In the impressive Halo Wars 2 trailer from E3, you might have noticed that main characters Cutter and Anders look different than how you may have remembered them from the 2009 original Halo Wars. As it turns out, there’s a good reason for that.
“Because they are different–for both casting and technical reasons,” developer 343 Industries said in its latest weekly blog post. “The first Halo Wars game, for all its glitteringly wondrous CG, contained characters that [effects studio Blur] essentially ‘made up.'”
“They were effectively ‘hand drawn’ amalgams of character, rigging, and aesthetics. Those characters were created in 2008, using 2007 tech and they looked fantastic at the time.”
Since then, the industry has made “geometric leaps forward” in terms of gaphical fidelity, 343 explained. For Halo Wars 2, “the end result is much better immersion in the story and far more believable ‘people’ because they are people–recordings of the performance rather than a simulation or cartoon of it.”
The new actors for Cutter and Anders have changed. Gideon Emery (Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Battlefield 3) plays Cutter–who is seen grayed to reflect the 28 years of passed time since Halo Wars. Faye Kingslee (Mirror’s Edge Catalyst) plays Anders, and 343 said she nailed the role.
“You’re going to love her performance,” 343 said. “While respecting the original character, she’s poured a lot of herself into this. And while we loved Kim Mai Guest as our previous actress for Anders, getting our schedules to jive was a challenge.”
“We’re really excited to have both Faye and Gideon join the Halo family, and we can’t wait to show you more of the story and the amazing Blur cinematics in Halo Wars 2.”
Also in the blog post, it was confirmed that Halo Wars 2 will feature campaign co-op. However, there will be no cross-play between the Xbox One and PC versions.
Halo Wars 2 is a Play Anywhere game, meaning buying it on Xbox One gets you the PC version free and vice versa. Originally set to come out in 2016, Halo Wars 2 is now pegged to arrive in February 2017. A beta is being held right now on Xbox One.
For more on Halo Wars 2, check out GameSpot’s preview from E3 2016, “Will Halo Wars 2 Please RTS Fans?”