Since Bungie's departure from the Microsoft family in 2007, intellectual property rights for the Halo IP have remained with 343 Industries, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Microsoft Corporation. In 2009, 343 Industries launched Halo Waypoint, a centralized online platform for news, multimedia and game content related to the Halo series. Updated on a near-daily basis, Waypoint gives fans of the series consistent insight into the Halo universe. Every weekly offering contains motion comics, biographies, or fact sheets on various people, places, and objects from Halo. On the 343 forums, community managers facilitate events specifically centered around discovering Halo canon. One ongoing thread, dubbed the "Halo Book Club," invites players to read a selected work from the Halo literary library and join in discussion about it online. This not only provides a structured environment in which fans can explore the narrative universe but also gives them a large network of opinions and perspectives on which to draw and form their own. As Microsoft moves forward with future titles and Bungie moves on with new IP, Waypoint will become the epicenter of Halo fandom.

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Despite the effort made in creating all of these additional media, the question still remains: Is it worth exploring? The short answer is: Yes.

Each Halo game tells a specific story and, for the most part, does it quite well. Every installment takes us back to that universe and lets us explore a new facet and narrative. Yet, their ability to tell a story will always be limited to the confines of gameplay. Peripheral media shows us new people, places, and ideas that we, as gamers, did not know existed. It enriches our gaming experience by taking us beyond the games and expanding our understanding of them.

Players who have completed the core trilogy know Master Chief as a stoic and unwavering soldier but little else about his personality or history is revealed. Players who have also read The Fall of Reach see Master Chief in an entirely different light. They have borne witness to his training in the Spartan II program, the evolution of his relationship with Cortana and his role over the entire course of the Human-Covenant War.

This is the essence of peripheral media.

There are undoubtedly many of you who, until now, have not given much thought to the story beyond your games. To you, I say this: Explore! Take the time to investigate the games you love beyond the games themselves. Read a novel, find a fan website, start a discussion. You may not be a fan of Halo but, chances are, there is a greater story to be told, whatever your favorite game or genre is. Delve deeper. Developers and publishers have invested considerable time and effort into expanding their narrative universes. Taking the time to explore them will only better your gaming experience.

Ryan Ward is an aspiring writer/producer and staff writer for NightmareMode.net. He commutes between northern Maine and Boston and has a penchant for beer brewing, pontificating, and Celtic trad rock.

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