Halo Concept Art: Halo 4’s Covenant, Flood and Forerunners

Hello folks. Sorry for the late post on this. I was quite busy today.

As you can see by the title, we’ll take a look at characters from Halo 4 that are either alien in nature of flood. Let’s start off with the Covenant.

halo_4_artehalo4cortana_kotakubr08In this graphic you can see the near in-game version greyed out at the upper left corner. The larger one reminds me more of the Reach Zealot with a mix of Ultra as well. I think I actually prefer the larger one. The large ornamental helmet is more reminiscent of Elite helmet of high rank. There is a slightly odd pairing of colors in this concept. It’s as if the artist (or someone directing them) were not sure of which color to go with, so they chose a hybridization of sorts.

halo_4_artehalo4cortana_kotakubr09Now here we have an Elite minor. This is very close to the in-game version. I definitely like the look of this elite. Thinking back to Halo CE, this looks like the natural progression for the armor of the minor. Kudos to 343 on this simple redesign!

halo_4_brute_rmx_by_paul_richardsWhat’s curious about the above pic is that we didn’t get Brutes in the game, with exception to one cutscene. Perhaps this concept was to be that Brute. He looks very imposing. That shield he’s holding looks a lot like a Hunter’s shield. In any event, I don’t think any of us would want to mess with him. I miss Brutes in Halo. I do hope they make they’re way back in to the next one in some iteration.

halo_4_creature-designLastly for the Covies is the redesigned Jackal (Kig Yar). The largest one is closer to what we’ve had in previous games. Though the taller and stunted beak is prominent. The near final designs on the left of this image show various Jackal ranks. I love everything about them, except for the head. I really don’t see why 343 felt the need to change that. Yes, they look more fierce, but they’ve also lost their “lithe-ness”. That head makes them look more bulky. Since Halo 4’s launch, we’ve now had an in-universe explanation that this is yet another sub-species of Jackals. GRRRR….stick with continuity folks. See, this is why you do not just change designs to change them… As I said, everything else is great, but that head redesign just kills it for me. I don’t expect 343 to go back to a previous version in the next game, sigh. So, we’re stuck with this stunted beak version. Strangely enough, we DO see the classic long thin versions in the Halo Escalation comic books by Darkhorse. So if you are craving to see them in a new format, I suggest getting those comics.

Moving on to the Flood.

halo_4_flood_dispersal_01_by_paul_richardsWe did not expect to see any kind of flood in this game as they had been effectively eradicated once again. Or at least that we know of. Above shows various forms. They might be infection forms or carrier forms or even a means to disperse the flood through space? There’s a lot of variety there. Perhaps when (and I do expect them to return), the flood are back in Halo, we’ll see some of these designs crop up again.


halo_4_infection_flood_02_by_paul_richardsIn the above pic the anatomy of the flood’s claw arm is shown in various forms. All look dangerous with pincers and jagged edges. The choice to with up that arm from left to right is a little perplexing. Of course in matchmaking it makes sense as you use that arm to strike at Spartans.


halo_4_infection_flood_04_by_paul_richardsIn the rendering above the claw arm is still on the left. It still looks like the typical flood we know, except that the head isn’t snapped back in some strange pose.

halo_4_infection_flood_05_by_paul_richardsNow this concept I like. It shows a great variance between designs. The one marked #2 looks more like a Promethean Knight’s head. Perhaps that is where it was developed from? Number 3 is the one we got in game. Number 1 is very odd. Who knows, perhaps these might become Flood forms in future games and are from previously unknown alien species.

halo_4_infection_flood_06_by_paul_richardsNow I think it’s safe to say we know were the exploding head idea for the Knights came from.

halo_4_infection_flood_07_by_paul_richardsThe large head here looks more like something out of Star Wars. Jedi master Saesee Tiin to be exact. I’m glad it wasn’t picked.


Undoubtedly and early sketch, with not much defined detail.

Looking at the flood concepts, it seems like minimal effort was put into fleshing them out, in lieu of just getting more designs out for someone to choose from. It was likely known early on that the flood would not have a large presence in Halo 4. Thus, no reason to take a ton of time to develop a lot of assets for them.

halo_4_spartan_infection_flood_armor_01_by_paul_richardsFinally we do get some color in the concepts. The middle shooing the infected parts of a spartan. Now here’s one thing to note. Spartan’s that I recall, were not supposed to be able to be infected. Either that or they tried to with Master Chief and just couldn’t crack his armor. Meh…

halo_4_spartan_infection_flood_armor_03_by_paul_richardsAnother take on the form, this time with more depth to it.

halo_4_spartan_infection_flood_armor_02_by_paul_richardsFor the last of the Flood concepts, we have the official orthogonal view rendering. I hope you can see by the addition of color really helps to engage the viewer. This rendering has a lot more detail as well. While I’m still a bit confused as to the total redesign, I’m okay with it.

Now, Forerunners!

halo_4_ancient_promethean_01_by_paul_richardsAncient Prometheans looks quite different from what we got in-game. These of course are the Forerunner Prometheans, not the composed Knights that were put into the game. That slight bot of orange helps to define an other wise bland color palette. The designs themselves are pretty cool. I would have liked to have seen them in full color though, rather than mostly greys.

In the concept above, we have the Knight as it might have been. Able to change form and had a full sized human inside, rather than nothing and something slightly more than ornamental small arms in the front of it. I know I would have preferred this design over what we got. I just think the Knights in Halo 4 look too clunky.

