Before There Was Halo

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Good article, plus it helped me understand why I enjoy pc FPS's but generally dislike console FPS's..

I played it on PC when it finally got released. That was about two years after the original launch.

And while I enjoyed the game I wondered what all the fuzz was about. It was no Medal of Honor.

Sorry Shamus, but when you say that Halo was the one who built the FPS Console house, you lost all credibility with me. DooM was the game that built the FPS genre, PERIOD. Wolfenstein 3-D was the progenitor/beta-test for FPS, but DooM made it what it was. Then along came GoldenEye007, which finally brought the FPS game out of the PC Dominated market, and made it a financial success on the consoles. I know of at least three people who bought an N64 solely so that they could play GoldenEye007.

And whilst important, Goldeneye today plays like crap. Halo, on the other hand, is still playable. Hell, it's still an absolute riot on Legendary.

The Call of Duty games, while not as mega-successful as GoldenEye007, also cemented the FPS genre's place on consoles. [/quote]

This being the Call Of Duty series that debuted in 2003, 2 years after Halo, right?

Halo, on the other hand, is a bland, formulaic Sci-Fi based FPS game starring a faceless, emotionless mannequin as the protagonist, with an above average sound track that would make John Williams proud. In fact, if it hadn't been for Xbox LIVE, Halo probably would have drifted off into the mists of time, never to be heard from again. Halo 2 had some of the glitchiest, most unbalanced online multiplayer every to come out.

I doubt it, considering that Halo 1 and 2 between them brought 2 weapon limits, shields, the gun-grenade-melee triangle, destructable vehicles, dual wielding, huge levels, few-and-far-between level loads(!), advanced AI, vehicles that either you or the AI could drive, homing rockets, snappy dialogue and awesome production values to the fore, people would have been talking about them for years after their release, regardless of XBox Live. And in case you hadn't guessed, I'm a fan of all the above mentioned game elements.

The fact that most real Gamers consider the Halo series to be the second piece of the Unholy Gramer Triad should give you an idea of just how overvalued the series is as a property. Even Bungie, the studio that made it and made billions of dollars of off it, said they were done with it and wanted nothing more to do with it.

The Halo series is a teat that's been milked too hard AND to death. The blood is starting to mix in with the milk, and the product won't last much longer until it becomes the level of self-parody that Devil May Cry achieved with number 4, and to a lesser degree, number 3.

So you've gone from shameless elitism mixed with unproveable claims, to statements about the developer taken out way of context, to a laboured analogy that really just doesn't work, to a critique of Devil May Cry. That's quite a lot for such small little paragraphs. You're still talking out your arse though.

Well now, you know what I did? I went and actually played Halo 1 on PC after reading the article.

I got as far as the copy-paste hallways of the ship. Hasn't aged well is an understatement.

In contrast, I've played System Shock 2 or Deus Ex more times than I can count, in recent times as well (last month or so?) Nevermind playing Doom or Quake regularly. The point is not that people are hating on something popular, it's that the something popular (for the wrong reasons) is screwing up what we used to find great advancements in the genre.

And here's something different, but related!

Read, learn.


Shamus Young:

Love it or hate it, Halo re-invented the shooter genre for the better.

Sorry Shamus, but that's not what you seem to say. Your point is about how

Bungie made the right game for the right hardware at the right time.

The word I'd use was re-invigorate.

Re-Invention seems to pre-suppose that it was the progenitor of shooters from that day on, but there was still life in the old twitch-fire mechanics.

Halo brought in a new way to play shooters, but it didn't change every shooter from then. Some of the things Halo does/did aren't great. Some are.

It changed the game to suit the people it was being sold to, as you say, but was that for the better? I'd be hard pressed to come down on either side of that argument.

Re-invigorated, not re-invented. (IMHO)

Incorrect. "Re-invent" does not require all instances of the old to disappear; merely that a new template has been created that is widely used.

After examining the article carefully, something struck me.

And it would have a rich sci-fi setting that would rise above the "shoot all the aliens" narrative we'd been living on for the last decade or so.

Really? No, really? Like, seriously?


Incorrect. "Re-invent" does not require all instances of the old to disappear; merely that a new template has been created that is widely used.

Which, as we previously established, didn't happen. It just started off a bandwagon.



Incorrect. "Re-invent" does not require all instances of the old to disappear; merely that a new template has been created that is widely used.

