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Halo: Stolen Gauntlet
DT Stolen Gauntlet Cover.png
Developer(s):

Iron Galaxy Studios

Publisher(s):

Xbox Game Studios

Platform(s):

X1Logo.png
W10Logo.png

Release date(s):

December 10th, 2023

Genre(s):

Fighting

Mode(s):
  • Campaign
  • Arcade Ladder
Rating(s):

Teen (13+)

[Source]

Halo: Stolen Gauntlet is a fighting game spinoff of the Halo franchise developed by Iron Galaxy Studios at the behest of publisher Xbox Game Studios, in collaboration with 343 Industries. Set between the events of Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians, Stolen Gauntlet adapts the Renegade story arc of Halo: Legacy, which follows a young SPARTAN-III supersoldier who has deserted the UNSC. In the course of the plot, Dyne-G217 crosses paths with multiple fellow members of Gamma Company and reconciles with the legacy of the SPARTAN-III program, explores the ideologically decaying Insurrection, learns of UNSC totalitarianism through ONI intervention, and grapples with questions of personal heroism. The title released on Xbox One and Windows 10 with crossplay capability on December 10th, 2023.

Development History

Following the success of spinoff titles in the RTS and isometric shooter genres with Halo Wars and Halo: Spartan Assault, hopes began to build in Microsoft that the Halo franchise could expand into other genres and invest new players in the rest of their long-premier first party property. After Halo: Spartan Offensive's introduction of a broad cast drawn from the smaller corners of the Halo universe proved profitable, the developers at 343 Industries were asked to put forward a number of ideas for new genres to branch into. Perhaps due to the positive feedback after Nicole-458's appearance in the Dead or Alive franchise and The Arbiter's in Killer Instinct, a fighting game was the proposal Microsoft chose to pursue.

While early overtures were made toward Netherrealm Studios, developers of the well-received Mortal Kombat reboots and the DC Comics licensed Injustice titles, objections were raised by former Double Helix Games rights holders over exclusivity of Halo characters in Fighting games. Given Netherrealm already had a full list of planned projects in association with Warner Brothers, the possibility of a collaboration was soon dropped. Where to go next became a difficult question for the project, as Double Helix Games—the developers of Killer Instinct (2013) where The Arbiter had appeared as a character—had been absorbed by Amazon Game Studios in 2014. Fortunately, a home was found with Iron Galaxy Studios, who had assisted in the development of Killer Instinct (2013) and eagerly accepted a franchise title contract.

As with most game projects, few details were released to the public about Stolen Gauntlet’s development, but it is known conflicts developed between the developer and publisher early in production. Imposition of a REQ-inspired lootbox system was mandated by Microsoft, something Iron Galaxy pushed back on. In addition, a target release of October 2023 was made a contractual condition and forced a rushed production schedule to meet the holiday season release. Despite Iron Galaxy's public positions on development crunch, the stress of the project caused a shake-up of the company's leadership and led to internal policy revisions to deliver a satisfactory product.

Support for the development was brought in from 343 Industries, including creative talent to ensure fictive consistency and quality assurance manpower, the collaboration only led to further headaches. Demands by franchise coordinators seemed arbitrary to Iron Galaxy's developers, who had already completed storyboarding and scripts, and the 343 Industries QA team had been assigned without assessing their familiarity or expertise with Fighting games when they'd been hired for testing First-Person Shooters. Despite legally binding non-disclosure agreements, information about the project's conditions were leaked to independent journalist Laura Kate Dale and subsequently reported on.

Release

The release of Halo: Stolen Gauntlet was marked by disappointment. Being a spinoff and not a core numbered entry in the Halo series, Stolen Gauntlet was hurt by competing directly with new releases from other popular franchises in the busy holiday season, including both a new Call of Duty and the first Star Wars games under the renewed Lucasfilm Games umbrella.

