312: A Bigger Universe

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A Bigger Universe

The Halo media franchise has created a rich narrative universe that you've never heard about.

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true, for the most part. I did really enjoy delving deeper into the universe and getting to know the other sides of the various conflicts. the main problem I have with the books is that they're just not very well written. I like my books to have beautiful sentences that flow into one another, it makes reading them much easier and more fun. little hickups like a sergeant (Lister? if forgot who exactly) changing gender mid-sentence didn't really help either. but fleshing out the universe more than was possible in the games did make it a fun read.

I do enjoy spinoff material for franchises. Another good example is the Star Wars Universe. They just make the world that much bigger and more realized.

Fall of Reach was a much better book than I had ever expected before I started reading it.
Slightly unfortunately, it does throw in what seem to be a couple of continuity errors in Reach, but a lot of that seems to be covered by the mystical handwave of 'ONI kept it classified'. Y'know, much like modern day intelligence services.

Being the general space-opera fan that I am, Halo was a great ride. I'd even describe it as epic, in the proper sense of the word, but the internet has entirely diluted the meaning of that word by now...

I've never cared much for/about Halo, being both uninterested in and bad at FPS games, but I am fascinated by the world-building process, and creating an involved, coherent narrative across a variety of media and media producers. (This happens when you're a writer and fan of classic Doctor Who. Continuity becomes a passion.)

It's fun and fascinating to see the amount of work that develops around what initially is a basic concept, and it's even better when a large number of fans and designers get involved too. I don't have to be into the story to respect everything that goes on to create it, and make it all make sense. Keep it up, everyone.

J03bot:
Fall of Reach was a much better book than I had ever expected before I started reading it.
Slightly unfortunately, it does throw in what seem to be a couple of continuity errors in Reach, but a lot of that seems to be covered by the mystical handwave of 'ONI kept it classified'. Y'know, much like modern day intelligence services.

Being the general space-opera fan that I am, Halo was a great ride. I'd even describe it as epic, in the proper sense of the word, but the internet has entirely diluted the meaning of that word by now...

The newest version of Fall of Reach that was just released is slightly edited to fix those continuity errors they didn't plan for 10 years ago.

I love the lore and aspects of the Halo universe from the SPARTAN I, II, and III programs, the development of the Human-Covenant War, the aspect of the Flood, etc etc. The world is carefully built and loved by its developers and community :)

Continuity failure. Halo: Reach bore no resemblance to the Fall of Reach book. The game was a total ret-con.

This article smells like something I'd expect to find in the "Official Xbox Magazine" as a shallow corporate shill. Should have branched out, touched on books/media expansion from several titles and some mention of their shortcomings rather than this seeming Halo fanboyism advertisement. Shortcomings like the zero in-game explanation of what a Spartan III is and the difference thereof between them and Spartan IIs. It just leaves the gamer with a big hollow. Undecided whether that's just laziness or some kind of wordless manipulation to get the curious to look it up themselves and get into the side media. Maybe an omission to placate tea-bag players who don't give a damn.

Own 5 halo books. Haven't read 2 of them, stopped when I played through Reach. If they care so little about the lore that they'll reboot it at will whenever it strikes their fancy, I don't see why fans like myself should care either.

Ryan Ward:
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.

Yes. This is why I love reading the expanded universe of the Mass Effect series, for example. And you bet I'd be all over Halo's universe if Microsoft hadn't decided not to release Halo games on the PC anymore.

So much rich, rich plot and storyline for fanboys to read about and argue about.

Yet a majority of players don't care for it at all and only play the multiplayer. Such a shame.

Eh. I'm not sure if I agree. I would prefer all the media to be in one medium - a game, film, novel, whatever. That's just my personal preference.

I'm very surprised no one has mentioned the Cortana Letters from marathon.bungie.org. You disappoint me so called "fans".

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

I have been trying toget this across so much!

As an avid halo fan, I am often dissapointed by the generally anti-halo attitude here, and escpalty by the idea many people seem to have about the story.

