Home Gaming Here’s all the story you need to know for Halo 5: Guardians

Here’s all the story you need to know for Halo 5: Guardians

7 min read

Halo 5 Story Primer

Halo 5: Guardians is just under two weeks away (and already being played by some lucky members of the press and prominent streamers) and is set to continue the evolving story of Spartan-II soldier Master Chief John-117. It also introduces us to Spartan Locke – who is heading up a task force comprised of some familiar returning characters to…wait. They’re hunting Master Chief? Is he the big bad guy in Halo 5? Just what the hell is going on?

Without going into any detail regarding the actual plot of Halo 5 (despite the fact that we don’t know it yet) here’s a primer on all you need to know about what’s going on when Halo 5 kicks off. Be warned that it contains spoilers for Halo 4, as well as various other pieces of Halo canon that have set up the stakes for this epic intergalactic man hunt. So, without wasting any more time…

What happened to chief after Halo 4?

Halo 4 was a big game. Big in the sense that it had to introduce us again to Master Chief who had been deep in cryogenic sleep after being ripped into another part of the universe after Halo 3. The UNSC had presumed he was dead, and it took a while for that to actually change. Thankfully his AI partner Cortana managed to wake him up, and they eventually found themselves on a planet riddled with ancient Forerunner enemies and a broken off sect of the series enemies, the Covenant. Lead by Jul ‘Mdama, these Covenant forces were seeking to reach the core of the Requiem with Master Chief in tow trying to figure everything out in amongst dealing with Cortana reaching the end of her lifespan, and going truly nuclear from time to time.

These Prometheans didn't fool around

Eventually the core was reached, an ancient being called the Didact was awakened and his plan to digitise all sentient life was put into motion. Not seeing the logical loopholes in this, the Covenant worshipped the Didact and followed him towards Earth to wipe out the human race. Master Chief managed to stop them all, but not before the Didact used a weapon called the Composer to digitise all of New Phoenix into little bits of 1s and 0s and send them back to Requiem. There they were used to create new Promethean Knights, which fell under the command of Jul ‘Mdama.

Cortana eventually gave into her rampancy, Master Chief got really sad but Earth now knew he was alive and ready to kick Covenant ass again.

That’s a lot to digest. Can we go over it again?

Master Chief ran into some Covenant and old Prometheans. Their leader tried to turn all human life on earth into Promethean robots. Chief stopped them, but they managed to get some. Cortana died and became an AI for Microsoft devices everywhere. Chief got sad but is home. Got it?

Cortana is having a bad day

Got it. So what happened next?

Lots actually. Since the Covenant were still out there and causing all sorts of problems for the UNSC on various planets, Master Chief was dispatched to go and deal with them. Because the poor guy hasn’t had enough of them already. During these events master Chief is reunited with his former Spartan-II Blue team, consisting of Kelly-087, Fred-104 and Linda-058. The four then became a task force that the UNSC used to wipe out the Covenant, and investigate suspicious activities around UNSC instalments.

Jul 'Mdama is still out there

At around the same time, our Spartan Locke comes into play. There’s a massive prequel to Halo 5 during the events of Halo: Nightfall which basically introduces us to Locke, but hardly anything that happens there directly ties to the reason he’s now chasing Master Chief. What you do need to know is that after Nightfall, Locke opted to become a Spartan-IV. He underwent numerous augmentations in the process, and afterwards became the leader Fireteam Osiris. They’re a team many familiar Spartan-IV soldiers from previous games, including Olympia Vale, Edward Buck, and Holly Tanaka.

This is kind of where Halo 5 kicks off, but it’s not yet the end of why Master Chief is suddenly being hunted.

Cool, so Master Chief and Locke basically don’t even know each other at this point? How did things escalate so fast?

Well here’s where things get a little vague, because it’s all part of the Halo 5 prologue in a sense. Take that as a spoiler if you want.

At the beginning of Halo 5, Master Chief and his team are busy investigating an extremist organisation known as Sapien Sunrise. It leads Chief and his team to a peace delegation on Biko, where the UEG and Covenant clan of Sangheili are convening. A Sapien member is disguised as a UEG bodyguard, and Chief wastes no time, um, wasting him as soon as he arrives. This leads to a massive fire fight where 18 human lives are lost, and eventually results in the failure of Master Chief to protect and keep Richard Sekibo alive  (a pretty important human ambassador). For reasons unknown, the UEG and Biko government cover all this up by implicating that Master Chief and his Blue Team attacked the conference and have gone rogue, with news quickly spreading regarding the “Fallen Spartan”.

This is Locke's version of Blue Steel

Shortly after that, Chief and his Blue team embrace going AWOL after questioning the loyalties of their governments and embark on a mission to find and destroy Jul ‘Mdama and the Covenant forces that have begun attacking major human outposts. This leads them to the UNSC Argent Moon, a research vessel that has been missing for two years and is now occupied by Sangheili forces loyal to ‘Mdama. This is where Halo 5 kicks off.

At the same time, the human installations I previously mentioned were all being attacked by strange Promethean enemies, which Chief understands are under ‘Mdama’s control. The UNSC, however, don’t and quickly declare Chief and his Blue team as terrorists and orchestrators of the attacks. A ruse was then employed to suggest that the Chief had died in a Guardian attack, so that Agent Locke and his Osiris team could hunt the former patriot down without suspicion. This is where Locke’s side of the jumping Halo 5 story begins.

Ok whoa, lots to take in again. Shorter version please?