Worse, Microsoft's handling of the game's PR had earned Stolen Gauntlet negative sentiment from its core prospective audience. This began with a tiered pre-order incentive system. The tier system dictated that more content would be unlocked with the free code included with pre-ordered copies of the game, dependent on the number of pre-orders Stolen Gauntlet received. This attempt to expand sales by incentivizing customers to encourage friends to pre-order the game as well backfired, as players felt Microsoft would be withholding completed content if the maximum tier was not reached. This strategy of "crowd pre-ordering" had been tried before with Square Enix's Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, as was pointed out by game critic Jim Sterling in his Youtube series The Jimquisition. Also similarly to Deus Ex, the campaign was cancelled shortly after the backlash was received, with all pre-orders including a code for the full range of content on offer for the tier system.

Further pre-order items, including character skins and XP bonuses, were offered as retailer exclusives through GameStop, Walmart, Target, and others, as had been done previously with Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians. A lack of clear messaging on what was available required fans to work out a matrix of the offerings, and rather than encourage consumer loyalty to specific retailers, the variable pre-order bonuses led to confusion and sometimes disappointment from fans who realized they'd pre-ordered from the wrong retailer, or found their chosen retailer sold out.

Compounding the pre-order situation were the varying editions of Stolen Gauntlet made available, which were not consistent with their inclusions. The Special Edition of Stolen Gauntlet, like Halo 3: ODST, included a specially-decorated controller for the Xbox One, and a micro USB cable for use with PCs. This was not included with either the Heroic or Legendary Editions of the game, which was not adequately made clear by the marketing. Further, an insert with redeemable codes for two skins and a two-week Xbox Live Gold membership packaged with all other editions of the game were not included with the Legendary Edition. This, however, was a packaging error and codes were soon sent out to Legendary Edition purchasers.

Reception

Halo: Stolen Gauntlet received mixed-to-negative reviews. It holds an average 46/100 on the aggregate website Metacritic. Reviews from IGN cited it as a "misstep for the Halo series, branching into a genre it seems unfamiliar with" on account of off-putting attempts to reinvent the traditional control scheme to set itself apart and frustrating input misses with some combos. Further criticism was leveled against re-use of the same characters as enemies during the campaign, especially in the earlier episodes. Technical issues caused problems early in the release, including lag during online matches which reminded Gamespot's reviewer of "my worst days in Halo 3 matchmaking." While patches later fixed the latency, the fix was considered too little too late for the general audience, who had quickly moved on to other releases.

The title received slightly more favorable reviews from longtime Halo fans, with a notable exception of a Kotaku reviewer who had been assigned for familiarity with the franchise and admitted in his article to having no experience with fighting games. Despite a plethora of alien races present in Halo to use for creating unique fighters, the launch roster was overwhelmingly human. While a few mainstream reviewers criticized the campaign as "over-reliant on cutscenes for storytelling" and a plot which "reeked of fanfiction", others praised the title for expanding the Halo story separate from the human military. "It may have missed its landing," wrote Game Informer, "but Stolen Gauntlet does prove there's room in the Halo universe for more than just the Master Chief or the latest stand-in for his FPS boots."

Campaign Plot Synopsis

Issue 1

Irbit.png

The campaign of Stolen Gauntlet starts out with a prologue on Stavros in March, 2558. With intelligence recovered from Requiem, the members of Team Machete under Wynne-G327 are fighting to recover data from a Forerunner site within a Jiralhanae village. Kodiak-G114 and Dyne-G217 hold off Covenant forces, and the first tutorial fight starts with Dyne losing his weapons and confronting a Covenant Elite (actually a Turiv 'Polukran clone for gameplay purposes). As their battle continues, Wynne emerges from the Forerunner site and, seeing the Spartans are simply outnumbered, calls for an airstrike on the village to deny it to the enemy. Amber protests, and the second fight has Amber knock out Wynne, then go on to fight Morgana-G018 (a re-skinned Cassandra in gameplay) before accidentally killing her in a cutscene. As the prologue ends, Amber goes rogue despite the pleas of her other teammates.

A month later, Dyne-G217 steps off a freighter in civilian clothes into Irbit, capital city of the rebel-contested colony Talitsa. Needing to refill his Smoother supply, he enters a drug store to find it held up by Syndicate hoodlums. Dyne quickly beats down the thugs save for the Sangheili Turiv 'Polukran, with whom his battle sprawls out into the Alley stage. Emerging victorious, Dyne realizes he's been shot and falls unconscious seeking medical attention. Awakening in Irbit Memorial Hospital, Dyne tries to sneak out only to be confronted by Cassandra, who suspects him of being sent by the UNSC. After a fight, Dyne explains he deserted after ONI ordered him to hunt down Amber, and is on his own without much of a plan. Cassandra tells him she's been hiding out on Talitsa and trying to help those hurt by the planetary governor Albrecht Darrow's harsh rule, and the pair discuss whether it's safer together or if Dyne moves on when a commotion outside distracts them.