Even Moviebob mocked it.

WHY does this ONLY have 22 comments?!

Kermi:

Nicolaus99:
Continuity failure. Halo: Reach bore no resemblance to the Fall of Reach book. The game was a total ret-con.

In reality only the games are canon. The authors get access to the Halo story bible and talk to the game writers etc., but at the end of the day what they're writing is fan-fic based on facts, and Bungie weren't obliged to stick to facts established in the novels when they started making Reach.

Nicolaus99:
Continuity failure. Halo: Reach bore no resemblance to the Fall of Reach book. The game was a total ret-con.

This article smells like something I'd expect to find in the "Official Xbox Magazine" as a shallow corporate shill. Should have branched out, touched on books/media expansion from several titles and some mention of their shortcomings rather than this seeming Halo fanboyism advertisement. Shortcomings like the zero in-game explanation of what a Spartan III is and the difference thereof between them and Spartan IIs. It just leaves the gamer with a big hollow. Undecided whether that's just laziness or some kind of wordless manipulation to get the curious to look it up themselves and get into the side media. Maybe an omission to placate tea-bag players who don't give a damn.

Own 5 halo books. Haven't read 2 of them, stopped when I played through Reach. If they care so little about the lore that they'll reboot it at will whenever it strikes their fancy, I don't see why fans like myself should care either.

J03bot:
Fall of Reach was a much better book than I had ever expected before I started reading it.
Slightly unfortunately, it does throw in what seem to be a couple of continuity errors in Reach, but a lot of that seems to be covered by the mystical handwave of 'ONI kept it classified'. Y'know, much like modern day intelligence services.

Being the general space-opera fan that I am, Halo was a great ride. I'd even describe it as epic, in the proper sense of the word, but the internet has entirely diluted the meaning of that word by now...

Actully, most of the canon errors were explained in Halsesly's journal, which came with the limited edition of reach.

Nicolaus99:
Continuity failure. Halo: Reach bore no resemblance to the Fall of Reach book. The game was a total ret-con.

In reality only the games are canon. The authors get access to the Halo story bible and talk to the game writers etc., but at the end of the day what they're writing is fan-fic based on facts, and Bungie weren't obliged to stick to facts established in the novels when they started making Reach.

Kermi:

Nicolaus99:
Continuity failure. Halo: Reach bore no resemblance to the Fall of Reach book. The game was a total ret-con.

In reality only the games are canon. The authors get access to the Halo story bible and talk to the game writers etc., but at the end of the day what they're writing is fan-fic based on facts, and Bungie weren't obliged to stick to facts established in the novels when they started making Reach.

Exactly this. I personally didn't read Fall of Reach and do not intend to. I'm fairly content with the story as presented in the game.

Perhaps the Halo storyline's greatest quality, particularly in book form, is its clear dedication to maintaining an intelligent narrative. Known to some as futurism, many of the social, political and technological claims within the narrative are based on, or explained by, extrapolation of current trends.

Futurism, eh?

Two of my greatest loves, Muse and Halo, combined. Ahhh...

Oh, yeah, the article. It was great, and well written. I should probably read your guys' big articles more often, but I so frequently forget they exist...

Love the article! I think you make excellent points and I hope that some of the other games realize the benefits of creating such a deep environment.

Floppertje:
the main problem I have with the books is that they're just not very well written. I like my books to have beautiful sentences that flow into one another, it makes reading them much easier and more fun. little hickups like a sergeant (Lister? if forgot who exactly) changing gender mid-sentence didn't really help either. but fleshing out the universe more than was possible in the games did make it a fun read.

I will agree that the novel series has not been universally consistent in literary quality. The Flood, in particular, was not very well written. It was clearly a simple conversion of Halo: CE's game narrative into book form. That being said, calling the entire library 'not very well written' is incorrect. Eric Nylund, Greg Bear and Joseph Staten all crafted well-written and compelling stories as did the various authors in Halo: Evolutions. You are certainly entitled to a personal preference on prose style but writing all of them off because of it would be an injustice to the authors.

