The Master Chief's adventures continue with a new alien menace. Find out everything we know.

There's not much to go on, but we can certainly draw some conclusions. Microsoft wrapped up its E3 2011 press conference with the announcement of the long awaited Halo 4.

First the first time, a numbered entry in the series is being designed by a developer other than Bungie. Taking over duties is 343 Industries, a team set up from the ground floor to handle the Halo brand.

Where Reach took us back in time to the beginning of the existing story, Halo 4 seems to be starting a whole new story, with the only apparent connection point being the presence of Master Chief and Cortana. At first glance, the new game doesn't seem to deal directly with the Covenant, the Flood, or any of the characters from Earth, but we'll have to wait and see if those legacy story elements return.

It will make for an interesting challenge for 343 Industries. While maintaining the visual ID that makes Halo 4 a Halo game, the team will have to simultaneously introduce new weapons, vehicles, aliens, planets, and other elements not seen in the earlier games.

Another surprising part of the announcement yesterday was the fact that Microsoft effectively announced Halo 5 and Halo 6 at the same time by revealing that Halo 4 would be the first part of a new trilogy.

Any way you cut it, one thing is for sure. We've got a while to wait before we'll know anything concrete. Halo 4 is set for a Holiday 2012 release. In the meantime, we can enjoy the first screens from the CG trailer, and a small shot of the potential box art.