A group of thugs, again led by Turiv 'Polukran, have taken several doctors hostage and demand supplies of specific drug compounds. Taking a surgical mask, Dyne fights Turiv and drives him off, but the thieves escape with the meds they came for. Letting Cassandra know about Turiv's earlier robbery of a pharmacy, they suspect a larger plot and Dyne promises to stay at least long enough to uncover it. Hacking into MIMI, the "dumb" AI responsible for Irbit's infrastructure, they track the thefts to a road train depot and Dyne sneaks in. There, he has an easy fight against Darrow's un-augmented lieutenant Janet Pawlak before stealing away aboard the road train carrying the stolen compounds. The road train leaves the city and crosses Talitsa's outlands to an old URF base, where Dyne learns Governor Darrow is using data supplied by the NCA, a kidnapped former Spartan program scientist Bernard Molek, and support from the Syndicate to replicate the first SPARTAN-IV augmentations. His Syndicate backer, Tatiana Onegin, is skeptical after a recent string of failures and threatens to pull the Syndicate's funding. Darrow proves his dedication to the project by volunteering for the procedure, and begins an obviously painful operation.

Dyne finds and frees Bernard Molek, and with his help steals a MJOLNIR-like powered armor techsuit—which Dyne realizes was made using data from his own capture by URF holdouts years before. Darrow, meanwhile, emerges from his successful operation and notices Bernard's absence. Finding them, he engages Dyne in a battle which destroys the lab, but is tricked into over-exerting himself with his new abilities, and Dyne and Bernard escape back to Irbit. Filling Cassandra in on Darrow's plan to make super-soldiers for the Insurrection, Dyne agrees to stay and help dismantle the operation.

Issue 2

With his lab destroyed and his data gone with it, Darrow faces having to restart his supersoldier research with only his own successful augmentations to study. Disappointed, Tatiana leaves to report back to the Syndicate, hinting at an end to their partnership with Darrow if he can't produce results to sell to them. Suspecting the saboteur was a UNSC agent, Darrow is determined to recover his armor prototype and declares every ship and transport arriving in or leaving Irbit subject to a thorough search.

Dyne, meanwhile, pursues a lead from Bernard about a Syndicate warehouse Darrow's supplies came from. Inside, he finds not only a stockpile of augmentation drugs, but human trafficking victims being held until the search order ends, under Pawlak's guard. He engages and defeats Pawlak, destroys the supply, and sets the victims free, but is troubled by their initial fear of him as a rival syndicate's enforcer and calls in the Irbit police to help them. Darrow later televises a message attributing the victims' rescue to the police force, while Dyne admits to Cassandra their fear reminded him of people Team Machete rescued from Jiralhanae slavers on the frontier.

Bernard next advises if Darrow hopes to continue his project, he'll need a new supply of augmentation chemicals, and the Syndicate are his only means of securing them. Dyne infiltrates a Syndicate safehouse and learns the details of a meeting with Darrow's private militia to hand off new stock, only to be found by Turiv and forced to fight his way out.

Issue 3

Issue 4

Issue 5

Issue 6

Issue 7

Playable Character Roster

Release

Dyne

As the first immediately-available character in Stolen Gauntlet, Dyne's moveset is fairly straightforward with good payoff for high-skill players' ability to combo. He lacks projectiles almost entirely, but his use of the Thruster Pack lets Dyne close quickly and easily, with a solid set of light attacks, heavy attacks, grapples, reverses, and blocks, but his universality proves a weakness against players of practically any experience level. As such, he sees little use in online ranked matches or tournaments.

Having taken up a vow never to kill, Dyne's finishers are all non-lethal, instead leaving his enemy incapacitated as police arrive such as Friendly Neighborhood Renegade.

Dyne's Arcade Ladder ending shows him overthrowing General Darrow's regime on Talitsa, freeing it to become a safe haven for humans on the frontier. With Cassandra at his side, Dyne prepares to bring his brand of vigilante justice to other worlds, and maybe even the heart of the UNSC itself.

Skins:

  • The Renegade: Dyne in the Mark I RENEGADE suit, a MJOLNIR knockoff reverse-engineered by NCA scientists he stole from Darrow's laboratory.
  • Dyne-G217: As a UNSC Spartan, Dyne's UA/Multi-Threat MJOLNIR was well-suited to his preference for throwing himself in the thick of fighting.
  • Dyne (casual wear): Donning a brown jacket lent him by a passing acquaintance over a Marty the Elder shirt, Dyne could be any humble denizen of Talitsa.

Cassandra

While her moveset doesn't offer any extremely powerful options, Cassandra was a source of player outcry due to her Regeneration ability, which allowed her to heal a portion of her health bar on a relatively short cooldown. This amounted to granting Cassandra a far greater health pool to work through, making facing her an endurance challenge for any opponent. Rebalancing took far longer than expected due to conflict over how it should be changed, ultimately deciding to replace her regeneration with a health pack. The pack grants both players 50% of their health bar back, making it a risk for Cassandra to use, but can offer a low-health player a second chance to outplay their opponent.

Skins:

  • Merciful Scalpel: Cassandra's Semi-Powered Infiltration armor still functions, seldom as it sees the light of day, and her combat webbing carries enough medical equipment to outfit half a surgical suite.
  • Cassandra-G006: With her helmet on, before her armor had endured years on the frontier, Cassandra would've looked identical to any of the other SPARTAN-IIIs—to an outsider.
  • Unlicensed Professional: While she says it helps set her apart from back-alley surgeons who sell stolen organs, Cassandra is particularly attached to her favorite lab coat.

General Darrow

An augmentee on the level of Ilsa Zane, Darrow revels in his newfound power. His moveset revolves around making the most use of this brute force, with punishing strikes, grabs, blocks, and heavy projectiles torn from the environment floor. This doesn't mean he's had to sacrifice speed, but his ability to set up combos is limited. The heavy damage his few combo options present, however, mean careful thought has to be put into set-ups against skilled opponents.

Darrow's Arcade Ladder ending sees him killing the Renegade, throwing the Syndicate's influence off Talitsa, and bringing the NCA to heel under a revived vision of the old URF. With his world remade as a military industrial center, the President-for-Life prepares for open war against the UNSC itself as the head of a new galactic power.

Skins:

  • Talitsan Governor: With a layered black suit and short half-cape, Darrow cuts an imposing figure on-camera and in-person to reassure Talitsa's citizens the entire world is under his control.
  • Self-Experimentation: As his NCA benefactors tired of his failed quest for augmentations to match Spartans, Darrow put himself forth as a test subject—with prodigious results.

David Kahn

Skins:

  • Legendary Merc: A veteran of every possible type of engagement, David Kahn needs no more than an ODST's ballistic suit to go up against the rising breed of new superhumans.
  • Always in Fashion: Kahn's personal wardrobe needs to be adaptable, suited as well to Syndicate banquets as plainclothes ops. Every look is custom-fitted by a tailor he'll make the whole journey to Earth just to see.

Tatiana Onegin

Skins:

  • Iskandar's Lilith: In a long coat and dark suit, Tatiana's preference for simplicity amid the ostentation of the Syndicate's higher echelons make her as inscrutable as she is invulnerable.
  • Self-Starter: Tatiana doesn't like to think about the days she was tossed around like trash on the winds of fortune, and her halter top and midriff jacket were a choice she made when Tatiana began to dictate the course of her own life.
  • Flower of a Poisonous Garden: Much as she loathes the Syndicate's performative functions, Kahn taught Tatiana to blend in with a crowd of wealthy donors and political players as well as she can with mercenary thugs.

Turiv 'Polukran

A Sangheili mercenary on the Syndicate's payroll. The former Covenant soldier brings an array of plasma weaponry into the fight, ut his most devastating weapon has proven to be his Type-56 Needler. Landing five consecutive hits with its projectiles within a certain amount of time causes a devastating supercombine explosion, which many players decried as overpowered. Online matchmaking win/loss ratios, however, have yet to show proof of an overwhelming advantage, and 'Polukran has yet to see a change to the attack's behavior.

