Halo Wars 2: New Character Images and Details Revealed
Get the scoop on some new characters for 2017's Xbox One and PC game.
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As we learned during the panel, the characters are Isabel, Decimus, and Let 'Volir. Isabel is a UNSC artificial intelligence, but not any artificial intelligence; she's a "smart" AI who is in charge of food supplies, life systems, and power management at the Ark research outpost. Being a "smart AI," she has "incredibly computational power and a fully independent creative mind," 343 said.
Switching sides, Decimus is a general for the Banished leader Atriox. He sounds like a force to be reckoned with. "He's ruthless, gloriously bloodthirsty, and almost unparalleled in raw physical strength."
"Decimus is the embodiment of every horror story UNSC Marines have ever swapped about fighting the Brutes," 343 said.
Finally, Shipmaster Let 'Volir is working for Atriox, though he doesn't necessarily want to. Atriox offered to fuel the Shipmaster's Carrier, Enduring Conviction, and supply the crew if he pledged his allegiance to the Banished leader.
"This arrangement was deeply unpleasant for the Shipmaster, especially since Elites were used to lording over the Brutes during the time of the Covenant, but in the new order of the galaxy serving as a mercenary for Atriox was the only viable option," 343 said.
Take a look at the images in the gallery above to get a closer look at each, while profiles follow further down.
Leader Briefing: Isabel (AI Service Number ISA 1307-2)
Description: Isabel is an artificial intelligence created to manage logistics at a UNSC base on the Forerunner installation known as "The Ark." When her base was destroyed in a surprise attack by the Banished she was powerless to stop the slaughter of her friends and she swore revenge against Atriox.
As a "smart" AI, Isabel has incredible computational power and a fully independent creative mind, allowing her to immediately integrate with the Spirit of Fire when Captain Cutter and his Spartans recover Isabel from the ruins of her base. In this role, Isabel represents the modern Halo universe for the crew of the Spirit of Fire as she can quickly bring them up to speed on all the events and military improvements which happened during the crew's 28 years in cryosleep.
"Smart" AIs like Isabel have strictly enforced seven-year lifespans to prevent a dangerous loss of system control known as "rampancy." Isabel is three years into that seven-year period, which means she has plenty of time left to take the fight to the Banished.
Why she fights: Retribution and finding a new family.
Leader Briefing: Decimus
Description: Decimus is the embodiment of every horror story UNSC Marines have ever swapped about fighting the Brutes. He's ruthless, gloriously bloodthirsty, and almost unparalleled in raw physical strength. When Decimus fought for the Covenant he took particular delight in hand-to-hand combat with the woefully outmatched soldiers on the side of humanity.
Like most Brutes, however, Decimus never thought to question the status quo…until Atriox dared to refuse the commands of the Prophets and opened a crack in the rigid rule of Covenant tradition. Decimus respects strength above all else and Atriox's initial rebellion and continued success ever since have earned Decimus' absolute loyalty.
Decimus still harbors some resentment against the Elites under Atriox's banner due to how Elites treated the Brutes during the time of the Covenant, and as one of Atriox’s generals Decimus now takes a sadistic joy in ordering those Elites on the most dangerous, even suicidal, missions.
Why he fights: The glory of the kill and the traditional Brute belief that might makes right.
Leader Briefing: Shipmaster Let 'Volir
Description: In the chaotic last days of the Covenant, the Shipmaster found himself grappling with betrayal by his former Covenant leaders and no clear path forward as all Covenant beliefs had been forcibly cast aside. The one constant of his command, however, was his obligation to his crew and to keep that crew together and alive.
With a powerful Carrier and that crew of veteran fighters at his command, the Shipmaster was soon noticed by Atriox who offered to fuel the ship and supply the crew in exchange for the Shipmaster's unquestioning loyalty. This arrangement was deeply unpleasant for the Shipmaster, especially since Elites were used to lording over the Brutes during the time of the Covenant, but in the new order of the galaxy serving as a mercenary for Atriox was the only viable option.
The name of the Shipmaster's carrier is the Enduring Conviction, a name which Atriox frequently points out is particularly ill-suited for its sellsword captain. All such jokes aside, however, Atriox knows he has a powerful tool for warfare in the Shipmaster and in the fleets of Banshee fighters and platoons of veteran Elite soldiers the Shipmaster commands.
Why he fights: A captain can sacrifice everything if it means keeping his crew alive.
Halo Wars 2 is a Play Anywhere game, meaning buying it (digitally) on Xbox One gets you the PC version free and vice versa. Originally set to come out in 2016, Halo Wars 2 is now pegged to arrive in February 2017.
If you missed out on Halo Wars 2's first beta, not to worry, as a second one--featuring a new mode--will be held closer to launch.
For more on Halo Wars 2, check out GameSpot's preview from E3 2016, "Will Halo Wars 2 Please RTS Fans?" We also recently learned that 343 brought on Call of Duty and Mirror's Edge actors to play the game's lead roles, replacing the talent from the first game.