I am part of those who believe that Halo 5: Guardians was massively rewritten. I’ve tried time and again to imagine what 343 wrote in the first place. I want to try and build an image of what Halo 5’s plot (other elements as well, but plot is what I’m mostly interested in) looked like - and for that I need your help.
Warning: this is not a pure speculation thread: what I want to do is recap what info we’ve been given here and there about the early developments of the plot. Of course, feel free to theorize, but I’m looking for theories that are not too far-fetched - and based on evidence such as artwork, concept arts, early menu builds and the like.
Also, let’s avoid the gratuitous 343-bashing. I don’t want this thread to be one huge complaint about all the things that went wrong in Halo 5. I’m solely interested in what 343 originally planned - let’s keep it constructive!
A huge clue to an early draft if the plot is an early menu build that shows the description of a campaign level, which seriously hints at Halsey taking on the role that Cortana later assumed. The concept art is found here, and a thread in which I theorize in greater detail where that development came from can be found here (it is somewhat speculative, so I won’t go into detail in this thread).
Multiple concepts art show that Gabriel Thorne was supposed to be part of Osiris until Nathan Fillion agreed to reprise his role.
Additionnally, it looked like John wanted to remain hidden, possibly operating without the support of the UNSC. I think this is compounded by comments from the authors about the cloak in the Halo Xbox One trailer and his complete absence in Escalation - which is notably commented upon by Scruggs. From the Xbox One trailer, it seemed like John might have been in search of a way to bring Cortana back.
Finally, concept art seems to show him fighting Insurrectionist robots - I’d be very interested in knowing who confirmed the robots belonged to the Insurrection. It’s possible that the first level, rather than Argent Moon, would have taken place in an Insurrectionnist stronghold. Interestingly, John is alone on all those artworks - although there are also pieces that show Fred with a cloak.
Any other hints that you came across? What can we reasonnably make of this to establish an image of early Halo 5 scripts?