New Halo book will bring back a popular character, and possibly a Halo 3 map

Halo: Epitaph
(Image credit: 343 Industries / Chris McGrath)

What you need to know

  • In a new blog post, Halo developer 343 Industries has fully revealed the next Halo book, Halo: Epitaph.
  • The book will bring back the Didact and pick up on his story where the events of Halo 4 and Halo: Escalation left off — with his remains scattered into the Forerunner Domain.
  • Based on the cover art, it's also likely that the Didact will visit the Forerunner cathedral seen in the Halo 3 map Epitaph, or at least one that's very similar to it.
  • The cover art also depicts the Didact wounded and wearing a cloak, making him look very similar to his appearance in a fan-favorite Halo 5 concept art piece.

In a new blog post, Halo developer 343 Industries has given fans a first look at Halo: Epitaph, an upcoming novel written by Kelly Gay. The post includes the book's cover artwork (illustrated by Chris McGrath) as well as the story's synopsis and some hints about its setting.

Halo: Epitaph is bringing back the Didact, a Forerunner that survived the ancient Forerunner-Flood War in imprisonment and argued humanity was unworthy of the Mantle of Responsibility — the task of tending to and protecting life in the galaxy. During the events of Halo 4, the Didact was able to break free and attempted to convert all of humanity into controllable Promethean thralls with a Forerunner device called the Composer. However, he was stopped by Master Chief and Cortana, with an additional engagement resulting in the destruction of the Composer and a defeat that banished his remains to the depths of an esoteric Forerunner information repository called The Domain.

According to the post, Halo: Epitaph will pick up right where Didact's story left off. Below, you'll find the book's official synopsis:

Stripped of armor, might, and memory, the 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.

Halo: Epitaph, Official Synopsis

Unused Halo 5: Guardians concept for the Didact, who ultimately didn't appear in the game. (Image credit: Gabriel Garza / ArtStation)

It's great to see that we're finally getting a follow-up to the way the Didact's story concluded in Halo 4 and the Halo: Escalation comics, as he's a popular character that hasn't been in any franchise media since 2014. Notably, his appearance on Halo: Epitaph's cover is extremely reminiscent of the Didact Halo 5 concept art that former Halo artist Gabriel Garza shared on ArtStation.

Something else keen-eyed Halo fans may notice is that the tower visible in the cover art's background is the exact same structure that the fan-favorite Halo 3 Arena map Epitaph is set on top of. Since the map and the upcoming novel share a name, and because the map itself is a Forerunner cathedral of sorts, it's extremely likely that the Didact will visit the location or one similar to it during the story. If true, this possibly means that at least some of the book will be set on The Ark, as this is where Epitaph and its tower is located. Multiple previous Halo games and books have taken place on The Ark, including much of Halo 3, Halo Wars 2, parts of Greg Bear's Forerunner novel trilogy, and Halo: Hunters in the Dark.

Halo: Epitaph is scheduled to release on January 2, 2024, and can be preordered now. It will be available in paperback and as an eBook. To experience the Didact's debut story, make sure you play Halo 4 in Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which is one of the best Xbox games in terms of bang-for-your-buck value.


Halo: Epitaph

Halo: Epitaph is Kelly Gay's next upcoming Halo novel, and will bring Halo 4's Didact back into the spotlight. There's also a very good chance it will return fans to The Ark and the location of Epitaph, a fan-favorite Halo 3 map.

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Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.