Nicolaus99:

This article smells like something I'd expect to find in the "Official Xbox Magazine" as a shallow corporate shill. Should have branched out, touched on books/media expansion from several titles and some mention of their shortcomings rather than this seeming Halo fanboyism advertisement.

Apologies if my writing style does not agree with you but I think you are missing the point. I was not writing simply to extol Halo and its peripheral media. I do believe that it is a great example of an extended universe but, in the context of this article, that is all it is: an example. As for not branching out and exploring more examples, that is more of an issue with article length limitations than anything else. The goal is to get readers interested in further exploring the games they love. Whether that includes Halo or not is up to them.

Louzerman102:
I'm very surprised no one has mentioned the Cortana Letters from marathon.bungie.org. You disappoint me so called "fans".

Strictly speaking, the Cortana Letters are not canon. According to Joe Staten, only the few lines that they used in the Halo 3 trailer can, in terms of canon, be sourced to Cortana. The rest is just promotional material. Source: http://halostory.bungie.org/staten083106.html

Kermi:
In reality only the games are canon.

You are almost correct. According to Bungie, there is a hierarchy of canon validity: Games (except Halo Wars)>Novels>Other Media>Promotional Items. If there is a discrepancy between two sources, the one that is higher up on the ladder becomes canon.

Rynwrd:

Kermi:
In reality only the games are canon.

You are almost correct. According to Bungie, there is a hierarchy of canon validity: Games (except Halo Wars)>Novels>Other Media>Promotional Items. If there is a discrepancy between two sources, the one that is higher up on the ladder becomes canon.

In effect, the games are the canon and books are optional - if the books fit in around the games, you're free to accept them as canon. Strictly speaking what Bungie has said in the past is that the old automatically retcons the new. Even if books were on the same level as the games, the fall of Reach as it occurred in the game Halo: Reach overrules the books simply by virtue of being newer.

Technically any new games by 343 are canon too, which is probably why they're going with a new post-Halo 3 Master Chief trilogy. Since there's no lore that currently addresses what happens to the Chief and Cortana after the second destrion of the Delta Halo in Halo 3, they won't be interfering with any current canon - though many people are speculating that the planet is Onyx and we'll find out what happened to the characters from the Ghosts of Onyx novel. Not having read any of the novels, I don't know who those people are.

Rynwrd:

Louzerman102:
I'm very surprised no one has mentioned the Cortana Letters from marathon.bungie.org. You disappoint me so called "fans".

Strictly speaking, the Cortana Letters are not canon. According to Joe Staten, only the few lines that they used in the Halo 3 trailer can, in terms of canon, be sourced to Cortana. The rest is just promotional material. Source: http://halostory.bungie.org/staten083106.html

Very true. I just believed that they deserved mentioning because of how early they are in the development of the halo story. The letters, as well as the referenced poetry, are also good reads.

To this day they dwell
In a lonely dell
Nor fear the wolvish howl,
Nor the lions growl.

Nothing about the Halo universe is unique or compelling. Never understood what people see in it.

Snowy Rainbow:
Nothing about the Halo universe is unique or compelling. Never understood what people see in it.

You forgot to add "in my opinion" at the end of your sentence. Because obviously, if people find something interesting in it and its garnered a large fanbase, there is something compelling about it that you're not seeing.

SteelStallion:

Snowy Rainbow:
Nothing about the Halo universe is unique or compelling. Never understood what people see in it.

You forgot to add "in my opinion" at the end of your sentence. Because obviously, if people find something interesting in it and its garnered a large fanbase, there is something compelling about it that you're not seeing.

It's a forum and the topic is a purely subjective. That my comment is opinion is obvious and implied. In fact, one cannot offer an objective 'fact' in this discussion. Your statement is as relevant as adding "fish breath in water" after an in-depth summary of a species of fish.

Stating the obvious - it's bad.

P.S: you forgot to add "in my opinion" at the end of your sentence.

Snowy Rainbow:

SteelStallion:

Snowy Rainbow:
Nothing about the Halo universe is unique or compelling. Never understood what people see in it.

You forgot to add "in my opinion" at the end of your sentence. Because obviously, if people find something interesting in it and its garnered a large fanbase, there is something compelling about it that you're not seeing.

It's a forum and the topic is a purely subjective. That my comment is opinion is obvious and implied. In fact, one cannot offer an objective 'fact' in this discussion. Your statement is as relevant as adding "fish breath in water" after an in-depth summary of a species of fish.

Stating the obvious - it's bad.

P.S: you forgot to add "in my opinion" at the end of your sentence.

But what you said was a straight statement, 'Nothing about the Halo universe is unique or compelling'. If you'd ended that sentence with 'to me', then that would have been an opinion. Instead you chose to phrase it as a total and all encompassing statement that implies that while it may be your opinion, your opinion is obviously better. Also he doesn't have to add 'in my opinion' to the end of his post because it was a logical argument rather than him just giving his view on a subject.

And you don't find anything compelling about the idea that the main protagonist of the series is actually the indoctrinated victim of his superiors? That thanks to the military he so diligently serves he has no understanding of normal social interaction and the closest thing he has to a mother figure is the women who abducted him at the age of six?

Geo Da Sponge:
-

Consider this statement:

Apples are very yummy, especially the crunchy ones.

Now this one:

Cake is much more delicious than pie.

And finally this one:

Rainbow Six: Vegas had way more fun multiplayer than Call of Duty!

Now, tell me, are those statements implying a fact? Or is it someone offering their opinions?

Ding, ding, ding! It is obviously subjective and therefor opinion!

Snowy Rainbow:
Nothing about the Halo universe is unique or compelling. Never understood what people see in it.

Out of curiosity, is there anything specific about the Halo universe that turns you off or makes you disinterested?

Snowy Rainbow:

Geo Da Sponge:
-

Consider this statement:

Apples are very yummy, especially the crunchy ones.

Now this one:

Cake is much more delicious than pie.

And finally this one:

Rainbow Six: Vegas had way more fun multiplayer than Call of Duty!

Now, tell me, are those statements implying a fact? Or is it someone offering their opinions?

Ding, ding, ding! It is obviously subjective and therefor opinion!

Oh for goodness sake...

Those are all opinions, but saying there is nothing unique about the Halo universe is quite clearly a blanket statement that is very easy to prove false. The amount of expanded information there is on the Covenant for exmaple; Lekgolo poetry, Unggoy birth control, the evolution of the position of Arbiter, military discrimination against the Jiralhanae by the Sangheili, the unusual mercernary role of the Kig-Yar and so on.

Look, it's all very well you prancing about laughing about how you can talk whatever bollocks you want because it's your opinion, but sooner or later you're actually going to have to back them up or explain them, otherwise you'll just look ignorant. But no, you'd much rather dance around the actual issue that's meant to be debated here in favour of some rambling nonsense about how unassailable your position is because it's your opinion. Now perhaps it was foolish of me to try to argue with you over that subject, so I'm just going to present a nice simple question for you instead; can you actually expand and explain your opinion on the subject, or would you rather not have to think?

Rynwrd:

Snowy Rainbow:
Nothing about the Halo universe is unique or compelling. Never understood what people see in it.

Out of curiosity, is there anything specific about the Halo universe that turns you off or makes you disinterested?

Nothing is really a turn off ; It's all just very uninspired and nothing about it grabs me. It's all well enough developed I suppose, but none of it feels unique. It isn't offering anything worth looking into or that can't be gotten elsewhere and better. There are specifics that are certainly unique to the Haloverse (that was terrible - I'm sorry) but when I look at the world on a whole I just shrug. Which is odd, because I grew up on sci-fi with my dad, watching SG1 and Star Trek, and one of my favourtie games is not completely unlike Halo (that being Mass Effect, with my favourite shooter being Rainbow Six: Vegas). The games themselves aren't what I'd call bad. Mediocre, yes. Not bad. Halo 3 is actually the arena to the most fun I've ever had in co-op; a friend and I played through the entire campaign from start to end on legendary. Taken on its merit alone (casting aside the fun my friend and I generated outside of the actual mechanics and story of the title) it was just another shooter. Nothing to say and nothing to contribute. The first two felt the same; though slightly more fresh, they were no more engaging to me.