Chief and his Blue team were hunting an extremist Covenant group which then inadvertently got them setup to take the fall when their mission to protect a human ambassador failed. The team then went AWOL to stop new Promethean attacks on earth colonies orchestrated by Jul ‘Mdama and her Covenant forces. At the same time the UNSC declares Chief and his team traitors, fakes their deaths and set Agent Locke and his Spartan team loose to find and bring him in. Enter Halo 5.

My head. Do I really need to know all this and more before playing Halo 5?

Probably not, and I suspect the game will do a good job of filling in the important blanks considering it’s the first on the Xbox One. But without this (and playing some of the previous games) you lose some of the emotional weight behind it. Particularly because most of these characters are ones players have fought as and alongside. Seeing them bash heads is interesting.

Also, it’s going to be interesting to see how Cortana plays a part in all of this. Yes yes she died in a way that AIs do, but she has a lasting emotional impact on Chief that should be explored quite deeply.

That is quite interesting actually. What happens next?

Well we don’t know. That’s really for Halo 5 to answer, and all the Halo titles after that. You didn’t think Microsoft was letting it go, did you?

So it’s just going to get more confusing?

Yeah, probably. We’ll pick it up again after Halo 5 launches, deal?



Last Updated: October 16, 2015


  1. oh snap!! I forgot about nightfall!! back to the Halo channel with me


    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      October 16, 2015 at 13:25

      Don’t bother. Seriously. I watched the pilot and it’s not very good.


      • Francois Knoetze

        October 16, 2015 at 16:53

        actually just want to see where it all ties in. wasn’t into the pilot myself but might as well pull myself through it. enjoying Hunt the Truth podcasts quite a bit


        • doplerradar

          October 17, 2015 at 22:52

          The story itself has nothing to do with Halo 5. All it does was introduce Locke. Sadly it didn’t do that good of a job developing him as a character. You would learn more about him by watching videos people made that gives the back stories of the Spartans.


  2. Kervyn Cloete

    October 16, 2015 at 13:25

    You probably also need to mention that between Halo 3 and Halo 4 a helluva lot of story around the Didact and the Prometheans is actually revealed in Greg Bear’s Halo novels. If you haven’t read them, there will be plenty of characters/events referenced in Halo 4 that make no sense.


  3. 40 Insane Frogs

    October 16, 2015 at 13:33

    Still a better love story than Twilight?


    • Gareth Runnalls

      October 16, 2015 at 13:45

      Evil Dead 3 was a better love story than Twilight… 🙂


      • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

        October 16, 2015 at 13:55

        A dog licking it’s genitals is a better story than Twilight…


    • Evelyn Peer

      October 16, 2015 at 14:55


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  4. Warden Eternal

    October 16, 2015 at 13:57

    That was terrible….. No… Just no. No journalist points for you today


    • Brady miaau

      October 16, 2015 at 14:36

      I sort of enjoyed the different style, the laid back approach.

      Also the headings asking the really probing questions


      • Alessandro Barbosa

        October 16, 2015 at 17:17

        Thanks? 😛

        Listen anyone is free to read a book long wiki. For those who don’t *point up* 🙂


  5. LPiz

    October 16, 2015 at 14:01

    The planet is called Requiem, and is a shield world built by the Forerunners. Reclaimer is the name given to humans and anyone else capable of activating the Halo array – including the Forerunners.


    • Alessandro Barbosa

      October 16, 2015 at 14:16

      Correct. Apologies for the mistake and thanks for pointing it out. Fixed em all 🙂


  6. oVg

    October 16, 2015 at 14:10

    JEEEEEZ I can just about wrap my head around the Big Boss outrage but this just eludes me.

    RUNS away to play Rayman


  7. Graeme Willy

    October 16, 2015 at 17:22

    Plain and simple. A misunderstanding. Oni then finds it convenient a way to rid them of a “failed” Spartan II program. Not that the Spartan II’s are failure, in fact, quite the opposite…it’s that the Spartan II program, if you read the books, is a very politically sensitive subject. Once people caught wind of how these soldiers were created, and the abducting from their homes as children, and then sent through rigorous and torturous “real life scenarios,” Oni wanted no more part in that program, essentially axing out Catherine Halsey and her work…but since the soldiers were already created, they continued to use them, though, many despised them and considered them freaks(not unlike the Witcher) and even one general(I can’t recall his name) would intentionally send Master Chief on impossible suicide missions, in an attempt to have him killed, but the MC always came through, pissing this general off, even more. Anyway, despite their near 100% success rate, Spartan II’s are essentially treated as freaks, some of them did enroll into the Spartan IV program and upgraded what could be upgraded, but also still retaining their own superior enhancements, such as the nervous system enhancements and ceramic bone coatings etc.(the deadly stuff that not many candidates survived the process of). So, it is of no surprise that Oni leverages this misunderstanding to find a way to clean up their Spartan II failed program. Locke is not a bad guy, he’s just taking orders. Locke has a clear head and the ability to think for himself, so I’m pretty sure he will soon discover Master Chief’s angle and even help him to escape or whatever…and if Locke makes good, going as far as even protecting Halsey, I’m sure she has a few tricks that she can upgrade that lot of Spartan IV’s with lol She could probably even bring back Cortana, if remains of her code can be found…because Catherine Halsey is Cortana…meaning, Cortana is the digitized, younger DNA clone of Halsey.


  8. doplerradar

    October 17, 2015 at 22:48

    There is also a comic that tells what happened right after Halo 4. Chief was reunited with Blue Team and went on a mission. Long story short, they fought the Didact again.


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