Turiv's Arcade Ladder ending sees him usurp leadership of the Syndicate on Talitsa, but struggling to cope with the loss of his body. The new crime lord forces Doctor Molek to build him more and more realistic prosthetics, but can't shake the knowledge he's so much machinery. Driven mad by his existence, he finally resolves to have his artificial limbs replaced with grafts from 'donors'.

  • Asylum Seeker: Turiv's Minor Domo harness has tarnished since taking his leave of the Covenant Military. Almost so much as his honor.
  • Turiv Rebuilt: His near-destruction at the Renegade's hands has left Turiv reliant on hideous cybernetics. All his self-loathing needs an outlet, and violence has always been his easy answer.

Janet Pawlak

Born a refugee of the early Human-Covenant War, Janet Pawlak was among the millions the UNSC left homeless and all-too-susceptible to URF propaganda, and has long since been taken in by Darrow's lies and manipulation.

Doctor Molek

A member of Catherine Halsey's engineering team for the first MJOLNIR armor iterations, Bernard Molek was forced to flee the UNSC when he tried to blow the whistle on ONI and ended up a prisoner of the Insurrection.

MIMI

The Metropolitan Infrastructure Management Intelligence controlling Irbit's city functions is a dated model, as is typical on frontier colonies, but as such is conveniently easy for a rogue Spartan or a governor with URF sympathies to compromise.

Redmond Venter

Skins:

  • Rebel Firebrand: As the old URF hardliners rest on dusty laurels and rising NCA reformists groom their own followings, someone has to put on the fatigues and do the work to carve out a true sovereign state free of Earth.
  • Dog of War: When the Third Mamore Insurrection began to fall apart, it fell to a young rebel Lieutenant to pick up the pieces. It was a little easier while he still had both eyes.

Amber

Wielding a Focus Rifle and cut-down flamethrower, Amber's moveset excels at area denial and keeping an opponent from getting the time to effectively set up. Since the Focus Rifle's beam has to be evaded with a jump or a duck, she can keep hounding foes even at range, but her flamethrower's damage-over-time effect was the real source of player outcry. An update was soon added where a block would end the ongoing damage to ignited players.

Amber's Arcade Ladder ending follows the canonical storyline, having her service to the Kru'desh culminate in a mutiny against Stray. With the raiding legion under her control and their former Covenant masters crumbling, Amber partners with the artificial intelligence Diana to found the Free Domain. At the head of the Free Domain's forces, Amber strikes back at the UNSC and helps Diana unlock a Guardian, providing their new empire with the power to defend themselves against the Created's encroachment.

Skins:

  • Kru'desh Legionnaire: In Kru'desh service, Amber wears a mix of old Hellbringer armor with tacked-on violet nanolaminate pieces.
  • Free Domain Warlord: Assuming command for herself, Amber dons a suit of MJOLNIR armor she repainted after taking it from a former comrade's corpse.
  • Amber-G330: Once a good little soldier, Amber's HAZOP-variant MJOLNIR Mark V was painted gold after its original scheme was corroded away on Stratos.

Fireteam Nephthys

With separate minor bonuses for each skin scrapped midway through development, the members of Fireteam Nephthys each contribute their specialties to the overall moveset for an eclectic set of options. Some attacks call in a random fellow team member for a surprise strike, Kodiak's knife collection is available for all, and their Intel block can temporarily decrease the damage of whatever strike or combo is cancelled, heavily punishing spammers.

Fireteam Nephthys' Arcade Ladder ending shows the team's mission a success, with Dyne, Cassandra, Stray, Amber, and other rogues imprisoned in Midnight Facility. Absolved of their failures as individual team leaders, Nephthys is promoted to Serin Osman's personal command and prepare for their next mission.

