondering where the prometheans were. I knew they had to be making some kind of an appearance but alas it seemed that 343 was going to stick to the cannon. Which was slightly weird considering the Ark was destroyed in Halo 3.
You can complain all you want but it's not gonna happen ;)
No need to be snarky man, he provided a very well thought out reason as to why it would have been beneficial to have added more factions.

Now, in regards to the OP's post, I can see where you're coming from. However we know that the story of the Banished/Spirit of Fire is not finished. Perhaps the Flood returning in ATN will be a huge deal in Halo 6, or perhaps the Banished will find a way off the Ark to avoid the infestation and in turn threaten humanity. We don't have all the facts of the story yet.
I don't see how you can have a main campaign where the villain's threat isn't communicated the player. They need to know what they are fighting for and what the stakes are. "If the Arbiter gets this Forerunner fleet he can destroy humanity". You can't relegate that to an expansion or god forbid Halo 6. Why is Atriox on the Ark? What does it mean if we lose? To have Cutter disingenuously assert that "the galaxy will be at the mercy of a monster" just doesn't make any sense. How is some Brute Warlord we only just heard about able to threaten a galaxy just recently conquered by a machine army?

Theres already way too many characters in Halo 5 for a story that really should have just been about Chief and Cortana. To add the entire cast of HW2 and resolve irrelevant plot details like freeing Anders would just confuse people. Especially since few FPS fans have played HW2.

Quite frankly I don't want them to do a crossover. I would much rather if the Flood are introduced after Cortana is taken out of the equation. I don't think its reasonable to pin the blame for the Flood killing billions of people on her when the fans are foaming at the mouth at her killing a few thousand people. For once it should actually be humanity which pays for its hubris and belief that they don't need their AI to protect them.
You can complain all you want but it's not gonna happen ;)
Oh it will happen eventually. Just not in Halo Wars 2. They'll need some new feature for a third instalment if they do one. Otherwise they'll have to resolve the tale in a comic.

If they just wanted to tell a self contained story where the Spirit of Fire goes against a splinter group called the Banished then:

Why bother setting the game post Halo 5?

Why does the main campaign revolve around Cortana taking control of the Halo Ring?

Why does one of the expansions focus on a non-playable faction?
Having a post Halo 5 setting allows Halo Wars 2 to setup Halo 6 and bring Cutter's Crew/Banished into the spotlight and allow them to a play a part in later installments.

Eh, wasn't the main storyline; the main storyline was the struggle between Atriox and Cutter.

Well, that's just how they wanted it. Maybe we should wait until we find out what the 2 new leaders are.
If they wanted HW2 to set-up Halo 6 then they would have had the Prometheans show up and had the Spirit actively participate in the war against Cortana. Not put the ship in the single most remote place in the galaxy and write in multiple reasons why Cortana can't be there. Having the ring teleport to the galaxy doesn't help set up Halo 6 because we already knew she had a ring from the Halo 5 after credits scene. So it does a terrible job of setting up Halo 6 if that was the intent.

The game could have been set during the Human Covenant War and that would have given just as much attention to Cutter & Co. The FPS games have enough characters. I do not care to see Chief rescue Anders. I do not care to see Chief meet Red Team when they haven't even developed Blue Team. The only future instalments will be Halo Wars games or comics.

We have heard very little about Halo 6 and almost all of the books/comics they are producing has very little to do with Halo 5. In fact a lot of it is set pre Halo 5 or even pre Halo 4. So if they clearly aren't marketing for Halo 6 then why is HW2 an exception and setting up the sequel?

And what did Atriox and Cutter do exactly apart from mindlessly shoot each-other for 6 hours? What was the main event? What was the main consequence? Unless you want to argue that the fate of the galaxy changed over one Super carrier getting blown up then it was the creation of a new Halo ring and it being captured by Cortana.

Not if your campaign is supposedly focusing on the Banished? Why not expand on why Atriox has an axe to grind with humanity? Why he has a problem with the UNSC and how he deals with Cutter? Why throw the Flood in simply to take the focus away from something they didn't even manage to explain in the main campaign? If you have an expansion that's about "the return of the flood", then forgive me for assuming that would be the perfect time to make them a playable faction; after EVERYONE requested that from the previous title.

The two new leaders are the two Brutes you see on the promo artworks. One has a shield and the other is a tech expert of some kind.