There's going to be a Halo 6. Microsoft's star shooter may not be the powerhouse it once was, but game studio 343 Industries is still fully focused on Halo, and Halo 5 is now nearly three years old. 343 has already talked about planning the next Halo game, so it's certainly in development. The series' franchise director has even tweeted as such. But it hasn't been officially unveiled with the bombast of a trailer and a press release, leaving us with scraps of information about what the next Halo will look like, and when it's arriving.
So here's what we know so far—and what we know about Halo 6 coming to PC.
What is Halo 6's release date?
So far, we can only guess. It's possible Microsoft could pull a surprise and announce Halo 6 at E3 2018, for a late-2018 release. But that's unlikely. If we look back over Halo's history, every new game has been announced at least a year ahead of release, usually with a big trailer at E3. The Halo games also consistently come out in the fall, usually September or November.
If Microsoft continues to follow that pattern, the most likely Halo 6 release date is around November 2019.
Will Halo 6 be on PC?
When we spoke to Xbox boss Phil Spencer in 2016, he said Microsoft plans to bring its first party games to PC and Xbox going forward. So far, that's held up with all of Microsoft's Xbox exclusives, like Forza Horizon 3, Gears of War 4, and Sea of Thieves.
Still want a smoking gun? Halo franchise director Frank O'Connor has also talked openly about developing for PC: "Xbox One, frankly, is our target platform for the stuff we’re working on next, but having the extra power that we have with PCs and extra infrastructure and with [Xbox One X], we can just make that game experience sing with the power that’s at our disposal."
Will Master Chief be the star of Halo 6?
Again, yes. Halo 5's new squad of Spartans, who faced off against Master Chief in a facepalm-worthy bit of confusing storytelling before eventually becoming buddies, weren't especially well received by fans who wanted to spend more time playing as the Chief.
In an interview with GamesTM in 2017, O'Connor said: "We took some digs for storytelling in Halo 5, but they were absolutely merited. We very much realised that people wanted Master Chief’s story of Halo 5. We definitely marketed it in a way that we hoped was going to bring surprise, but for some fans and certainly fans of Master Chief, it was a huge disappointment because they wanted more Chief. They loved Blue Team, they liked Osiris, but they wanted Chief. And that has been a big learning. Chief we tend to think of as kind of a vessel for your adventure rather than necessarily this major character in the universe. He’s really just your entry into the universe. But people have become attached to him over the last 15 years and they’ve started to sort of fill in the gaps that the character deliberately has for gameplay reasons with a genuine emotional attachment. We certainly underestimated that with Halo 5...
Doubling down on the Master Chief story and the amount of focus on him was probably the easiest learning from Halo 5. That was a really simple thing to absorb and embrace."
Other characters like the Arbiter and Master Chief's Spartan squaddies will almost certainly return, but it seems plausible Master Chief will be the only controllable character in Halo 6, or at least be the uncontested star of the show.
What else do we know about Halo 6?
The end of Halo 5 seemingly sets up a rampant Cortana as the villain of this next game, and years ago 343 talked about Halo 4 as the start of a new "Reclaimer trilogy" that will presumably cover Halo 6. The story of Halo Wars 2 will also have some impact on the events of Halo 6, though it's unknown if there will be any real character crossover between the two. Halo 5's legendary ending also gives away that another Halo ring installation will come into play, next time around.
What about Halo 5's modes, like Warzone, and features, like the Spartan movement abilities? We won't have those answers until we see Halo 6, but it's hard to imagine 343 peeling back everything it's added to Halo to return to the slower pace of the older games. But that doesn't mean we'll never see a classic Halo experience on PC. Microsoft has definitely been paying attention to the popularity of Halo Online mod ElDewrito, and even Xbox boss Phil Spencer highlighted this quote from a Halo blog update: "As we look ahead, we’re very excited about the prospects of an official classic Halo experience making its way to PC and we hope to be able to partner with the ElDewrito team and broader mod and content creation community."
Master Chief Collection on PC? It could happen.