And finally for this article, we have a drawing of sentinels. Thankfully these all look similarly to ones from previous games. I’m glad 343 didn’t venture too far away from that classic design.


Once again, apologies for the late post on this.

Tomorrow, we will look at UNSC personnel, including Master Chief, Cortana, Scientists and Marines.

Let me know what you think of this article or any of the other Concept articles. Post below by hitting that reply button!


XBOX One drops in price to $399…with no Kinect

The news was revealed today on XBOX.com that the XBOX One started June 9 will have an alternate version that is kinect-less. The price drops to $399 for that version.

Here is what XBOX’s Phil Spencer (Head of XBOX) has to say officially about this:

Since the beginning, we have focused on delivering great games and entertainment experiences for you. Your feedback matters to us and it shapes the products and services we build. Your feedback showed up in the Xbox One console we launched back in November and in the monthly updates we’ve delivered since.

Today, we’re excited to share more ways your feedback is impacting the products we build.

First, beginning on June 9th, in all markets where Xbox One is sold, we will offer Xbox One starting at $399*. This is a new console option that does not include Kinect. For $399, our new Xbox One offering will continue to deliver access to the best blockbuster games like “Titanfall,” “Call of Duty: Ghosts,” “Forza Motorsport 5,” “Dead Rising 3,” and the upcoming “Watch Dogs,” “Destiny” and “Sunset Overdrive.” You will also be able to access popular entertainment apps, such as Twitch, YouTube, and Netflix, as well as watch live TV and use OneGuide.  Finally, you will continue to be able to use many of the unique features of Xbox One including the ability to get game invites while you watch TV, switch between games and entertainment apps, enjoy Twitch broadcasts, and upload your favorite gaming moments.

Next, we’re bringing more value to Xbox Live Gold members and offering all Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners access to entertainment apps whether or not you have an Xbox Live Gold membership.  In early June, here is what you can expect from the new generation of Xbox Live:

  • Free games with Games with Gold**. Since Games with Gold launched on Xbox 360 a year ago, over 12 million people have enjoyed great free games, resulting in nearly 200 million hours of free fun playing Games with Gold titles. We’ve been learning from your feedback and have focused on making improvements each month to the selection of titles. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of Games with Gold for Xbox 360 and as a thank you for helping shape this program, members will receive an additional free Xbox 360 game in June. The Games with Gold titles for Xbox 360 in June are “Dark Souls,” “Charlie Murder” and a bonus game of “Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition.” We’re pleased to bring Games with Gold to Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox One in June. Members will have subscription-based access to free games ranging from top hits to breaking indie stars. The program will launch on Xbox One with “Max: The Curse of Brotherhood” and “Halo: Spartan Assault.” A single Gold membership will get you access to the free games for both Xbox One and Xbox 360.


  • Exclusive Discounts. Deals with Gold will also launch for Xbox One in June, delivering discounts for great games each month, with significant savings for Xbox Live Gold members. The first titles offered in June will include “Forza Motorsport 5,” “Ryse: Son of Rome,” and a few other surprises. In the coming months, we will offer significant savings of up to 50 – 75 percent off certain titles. This program will continue to be available for Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox 360. And new on Xbox One, we will launch a virtual VIP room exclusive to Xbox Live Gold members where we will feature free games, monthly deals, and other great benefits.
  • Popular entertainment apps will be available for all Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners. Xbox 360 has been a leader in delivering entertainment experiences for years, with over 170 global entertainment apps and experiences available today. We’re constantly adding new partners and experiences to the growing catalog on Xbox One. Coming in June, anyone with an Xbox will be able to access popular entertainment experiences – whether or not you have an Xbox Live Gold membership. This includes great gaming apps like Machinima, Twitch and Upload, popular video services like Netflix, Univision Deportes, GoPro, Red Bull TV and HBO GO, sports experiences like the NFL app for Xbox One, MLB.TV, NBA Game Time, NHL Game Center and more.*** Microsoft experiences including Internet Explorer, Skype, OneDrive and OneGuide will also be available to all Xbox customers.**** You can find a full list of apps and features that will be available below.

We’ve heard that you want more choices from Xbox One. You want a wide variety of options in your games and entertainment experiences and you also want options in your hardware selection.

To be clear, as we introduce this new Xbox One console option, Kinect remains an important part of our vision.  Many of you are using Kinect for Xbox One every day. In fact, more than 80 percent of you are actively using Kinect, with an average of 120 voice commands per month on each console. Some of the most popular voice commands include “Xbox On,” “Xbox Broadcast” and “Xbox Record That.” We will continue to offer a premium Xbox One with Kinect bundle to deliver voice and gesture controls, biometric sign-in, instant personalization, instant scanning of QR codes, and enhanced features only available with Kinect in games such as “Kinect Sports Rivals,” “Just Dance 2014,” “Project Spark” and more.

If you buy Xbox One for $399 and later decide you want to have all the experiences Kinect enables, we will also offer a standalone sensor for Xbox One later this fall. We’ll share more details about the standalone Kinect for Xbox One in the coming months.


HFFL: Here is my opinion about this. Consoles should be first and FOREMOST about gaming. While I understand Microsoft’s ideas for innovation, the public simply doesn’t want, or was ready for a console that does what they already have in other forms. Those being internet access, cable tv shows, Skype, among others. Yes, some innovation for games will be lost. However, this is clearly a move by MS to compete with Sony more for this generations console race. I see it as a great business move for them as well as the consumer saving $100. It’s a win-win, despite any potential lose of Kinect enabled games.
Check out this chart showing XBOX One and 360 features: