[image:43168 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] Establishing shot of two children lying face-up in a clearing in a grassy field. The area is quite verdant, indicating that either this setting is not the same as that in the latter half of the ad, or that considerable change has occurred in the region to change its appearance. More on that later.
The two children appear to be dressed alike, in simplistic black outfits, possibly singlets. They are barefoot.
To some, the sameness of dress and mature behavior denotes that both children are Spartan training inductees. The calm way in which they have their conversation would also imply an age greater than six. However, this may simply be a result of the fact that Bungie wanted certain ideas put across in this sequence, and that required actors of a certain age, that age being greater than six.
To others, the fact that they are out at night, unsupervised, barefoot, conflicts with the idea of them being Spartan program trainees.
Over this image, the boy asks "ever wonder what's up there" and the girl responds, "like what?"
[image:43178 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] Looking off into the night sky from the clearing in which the boy and girl are lying.
Some say that the bright light to the right side is a nebula or other cosmic structure that would indicate that this is not the sky above Earth.
Over this image, the boy wonders if there are others above them in the sky wondering what life is like "down here".
While this question implies the future invasive acts of the Covenant, it does little to help us place this scene, as many human colony worlds were attacked by the Covenant, and eventually Earth as well.
[image:43166 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] The girl looks over at the boy and wonders if they will ever meet aliens from space. From this angle it does seem that both are wearing black singlets, perhaps some kind of uniform. However, this may not be indicative of anything; they could just as easily be pajamas, or someone's idea of future fashion. The Halo series of games rarely (if indeed ever) depicts civilian humans, so it is difficult to know what they look like in the Halo universe.
[image:43159 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] The boy indicates that he hopes he does get to meet aliens eventually. His face is partially hidden in shadow, but can still be made out.
That his face is shown indicates to some that the boy cannot be the Master Chief, since we never see the Chief's face.
If it is the Chief, then the irony is that a boy who once dreamed of meeting (one would imagine) friendly alien visitors spends his adult career fighting them. If not, then the comparison is more general and less personal.
[image:43169 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] The coherence of the scene now starts to erode. The Chief's mjolnir armor helmet appears in the scene, and neither child is now visible. Screams can be heard, rising in volume. It sounds as if there is more than one voice screaming, perhaps the voices of the male and female child doing the screaming.
[image:43180 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] The image of the helmet bridges the division between the grassy scene that begins the ad and the desert scene that ends it. That, and the sounds of screams that start in the previous scene, form the only audiovisual links between the two segments, other than the fact that the latter scene also contains some tufts of grass.
That the helmet remains motionless through this transition, and some of the similarity in the surrounding terrain, has led some to believe that this is the same physical location at another, perhaps later, moment in time.
However, Frankie confirmed that the events of the ad occur in proximity to the events in the trailer, which we know to be on Earth, in Africa, near New Mombassa. It is unlikely that that area, which is desert now, and depicted in the ad as desert, was the grassy area depicted in the first portion of the ad.
Bungie also says the ad occurs on Earth; if this refers to the entirety of the events and not only to those involving the adult Chief, then this would seem to be a different place on Earth.
Explosions in the background, throwing sand in the air, appear to be from some sort of mortar fire or other sort of artillery.
[image:43167 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] Here we get the first hint that the adult Master Chief we all know and love is in this trailer. The shot of his glove, now sporting three rivets, is sure to cause controversy among those who have tracked changes in the Chief's armor through the years.
Contrails from flying vehicles crisscross the sky above; the two vehicles pictured in the left are not in sharp focus, but appear to be Banshees.
Muted radio chatter can be heard in the background of this sequence. A low boom, possibly an echo from the explosion, muffles most of it. There is also a high, wavering sound. The general impression seems to be trying to evoke the feeling of one's ears ringing after hearing a loud noise such as an explosion.
[image:43174 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] As the Chief reaches for his helmet, the girl's "do you think we'll ever meet them" line replays, and then the same voice says "time to go".
Many have looked in the visor reflection to catch a glimpse of the Chief's adult face, but in vain.
That the Chief's helmet was knocked off, as well as the blurred vision of his glove and the distant air vehicles, seems to indicate that the Chief is now regaining lucid consciousness.
It is common narrative practice for impacts to the head to evoke hallucinations, dreams, or in some cases flashbacks. That the audio portions of these overlap-- that the same girl's voice delivers the same dialogue both in the pre-explosion and post-explosion segments, indicates that there is some continuity between them, some connection.
If the earlier scene is a memory or flashback that occurs within the Chief's mind, then he must have been one of the two figures we see in that sequence. There is no one else present. One might imagine a third figure as an observer, but the initial overhead shot clearly shows only two figures in the clearing, surrounded by high grass.
The only circumstances in which one can believe that the Chief is not one of the two children (the male child being the obvious choice) is that if one is willing to accept that the adult Master Chief, as a result of an explosion that knocked his helmet off, prompted a hallucinatory conversation in his mind between two imaginary children, or two children he has never met, or that the repetetive audio is not intended to make any connection between the two sequences, and is repeated merely for effect.
The latter seems very unlikely to me; I am convinced that regardless of when or where it occurred, the male child in the first sequence is the Master Chief as a young boy.
[image:43175 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] The camera peers inside the Chief's helmet as he puts it back on. Not really much to see here. Between the previous scene and this one, the Chief turned the helmet so his face does not reflect in the visor.
Once again, the rounded glove fingers as modeled here are quite different from the very angular ones seen so far in campaign screenshots.
[image:43181 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] With the Chief's helmet safely on, we can now get a look at him. The camera begins to rotate around the Chief, who in seeming homage to the advertisement's first presentation during Monday Night Football, appears to be assuming a three-point stance. Again, while not "indicative of gameplay" the shadow of the Chief on the desert sand does remind us that Bungie has said the Chief's figure in the game will have real-time shadow effects.
The voice that would seem to be Cortana's seems to say "Chief, leave me" or perhaps "Chief, believe me" or something similar in nature.
[image:43160 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] The camera's rotation around the Chief stops, finally settling with a new assault rifle in the foreground. In the background, we can see an overturned Warthog, upside-down with its wheels still spinning. Perhaps the most logical conclusion is that the Chief was a driver or passenger of that vehicle, when it was struck by one of the artillery-like weapons the video shows striking the ground nearby, and he was thrown from the vehicle, losing his helmet in the process, and losing consciousness. While temporarily unconscious, he experienced the initial sequence with the children, either as a dream, hallucination, or flashback.
[image:43171 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] The Chief stands up and puts the assault rifle on his back, even though there does not seem to be any visible means of attachment there. A small cloud of dust falls from the rifle as he clips it into place. Although not supposed to be "indicative of gameplay", meaning this sequence is not generated by the Halo 3 engine, this scene seems to be here primarily to underscore a feature shown in other screenshots to date; that a secondary weapon not in use by a player will appear visually instead of merely disappearing. In the past, especially in multiplayer, players' avatars were shown wielding the weapons they were currently using, but a weapon merely being carried, but not used, was invisible. When players were shown changing weapons, the weapons simply appeared and diappeared.
It is not known whether or not the game will display animations that show weapons being changed, as this sequence in the ad displays, or whether weapons will merely appear and disappear in the required places when changed. The primary reason for this feature seems to be tactical, to allow players to make strategic decisions based not just on what weapon is being currently wielded by an opponent, but based on what other weapons they are also carrying.
Such a feature reveals who is carrying a "power weapon" like a sniper or rocket launcher, even if they are not using it at the time. Since in Halo 2, such weapons do not respawn until the player carrying them has dropped them, this could be quite useful if Halo 3 uses a similar system.
Likewise, since changing weapons is a relatively quick and simple process, it eliminates the possibility of an opponent feigning weakness by showing one weapon, only to reveal another when turning a corner.
In the background of this scene there are multiple incoming plasma bursts, seemingly from the group of Wraiths we see later. Beyond that, there is what appears to be a mushroom cloud from some great explosion.
This might simply be an artifact of some Covenant bombardment. Given that these events occur in a similar timeframe to those in the announcement trailer, this might somehow be associated with the uncovering of the huge Forerunner artifact seen in that trailer. This may be possible even if the ad occurs before the trailer. Given that the Chief in that trailer seems more battle-scarred than he appears here, it may be logical to assume that this is a battle fought on the way to the artifact, and the cloud in the distance is the result of the Covenant's initial efforts to uncover it in the first place.
UPDATE: Several readers have pointed out that the cloud lacks a distinguishing feature of a true mushroom cloud, even though the top of it resembles the shape of the top of a mushroom cloud. The stalk connecting a mushroom cloud to the ground is missing, with an empty space where it would be. This empty space, as well as the occasional bolts of lightning, make this cloud appear even more like the cloud we see at closer range in the announcement trailer.
The marine chatter, apparently from a combat radio either in the Chief's suit or else nearby, is more clearly audible here. Multiple voices are speaking, but at the end, there is a clear exhange where one voice asks if anyone has seen the Chief, and another offers that he may be lost.
[image:43177 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] The Chief looks up, and the plasma mortars reflect in his visor. It appears to be here that he decides that one of them is going to be a close call, and he needs to do something about it.
The Chief's armor here, visible in a small portion of his right shoulder and breast, do appear to be showing some battle damage, as portrayed in the announcement trailer, but not to the same degree.
The typically reticent Chief here delivers his only line of dialogue in the advertisement: "not yet" in response to the marine suggestion that he's been lost.
[image:43188 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] Those who complained that the Chief's fingers were awkward-looking in a recent campaign screenshot will no doubt be disappointed that this isn't a gameplay shot. Here, the Chief has a cylindrical object in his right hand, and a pistol in his left. What appears to be a safety lid flips off the top, revealing a button...
[image:43170 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] ... which he then presses with his thumb. Orange stripes appear and the bottom of the cylinder protrudes slightly.
Although Frankie wondered why fans would assume the device is a grenade, it certainly seems to be similar in appearance and operation, if not in effect.
At this point, no incoming plasma fire is visible; it is presumed to be out of frame to the camera's right.
[image:43192 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] The Chief winds up to throw the device down into the sand in front of him. Although blurred, the outline of the pistol can still be seen in his left hand.
At this point, still no incoming plasma fire is visible; it is presumed to be out of frame to the camera's right.
[image:43189 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] The Chief has thrown down the object, the top of which now appears at the absolute bottom of the frame, directly beneath a rock that is between the rock immediately to the right of the Chief's right knee, and to the left of two rocks immediately unerneath a plume of smoke in the background. To the right, the wheel of an overturned Mongoose ATV can be seen. Note the assault rifle still on the Chief's back.
[image:43191 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] Small triangular objects begin to emerge from the top of the device.
The cloud of small geometric shapes expand a bit around the top of the device, but then seem to fade from view momentarily.
[image:43165 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] The camera has now moved further away and to the side of the Chief. The device is more clearly visible in front of him as he crouches behind it. The Mongoose can now clearly be seen in the frame to the right, although at this angle it might be mistaken for a Warthog. Later we will see that it lacks the LAAG gun and other elements from the rear end of the 'hog. Facing the Chief is the Mongoose's front end; a corner of the windshield is visible here.
[image:43183 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] The shield bubble starts to form around the Chief. As others have pointed out, it does not appear to be centered on the device he threw into the sand, but rather on him. However, regardless of how it functions, I believe the shield does emanate from the device, and that the small objects seen emanating from the top of the device in the previous sequence are indicative of the start of the process that we are seeing continue here.
[image:43184 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] We can now see the bubble is a geodesic dome, comprised of hexagonal objects. As the sequence continue, the gap between each of the hexagonal shapes that make up the surface of the bubble narrows, forming a more solid surface. Note the pistol, still clearly visible in the Chief's left hand, and the device, on the sand in front of the Chief, apparently just a bit to the right of his left foot.
[image:43185 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] Parts of the shield are now almost fully-formed, with the hexagons in the front half almost completely joined. Above, we can see the plasma bolt that is bearing down on the Chief. The pistol is again clearly visible in the Chief's left hand. We cannot see the assault rifle on his back from this angle, but we can assume it is still there.
[image:43186 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] The plasma bolt now gets even closer as the shield continues to form. The pistol is still visible.
The blast lands almost immediately after this shot, but unfortunately I was unable to get a clear capture from the blast sequence itself. For one fram, the bolt is visible in front of the Chief just before it lands, and then a white flash almost completely obscures the entire screen.
[image:43187 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] After the blast, this wider angle shows the shield around the Chief to the left, with the overturned Mongoose to the right. But don't blink, or else you'll miss it being blown to pieces. Note the distinctive three-spoke wheels, as well as the absence of the rear-end distinctive of the Warthog. The front of the vehicle is to the left, facing the Master Chief, as seen in the previous shot. The pistol is no longer clearly visible in the Chief's left hand, but it is unclear whether this being obscured by the shield, or whether the model for the pistol was erroneously omitted from this shot.
[image:43193 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] In the immediate aftermath of the blast, it seems the Mongoose model has been entirely removed. Where it was, only a single tire remains, flying past the camera to the right.
The blast still obscures the area where the Chief was standing, so we cannot yet see if he has survived the blast.
[image:43194 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] The explosion has now kicked up enough dust to obscure where the Mongoose was, as its lone remaining tire continues to fly out of the frame, but we already know it's gone, as the unobscured shot preceding shows empty space where it was.
[image:43162 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] The energy shield begins to dissipate. In a closer look at the Chief here, we see the gaps between the hexagonal shapes making up the shield's surface begin to widen, in a reversal of the process we saw when the shield formed.
The surface of the shield seems to blur the figure of the Chief underneath, in addition to the dust and debris that is flying.
[image:43163 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] The hexagonal shapes continue to get smaller. Nearly all of the next sequence is blurry due to motion of the camera, the Chief, or both, but we can at least make out his outline here, as well as the outline of the assault rifle on his back, in the right of the frame.
[image:43164 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] The Chief is now clearly in view, as well as the assault rifle.
The pistol is once again visible in his left hand as he holds up his left arm, seemingly warding off the debris from the explosion.
[image:43161 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] After the shield completely dissipated, the Chief began to run towards the camera. The entire sequence is very blurred, so it was difficult to get a good capture from it. However, there are no significant details in those frames. As the Chief begins running, the familiar Halo theme begins to play.
Afterwards, the camera moves to a position behind the Chief, and we see what he is running toward: a cliff edge, beyond which there are several Wraiths. The tops of four of them can be seen here. Beyond that is the mushroom cloud again.
[image:43173 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] As the Chief jumps off the cliff edge, we can see each of the six Wraiths and fourteen Brutes (confirmed by Bungie as Brutes) that he faces. One, in the center, carries a hammer-- also confirmed by Bungie. It is speculated that perhaps this Brute is the successor to Tartarus, killed by the Arbiter at the conclusion of Halo 2. Unlike the other figures in this scene, the Brute carrying the hammer also seems to be wearing a red helmet, or perhaps a red flag on his shoulder that was characteristic of Brutes in Halo 2. Whether the hammer is indeed Tartarus' weapon, the Fist of Rukt, or just a similar weapon of which there may be many examples, is not known.
[image:43176 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] The camera moves to a position below the Chief as he completes his jump. Above him we can see the contrails of vehicles and the paths of plasma bolts crisscrossing the sky. When his feet land, the screen fades to black.