Halo 4 is undoubtedly the biggest Xbox 360 release since Gears Of War 3 in 2011. The first game in the Halo series to not be developed by series stalwart Bungie, Halo 4 has fallen into the capable hands of 343 Industries, the same team behind last year's Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary.
Ahead of Halo 4's big November 6 release across the globe next week, it's important that you ready yourself for the game's deep and complicated narrative, just so you can at least grasp some of what's happening to our hero in Master Chief and his witty AI companion, Cortana.
The human race fought for over thirty years against Covenant, a theocratic military alliance of alien races that declared humanity an affront to their gods. Humanity, however, eventually found victory.
Spartan super-soldier and series protagonist, Master Chief, along with his trusty AI companion, Cortana, put an end to the Covenant, as well as the threat the Halo Array posed on the Ark installation.
Following the conflict, Master Chief and Cortana drifted through space on the remains of Forward Unto Dawn, before arriving at a mysterious artificial world called Requiem, which is where Halo 4 takes place.
The Halo 4 Years
Following three long decades of conflict, the UNSC, mankind's central military authority, struggled to maintain control of its many territories, as was expected after such a damaging length of war.
Now it faces a new threat from Requiem, as the Covenant joins forces with an inexplicable evil.
Watch the Halo 4 Gameplay Launch Trailer
The Major Players
Master Chief, whose real name is John, was abducted as a child and enrolled in the SPARTAN-II project, where his body was augmented to unprecedented levels of strength, stamina, resilience and speed.
He led mankind to victory in their war against the Covenant, and in his discovery of the Halo Array and its architects, Forerunner, he managed to save humanity from complete destruction. However, in his final escape following the Ark's destruction, he came into contact with a new threat, which is where Halo 4 takes off.
Cortana is undoubtedly the most powerful AI ever created by man. She joined Master Chief in a last ditch effort to save humanity and destroy the Ark.
How Is It Different?
Halo 4 differs quite significantly from Master Chief's last outing, 2007's Halo 3. Rather than focus almost exclusive on fast-paced first-person shooter gameplay and limited exploration, Halo 4 relies more on mystery, exploration and discovery than any other game in the Halo series.
Developer 343 Industries is aiming for "a more complete connectivity between all of their future media than before", meaning there will be connection with novels and short films.
Halo 4 will be the first game in an expected trilogy, with Halo 5 taking a considerably darker turn, while Halo 6 will be the conclusion to the story started in this year's game.
Halo 4 launches exclusively on Xbox 360 on November 6
By Gaetano Prestia