Over 10 years ago, the Ur-Didact deemed humanity unworthy of the title Reclaimer — the name his people, the Forerunners, gave to the species they deemed worthy of bearing responsibility and dominion over the galaxy. But despite wielding godlike abilities, his attempts to eradicate this threat to his own power failed — twice: first in 2012’s Halo 4, when he was cast hurtling through slipspace by the Master Chief and his partner, Cortana; and then again in 2013’s The Next 72 Hours arc from Dark Horse Comics’ Halo: Escalation series, when Master Chief and Blue Team successfully turned a Forerunner weapon, the Composer, against the renegade Forerunner himself and destroyed his physical body, scattering his consciousness.

Halo: Epitaph, scheduled for release on January 2, 2024, tells the story of what happened to the Didact after this event — apparently by taking fans 16 years into the past to revisit an old favorite from Halo 3.

Want to read Halo: Epitaph? Pre-order it here!

Halo: Epitaph Chose The Right Writer

Kelly Gay next to Halo: Epitaph cover

“Stripped of armor, might, and memory, the legendary Forerunner warrior known as the Didact was torn from the physical world following his destructive confrontation with the Master Chief and sent reeling into the mysterious depths of a seemingly endless desert wasteland. This once powerful and terrifying figure is now a shadow of his former self—gaunt, broken, desiccated, and alone. But this wasteland is not as barren as it seems. A blue light glints from a thin spire in the far distance…

Thus begins the Didact’s great journey—the final fate of one of the galaxy’s most enigmatic and pivotal figures.”

Publisher’s Synopsis

Kelly Gay has spent several years writing for the Halo series. From her 2016 short story, Into the Fire, through a novella and three novels, up to her 2022 USA TODAY bestseller, Halo: The Rubicon Protocol — Gay knows Halo better than most.

RELATED  Kingdom Come: Deliverance & The Power of Realism

For the Didact, that’s essential. Truths about the Forerunners have always been shrouded in mythology and mystery: in the very first Halo game, all of the characters spend much of the game wandering around and wondering at the incredible technological achievements of the Forerunners, and so does the audience — only for the audience to find out most of the way through that the Forerunners’ magnum opus, the Halo ring, is a weapon of mass extermination.

And the Didact is further complicated by his belief that humanity is too weak to be trusted with responsibility for the entire galaxy; now that he himself has lost his might — not to mention his memory of being a supposedly superior lifeform — might he wonder about other ways that humanity has proven itself unreliable?

The Mysteries Continue

Epitaph map from Halo 3

The novel’s subtitle might be the biggest mystery — and Kelly Gay’s biggest worldbuilding opportunity. The “thin spire” in the novel’s cover art looks exactly the same as the Epitaph multiplayer map from Halo 3 (pictured above).

As far as the games go, the multiplayer has always been the biggest draw — and besides Cortana’s character arc in Halo 4, the stories have never really earned the right to be called stories. But there’s always been interest: from a large fanfiction community to the highly popular Red vs. Blue web series, people have been making up stories to build upon Halo’s universe. So the choice to make one of the most beloved multiplayer maps the setting of an expertly written Halo story is a great step in the right direction.

RELATED  Starfield: Can You Actually Fly To Planets?

For more Halo content, check out our comprehensive reading list!

Halo: Epitaph releases on January 2, 2024

Leave a comment