Any nerdy franchise worth its salt comes with an ARG these days. If you don't have people inspecting your film/game/new pasta sauce's homepage's source code for code cyphers, turning sound files into images or turning images into smells, you're just not going to drum up the interest from the right portions of the internet.
But most people don't have time to do all of this. You definitely don't, I can tell - you're very attractive, and fully clothed. I am neither of these things, which is why I've run a pass over the new Halo 5 teaser, 'Bullet'. In only 15 seconds of footage, I found 6 clues as to the future of Xbox One's biggest franchise. Join me to see what I found, right after I slip on these socks.
There is no Master Chief
Pretty big one, this. We know it's easy to be blinded by the intensely pretty particle effects on show, but peer through the shattered remains of John-117's helmet, right after it's hit by the bullet. What do you see?
That's right, nothing. It's incredibly bold of 343 to reveal that its main character is, in fact, non-existent right out of the gate. What this means for the series' famously tactical shooting style has yet to be seen. Considering you'll be looking through the visor of a totally empty set of armour, with no ability to pull a trigger, we'd say both moving and shooting are out, off the bat. It's worrying, but getting the opportunity to play the world's first no-person shooter? Count me in.
You'll be meeting some old friends
This is a subtle one - for around two frames during the sniper rifle's muzzle flare, there's a distinct silhouette projected onto the glass of its scope. It looked to me like two people side by side, so I performed a little enhancement.
To my surprise, I discovered that the intended targets for this bullet were in fact the two lead characters from 2011 black-and-white silent film, The Artist. Why Jean Dujardin and Brnice Bejo would reprise their celebrated roles in a well-established space opera is anyone's guess - but if Master Chief's helmet hadn't gotten in the way, this could have been a one-shot double kill, so we're guessing whoever fired the shot is pretty pissed.
Halo 5 set in France?
Just take a look at that chunk of visor. Now if that doesn't immediately remind you of the country that invented cheese, champagne and extramarital affairs, I don't know what they teach in schools anymore. To be fair, I had to rotate France around 15 degrees anticlockwise to make that fit, so I can just about forgive some indecision.
The question is why 343 has slipped in a reference to France at all. Is it too much to guess that we'll be stomping down the wine-slicked streets of Paris blasting boulangerie windows? I don't think we'll be solving this one for a while.
Halo 5 is definitely set in France
Wait, sorry, I solved it already. Just look at this - shortly before what people have started calling "The Helmsplosion" since I wrote slide 2 (gosh social media moves fast these days), you can catch a glimpse of a French road sign in the background.
Strap on your "exosquelette du grand garon" (big boy exoskeleton), we're heading where the sun don't shine (western France has relatively bad weather).
See Master Chief's OKCupid profile
A devious little trick, this one. Scrub forwards using the teaser's cool frame-by-frame function and you'll see a series of words depicting Master Chief's life and history, such as 'Son' and 'Hero'.
Scroll backwards, however, and you'll see an entirely different set of personality traits - and these ones are a bit more personal. From 'GSOH' to 'I work as a dog walker part-time', you'll quickly realise that what you're seeing are choice parts of John's online dating profile. He seems like a pretty great guy, you should totally go for him.
It's so easy to miss details in the excitement of something like this. For instance, I got so excited about finding that little lens detail on the sniper rifle that I missed the bigger picture - it's not the series' iconic 99C-Series 2 Anti-Matriel sniper rifle system. It's a yawning dog. What a dum-dum!
Psst - if you're both still here and craving some actual news about the Halo 5 ARG, I've written a big ol' article about it, that I'll be keeping updated over the coming weeks. I'm so sorry.