Yesterday, Microsoft re-revealed the Halo Infinite campaign with a new video that gave us our first proper look at what to expect from that portion of the game in over a year.
With all eyes trained on the visuals - and Craig's new beard - the announcement of a few brand new enemies for the Halo universe flew under the radar. Check out the action in the video below:
Developer 343 mentioned three new enemies who make their debut in Halo Infinite: the agile Skimmers, a sadistic Spartan killer called Jega 'Rdomnai, and a mysterious new character called The Harbinger of the Truth, who declares "the Forerunners' lies are at an end" as she blasts Master Chief through a tree.
It's The Harbinger of the Truth, or, more simply, The Harbinger, who has caught the attention of Halo lore fans. Why? Because no-one's sure exactly what she is.
I've noticed a few theories that have emerged online since the video went live about The Harbinger's true nature, but it's perhaps best to start with what the community believes she is not before suggesting what she may be.
One early suggestion is The Harbinger is a Prelate. You'd be forgiven for not knowing what a Prelate is, since they have yet to appear in any Halo game (they were mentioned in a Halo 2 map pack manual, bizarrely).
The Prelates were genetically enhanced San'Shyuum (the Prophet species) who worked as super soldiers for the Covenant. Images we have of Prelates show The Harbinger has a similar design, but, crucially, the wrong number of fingers (Prelates have three, whereas The Harbinger has four). Yes, dear readers, we're so far down the Halo lore rabbit hole that we're counting fingers on aliens.
So, The Harbinger is not a Prelate (we think). Here's another early days theory: she's a Precursor.
The Precursors are Halo's OG race, a collection of Lovecraftian beings so ancient and advanced even the Forerunners mythologised them. Could The Harbinger be a Precursor? Perhaps, but probably not. The Harbinger doesn't look like what we think the Precursors look like, based on descriptions from Halo novels and snippets of artwork (they're big bugs, basically). And 343, clearly, hopes Halo Infinite makes sense for as many players as possible, including those who've never played a Halo game before. Having the origin of this new enemy tied up in so much lore baggage would probably make a lot of people check out.
There's also a school of thought that The Harbinger could be of the same origin or species as the much-maligned Warden Eternal from Halo 5, given the silhouettes of both characters are similar. I don't think this is likely. The Warden is a Forerunner artificial intelligence, and The Harbinger clearly hates the Forerunners.
We're running out of theories based upon characters and races we've already seen in the Halo universe. And that's why the current prevailing theory among the Halo community is that The Harbinger is of an entirely new race.
I think this is most likely true. The more and closer you look at The Harbinger, the more she looks unlike anything we know of in the Halo universe. She's a bit like a few characters we've seen over the years, but there are key differences: the number of fingers, the length of her neck, the angle of her legs. I think we're looking at a brand new race for Halo Infinite, which is pretty exciting. Either that, or The Harbinger is a Vex from Destiny.
If The Harbinger is of a brand new species, it would have to be an ancient one for her to harbour ill-will towards the Forerunners, who themselves were knocking about 100,000 years ago. Was she chilling on Zeta Halo all this time? Did something happen to wake her up? And why is she apparently working with The Banished on the ring?
Back to the Skimmers - we're not quite sure what they are, either. They have two arms and five leg... things? Interestingly, their armour lines up with that of The Harbinger. The current thinking is the Skimmers are doing The Harbinger's bidding, spreading that anti-Forerunner propaganda across Zeta Halo.
New races in Halo! It's been a while, hasn't it? I'm down with that, if it's true. And even if this theory is correct, there are loads of questions remaining. Why is The Harbinger on Zeta Halo? Why is she so pissed at the Forerunners? And why does she appear to have the Reclaimer symbol on her helmet?
Not long to find out!