I suppose "meh" is the right word.

I've read Fall of Reach, The Flood, First Strike, Ghosts of Onyx, and the Cole Protocol and I enjoyed every one of them. They add so much more depth to the story which you couldn't really get across through the games. Honestly, I just don't get the trolls who can utterly denounce Halo without having read the books, although I will admit that I'm a poor judge on this matter, since I'm biased myself.

Geo Da Sponge:
Can you actually expand and explain your opinion on the subject, or would you rather not have to think?

If you'd simply asked politely for me to further expand my opinion, I would have.

See my above post.

Snowy Rainbow:

Rynwrd:

Snowy Rainbow:
Nothing about the Halo universe is unique or compelling. Never understood what people see in it.

Out of curiosity, is there anything specific about the Halo universe that turns you off or makes you disinterested?

Nothing is really a turn off ; It's all just very uninspired and nothing about it grabs me. It's all well enough developed I suppose, but none of it feels unique. It isn't offering anything worth looking into or that can't be gotten elsewhere and better. There are specifics that are certainly unique to the Haloverse (that was terrible - I'm sorry) but when I look at the world on a whole I just shrug. Which is odd, because I grew up on sci-fi with my dad, watching SG1 and Star Trek, and one of my favourtie games is not completely unlike Halo (that being Mass Effect, with my favourite shooter being Rainbow Six: Vegas). The games themselves aren't what I'd call bad. Mediocre, yes. Not bad. Halo 3 is actually the arena to the most fun I've ever had in co-op; a friend and I played through the entire campaign from start to end on legendary. Taken on its merit alone (casting aside the fun my friend and I generated outside of the actual mechanics and story of the title) it was just another shooter. Nothing to say and nothing to contribute. The first two felt the same; though slightly more fresh, they were no more engaging to me.

I suppose "meh" is the right word.

Well apparently you have now actually answered my question and proven you've thought about the subject more than I gave you credit for. How infuriating.

I like the way Halo feels old, even though it's in the future. It reminds me a lot of Star Wars, where swordfighting was a legitimate skill in interplanetary warfare. However, I don't know if everyone who expands the universe really appreciates that. The only thing that everyone seems to agree on is that the Covenant is damn near impossible to kill, which I have never agreed with. I like to think of the Human-Covenant war as something like the American Civil War, where the bigger army just keeps on pushing until the smaller army is overrun.

I am disspointed by the lack of intrest in this article.

Many people don't realize just how much story halo has to it.

Kermi:

Nicolaus99:
Continuity failure. Halo: Reach bore no resemblance to the Fall of Reach book. The game was a total ret-con.

In reality only the games are canon. The authors get access to the Halo story bible and talk to the game writers etc., but at the end of the day what they're writing is fan-fic based on facts, and Bungie weren't obliged to stick to facts established in the novels when they started making Reach.

Wrong.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

It has always, ALWAYS, been stated that the books and the games are both 100% canon. There have been some retcons, there is no doubting that, but only some of the animes, the book based off the first game (The Flood) and a short story present in the Evolutions collection are considered "secondary canon".

Want proof? The Fall of Reach came out sixteen days before the original Halo game.

Also, to the writer of the article... there are seven books, a short story collection that can be considered an 8th book, and five more books on the way. Just sayin'. :P

Also, a beautifully written article. I've been trying to say this for years, and although I've gotten my friends to see it (and turned some into major fans, in fact) people on the internet are much less willing to give things a try even when presented evidence.

At least some people, though:

Snowy Rainbow:

Rynwrd:

Snowy Rainbow:
Nothing about the Halo universe is unique or compelling. Never understood what people see in it.