Which, as we previously established, didn't happen. It just started off a bandwagon.

You're trying to have a semantic argument here, but your definitions have no discernable basis.

If it wasn't Halo, someday some guy would have developed an different FPS that would re-invent the genre, too, maybe in an kind of different way, where is the bad thing in that?

It's like "Without X you wouldn't have Y" like there would be no chance in hell someone else would do Y or only Y is good.


You're trying to have a semantic argument here, but your definitions have no discernable basis.

May I point you to the answer from Shamus to my original question where we decided that "Yes, there was a difference in text"?

If you want to argue further, fine, but we've already sorted this out.



[quote="So Halo led other games to become brown and realistic by being purple and science-fiction-ish?
Is that what you are saying? :P[/quote]

Well, if Shamus is right, and remember, we're talking about the Experienced Point today here, and Halo changed shooters forever, then we only ended up here, with today's shooters, because of Halo.[...]

You could apply that same argument to Quake, DOOM, etc.
Halo changed things forever, but it's not at fault for all the brown "realism" in games.

I think it got that bad because of all these WWII shooters, it's just a guess though.

I agree, but tell Shamus. Its a process of evolution, and Halo is no more responsible for changing the genre than Modern Warfare 1 or Duke Nukem 3d

Shamus' whole point was that the FPS 'landscape' today, is the way it is today, in big part due to Halo. Reading the article, he explains exactly what has changed with the shooter genre today that we can attribute to Halo (nothing to do with brown muddy colours). Sure I guess you could say that MW1 or Duke Nukem 3d have been just as responsible for where FPSs are today, but then I'd have to exactly? What did they do with the genre that we still see popping up all the time in today's FPSs? What seed did they plant? Where are their genetic traits on display?

After examining the article carefully, something struck me.

And it would have a rich sci-fi setting that would rise above the "shoot all the aliens" narrative we'd been living on for the last decade or so.

Really? No, really? Like, seriously?

Yeah, sure. Halo (fittingly along with Marathon) is one of the few if only scifi franchises that treated the whole 'humans vs. aliens' thing in a new way. The aliens weren't some evil species bent on wiping out humanity for no good reason, they had dimensions to them. For one, it was a conglomeration of different races, brought together and enslaved by essentially an intergalactic extremist religious sect. Hell, they could even be called a suicide cult (the activation of the halos would kill everything, but in their eyes it would send them into the new kingdom or some such nonsense). That felt realistic to me, hell that happens in the world we live in.

Then we've got internal politics to this alien cult (really, how often do we see this outside of sci fi novels?) leading to the defection of one group to the other side! In the second game specifically we're shown half the game from an entirely new (alien, 'enemy') perspective. If I can knock the franchise for anything, it's Bungie chickening out with the third game from all of the backlash of the risks that the second game took. Could've gone somewhere even more interesting, somewhere even half as crazy as Marathon Infinity would've neat as shit, instead it pulls its punches. Also the MC didn't need to be such a cypher for the player, in such an interesting world it would've been neat to play as an interesting personality (not another Gordan Freeman). At least the machismo was toned down a bit from most FPS action heroes. Lastly, The Flood (while they had an amazing introduction) managed to devolve half of every single goddamned game to a Doom throwback.

Then we've got the aesthetics and the little touches, the colourful quality of this sci-fi world, where else did we see that? Most developers equated 'sci fi' with sleek shiny metal surfaces or brown dirty metal surfaces. Halo gave us organic environments, grass, beaches, alien worlds that looked colorful and interesting for a change. When we came to earth it was New Mombasa, sit on that for a sec. New Mombasa in Africa was the center of most of the earth action we saw. Appreciate the novelty, when nearly every other developer would've given us New New York, Halo considered the idea that the Earth of the future might be quite a different place. And then there's ODST which gave us the Halo universe from the perspective of the grunt troops. Nice seeing Bungie not holding onto the MC for dear life.

Not a Halo fanboy. Can't remember the last time I touched the multiplayer, and I don't even own an 360 anymore. But I'll never understand how people can sell the originality of the setting short. When nearly every other FPS gave us dark n' gritty, Halo gave us fucking Spielberg (oldschool Spielberg). It was a breath of fresh air to any FPS fan willing to admit it. I love Deus Ex, Thief and System Shock as well mind you (these games have been brought up quite abit) but their strengths don't really take away from what set Halo apart and vice versa.



