Reach, discussions at the studio momentarily went in the direction of a Master Chief resurrection tale -- a direct continuation of the Halo trilogy's story as "Halo 4." Bungie community man Brian Jarrard told the MTV Multiplayer blog as much in a recent interview, saying, "Even before the idea to build a game based around Reach came about, a lot of other concepts were explored, up to and including a proper 'Halo 4,' where Master Chief was going to wake up from cryo-sleep and we were going to tell that story."
So he is in cryo-sleep and not dead?! ... Ahem, please excuse us. Jarrard continues, adding that while Reach is a prequel to the first Halo title, it's not meant just for hardcore fans of the trilogy. "We don't want to open up a whole bunch of doors that we're not going to close. By the end of this, it's all going to come to a nice, neat finish, and if people want to then go play the Halo trilogy, I think they'll have a better understanding of what's going on, but it's not required at all." He also confirms that the Chief is nowhere to be found in Reach (though, canonically speaking, the Chief is on the planet during the game's timeline), which just about breaks our fragile space heart into a million pieces.