Out of curiosity, is there anything specific about the Halo universe that turns you off or makes you disinterested?

Nothing is really a turn off ; It's all just very uninspired and nothing about it grabs me. It's all well enough developed I suppose, but none of it feels unique. It isn't offering anything worth looking into or that can't be gotten elsewhere and better. There are specifics that are certainly unique to the Haloverse (that was terrible - I'm sorry) but when I look at the world on a whole I just shrug. Which is odd, because I grew up on sci-fi with my dad, watching SG1 and Star Trek, and one of my favourtie games is not completely unlike Halo (that being Mass Effect, with my favourite shooter being Rainbow Six: Vegas). The games themselves aren't what I'd call bad. Mediocre, yes. Not bad. Halo 3 is actually the arena to the most fun I've ever had in co-op; a friend and I played through the entire campaign from start to end on legendary. Taken on its merit alone (casting aside the fun my friend and I generated outside of the actual mechanics and story of the title) it was just another shooter. Nothing to say and nothing to contribute. The first two felt the same; though slightly more fresh, they were no more engaging to me.

I suppose "meh" is the right word.

present good, solid arguments, that are summed up by effectively saying "it doesn't do it for me" rather than outright saying "no lawlz halo suxorz and has no story, fag".

People like you, Snowy, have my respect and gratitude. If only we could all be so well spoken, thought out, and civil XD

Nicolaus99:
Continuity failure. Halo: Reach bore no resemblance to the Fall of Reach book. The game was a total ret-con.

This article smells like something I'd expect to find in the "Official Xbox Magazine" as a shallow corporate shill. Should have branched out, touched on books/media expansion from several titles and some mention of their shortcomings rather than this seeming Halo fanboyism advertisement. Shortcomings like the zero in-game explanation of what a Spartan III is and the difference thereof between them and Spartan IIs. It just leaves the gamer with a big hollow. Undecided whether that's just laziness or some kind of wordless manipulation to get the curious to look it up themselves and get into the side media. Maybe an omission to placate tea-bag players who don't give a damn.

Own 5 halo books. Haven't read 2 of them, stopped when I played through Reach. If they care so little about the lore that they'll reboot it at will whenever it strikes their fancy, I don't see why fans like myself should care either.

Oh no! How dare a journalist have the gall to like something? And without feeling the need to bash on any potential shortcomings just for the sake of it rather then it being necessary to what the article was trying to say? He must be a FANBOY!

Also, Halo: Reach wasn't a total ret-con. It told a story of a different group of Spartans with a connected but different mission at a different point in the battle, but that doesn't mean the stuff in the book didn't happen. Apart from a few minor details that seem not to match but were not very important anyway (continuity for long running sci-fi series' are used to much bigger changes than these) there were no major clashes.

Theron Julius:
I've read Fall of Reach, The Flood, First Strike, Ghosts of Onyx, and the Cole Protocol and I enjoyed every one of them. They add so much more depth to the story which you couldn't really get across through the games. Honestly, I just don't get the trolls who can utterly denounce Halo without having read the books, although I will admit that I'm a poor judge on this matter, since I'm biased myself.

Jabberwock xeno:
I am disspointed by the lack of intrest in this article.

Many people don't realize just how much story halo has to it.

In fairness, most people don't care.

It's like if I told you that Star Wars Episode III is much better if you read Labyrinth of Evil or how the Dark Horse comics really expanded the prequel universe. While that's true, most people don't really take that into account when they discuss the prequel trilogy. In all honesty, they shouldn't have to. If Lucasarts/Bungie is unable to make the primary canon source interesting, then stating that the secondary material expands the universe is not a valid defense. It doesn't make someone a troll if they don't read/watch/play every piece of a game universe before they denounce it.

I watch Waypoint and I've played the games (of which the side games are actually more interesting than the trilogy) but that's about it. If someone started talking about Lekgolo poetry, my attention span would check out probably faster than if I talked to either of you about Quinlan Vos. That doesn't make people trolls. It just acknowledges that different people have differing bandwidth for various fictional universes.

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