The only good thing Halo brought was Red Vs Blue. The FPS genre was evolving anyway and it has swung way too far to the "Brown Realistic Multiplayer First" side of things. if that was because of Halo, it certainly did not change shooters for the better. Its just the case of the biggest thing at the time taking credit for the overall evolution of a genre that had begun before it came out.

All the brown and realism wasn't Halo. Halo actually has some pretty colorful environments. Yes there's some browns but not much by today's standards.

And besides, it'd be kind of silly for a game about fighting aliens set 500 years in the future to be a basis for realism.

but the article said that Halo got us to where we are today with shooters. Well, not everyone likes where we are today with shooters, so maybe Halo did not change thinsg for the better, as Shamus asserts.

What about Call of Duty? I know Infinity Ward took pointers from Halo in tuning the gameplay to suit consoles, and Halo had been evolving into a more multiplayer-focused game, but from where I'm standing, it was with Call of Duty that the pseudo-realistic anti-colorful stuff that people seem to hate about modern shooters got started, or at least where it got popular enough to be imitated by almost every other FPS developer.

Plus Call of Duty has completely eclipsed Halo in popularity, and what is most popular is most imitated and therefore has the most effect.

Sadly, being the best turd for the turdiest console and spawning an entire genre of turds, teaching a generation of gamers to like nothing but steaming turds, doesn't make up for the fact that it was, and still is, a turd. No matter if the controls worked well.

Yeah... I'm not buying this article. Everything except for people bouncing in vehicles had been done two years before in Perfect Dark. Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, and the Timesplitters games that followed were the ones that defined how a FPS could control perfectly on a console. Halo just threw it out and emulated the PC tactic of rooting the crosshair to the centre, which is far better suited to a mouse than a gamepad. Let's look at it this way:

Goldeneye brought us:

*Fluid, console tailored controls
*Variable zoom aiming for different guns
*non-linear and highly varied level design
*Huge arsenal of weapons, all of which could be held at once
*Different objectives for each difficulty setting, with unlockable levels for higher difficulties
*Cheats, unlockable by completing difficult specific speed runs, and would not let players advance through the story when activated
*Split screen multiplayer for four people, including five modes
*Multiplayer maps tailored to 4 players or less
*Dual wielding weapons
*Emphasis on stealth and objectives over brute strength (though it was still possible)

Perfect Dark added:

*secondary functions for all weapons
*Dual Wielding in multiplayer, four years before Halo 2
*Six modes in multiplayer
*up to 8 computer controlled bots in multiplayer, with everything customisable from skill level to tactics and preferred weapons. Friendly bots could even be ordered around during a match.
*Larger interior and exterior locations
*level starting spots and other factors dependent on actions performed in previous levels
*Co-operative mode
*Counter-operative mode
*Various single and multiplayer challenges

Halo introduced:

*Better graphics and levels being larger still
*Enhanced flanking enemy AI
*Better vehicle physics
*Regenerating health
*ported PC/Mac controls
*LAN support with up to 16 players

and so Halo removed:

*Console tailored controls
*non-linear level design
*All weapons being held at once
*Dual wielding
*Different objectives for each difficulty
*Multiplayer maps tailored to 4 players or less
*Emphasis on stealth (for the most part)
*Secondary functions
*Down to 5 multiplayer modes again
*Multiplayer bots of any kind
*A lot of the multiplayer customisation as seen in Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, Timesplitters, and The World Is Not Enough
*Counter operative mode
*Singleplayer and multiplayer challenges

If anything, Halo pioneered a few forward steps in the console FPS market (side-steps, in the case of regen health), and the rest were big steps back in the development of the genre. Due to it's popularity, however, rivals sought to copy the bare minimum approach Halo adopted, and as a result, console FPSes have been lacking the earlier pioneering features ever since.

Hell even The World is Not Enough and Timesplitters 2 are in some ways better made games than Halo, and they both came out beforehand.

'Dabbled in RTS'... Myth 2 was one of the best damn games I've ever played.

Vicarious Vangaurd:
I wouldn't say regenerating shields/health were/are a good thing. But the HALO: CE did bring console shooters into the mainstream and made the Xbox a good investment.

Just pointing out the fact Halo CE did not have regenerating health.

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