Skins:

  • Wynne-G327: Former leader of Team Rondel, Wynne knows her Gamma Company comrades can live up to the expectations they've failed so far. If completing this mission will prove it, she'll see it done at any cost.
  • Jake-G293: Former leader of Team Jian, Jake has always felt held back by the teammates who ended up deserting. Now, he's been given a free excuse to channel his resentment.
  • Kodiak-G114: Former leader of Team Machete, Kodiak quietly longs to bring his prodigal siblings back into the fold. But he knows none of them will be coming quietly.
  • Shepard-G127: Former leader of Team Shoto, Shepard briefly went rogue and nearly lost his mind on the frontier. He won't let his old friends go astray to fall into that abyss.

Stray

Stray's moveset makes use of every trick he's picked up to survive on the frontier; holographic decoys, various grenade projectiles, a knife for close-quarters, and a well-worn M45 shotgun. Having a viable response to nearly any playstyle, Stray was a top pick in competitive circles for the first season of play, with the first championship featuring several mirror matches. Unfortunately, Iron Galaxy noticed the underwhelming effect seeing the same choice in the finals had and high online win ratio as an issue and for the next few seasons implemented hefty nerfs of the character, reducing him to one of the least-used choices. One fan website is known to use his Simon-G294 skin to represent various fan characters in default SPI armor.

Skins:

  • Wandering Stray: As a frontier mercenary, Simon has packed every dirty trick he's ever picked up into the combat webbing over his patched SPI armor.
  • Kru'desh Commander: While the fighting at Fell Justice took his arm and left him with more scars than ever, the steel replacement and ruthless resolve prove Stray is stronger than ever.
  • Simon-G294: With his helmet on, before his armor had endured years on the frontier, Simon would've looked identical to any of the other SPARTAN-IIIs—if a little shorter.

The Arbiter

Despite not featuring in the campaign, Thel 'Vadam appeared at release as an homage to his appearance in Killer Instinct (2013). Similar to that title, Thel 'Vadam's moveset is strongest at mid-range, juggling opponents between the devastating close-range swipes of his sword, the Prophet's Bane, and his Type-51 Carbine. He can activate an energy shield to make him immune to all projectiles for a short time, and any combo can be extended with a follow-up stick from a plasma grenade. Ammunition for his carbine is a resource, however, and depletes quickly. In addition, as one of the larger characters, his hitbox is very easily targeted and he lacks a solid dash option.

The Arbiter's Arcade Ladder ending shows while 'Vadam has an alliance with the UNSC, he knows to trust them very little. As such, he comes to Talitsa as a flashpoint to observe their reaction to Sangheili intervention in human affairs. After forcing Talitsa's submission and rebuffing Fireteam Nephthys' assassination attempt, 'Vadam turns the world into the Swords of Sanghelios' staging point on the frontier, poised to invade the UEG's rebuilding Outer Colonies should they break their oaths.

Skins:

  • Kaidon of Vadam: As the Swords of Sanghelios' chief of state, 'Vadam's golden armor is meant to look the parts of traditional Covenant authority, Sangheili restorationist, and pragmatic military commander all at once.
  • Final Arbiter: In his silver Halo 2 armor, Thel 'Vadam vowed to undertake mission after mission which would mean certain eventual death for his redemption in the Hierarchs' service.
  • Ceremonial Robe: A moment's comfortable reprieve is a rare thing for the Kaidon trying to restore Sanghelios, and even in a quiet tea ceremony, he must present himself as his position demands.

DLC

Joseph

Joseph was provided a month after Stolen Gauntlet’s launch as free DLC for all players, in part to make up for the fiasco of the title's launch and in part to provide players with a playable SPARTAN-II after complaints of the Master Chief's absence.

In reflection to his role as a sniper, Joseph's move set focuses on high-damage long range attacks which can stun opponents when they hit, this is however balanced by a long initial wind up, which can allow a skilled opponent to dodge. Comparatively his short range attacks, whilst lacking in overall damage, allow a player to deal knock back to an opponent and as such should be utilised to keep an opponent at range where Joseph's long range attacks are most effective.

Joseph posesses two finishers, with the first Stanchion having Joseph decapitating his defeated opponent after being thrown said weapon from off-screen with a shot to the head. Whilst the second has him initially disabling his opponents with his SRS99 AM sniper rifle, before executing them with his M6G sidearm.

This skill set was designed by the developers in an effort to combat the issues that had surrounded Amber prior to her nerfing, making her a popular counter choice in competitive play, making matches a test of personal skill.

Skins:

  • Green-One: Bearing the scars of Reach, Earth and anywhere else the UNSC have sent him, this set of MJOLNIR has seen its fair share of action.
  • Cerberus: For when your ultra-secret supersoldier has to blend into the regular rank and file, this ODST armour is proven to fool even the most astute innie.
  • Escapee: Even after years of attempted brainwashing, Joseph retained his desire for freedom. This jumpsuit may be ill-suited for a bid for freedom, but it is all he has and it will have to do.

Andra

Andra-D054's skins on display in a early test poster for her Stolen Gauntlet DLC.

Skins:

  • Andra-D054: As the last true vestige of Ferret Team Boson, her armor reflects the militant and individualistic spirit of her Spartan mantle. Only a great transformation could shake such evident black-and-white idealism.
  • A Killer Doll: Despite suggestions to limit firepower while undercover, Andra will be herself. Quiet, pretty, and overtly violent. Just in time for the Rio summer with a pink anti-material rifle in hand.
  • Under The Hood: Some scars, especially the emotional kind, never quite heal. Retreating into silence, shadow, and under the hood are just natural responses. Andra pulls on her trademark green hoodie and disappears into the crowd.

Merlin

Skins:

  • Burnt & Soggy Toast: Poor Merlin was kidnapped by a Guardian, exposed to Slipspace, and dropped into the ocean. Now his suit is burnt, damaged, and waterlogged. Good luck repairing this armor.
  • Frontier Wizard: When your life falls apart around you, turning to a nomadic lifestyle of performing odd jobs and magic tricks isn't considered sane. At least the role comes with a cool cloak and a military-grade Smart AI.
  • Merlin-D032: Merlin's armor is a tinkerer's plaything. While attracted by the promise of infinite customization and security with the Interceptor armor and Secrets VISR, he doesn't even know where to begin with making it his own.

Stages

  • Alley
    Featuring both a day and a night aesthetic option, alley sees frequent use in the campaign to represent Talitsa's side-streets and secretive nooks. Fire escapes and dumpsters allow plenty of opportunities to use the environment.
  • Clinic
    After the Syndicate gave it up, Dyne swiped the deed and helped Cassandra renovate their south-downtown safehouse into a charitable medical practice to help Talitsans in need and serve as the Renegade's hideout. Little did they expect it to be so frequently a point of contention for the community, the Syndicate, and Talitsa's law enforcement.
  • Jiralhanae Camp
    Used for both tutorial fights on Stavros, Jiralhanae Camp provided a first look at Jiralhanae architecture on a frontier planet. Adobe brick buildings abut themselves against boulders to make building easier, and what material stretches between giant bone ribbing of their yurts is best left unsaid.
  • Highway 117
    Sometimes the brawls everyone wants to keep quiet can't help spilling out into public. Stage atop a moving semi hauler, occasionally passing through tunnels and under signs and overpasses that can swat down unsuspecting players.
  • Irbit Memorial Hospital
  • Rooftops
    On those rainy nights when the fog rolls in below, the most dramatic confrontations play out in the red glow of aircraft warning lights. Either end of the stage features a bottomless drop, forcing mobile characters to play carefully.
  • Secret Lab
    Standing in for both Darrow's outlands research base and Doctor Molek's lair, Talitsa has ended up hosting for a number of illicit projects carried out by the NCA, the Syndicate, and other frontier interests motivated to keep out of UNSC jurisdiction. Probably for the low rent.

Intro Quotes

Main article: Halo: Stolen Gauntlet/Quotes

While Stolen Gauntlet’s introductory dialogue was criticized as derivative of Netherrealm Studios titles' format, their quips proved a popular part of the game for fans. Intro compilations became a popular staple of several Halo Youtubers.

Notes & References

  • As a sort of disclaimer, since it feels weird writing fictional futures for quite real game companies, this article is not meant to be a reflection on the character of any game company or developer working for one. Rather, the intent is to create a fictive game article about what the Halo franchise could do wrong by reflecting problems in the wider game industry itself. Feels a bit like I'm writing fanfiction about real people. I should maybe invent a fictional subsidiary of 343 Industries for this thing, but I'll wait till I get the cease and desist orders to start that.