312: A Bigger Universe

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thepyrethatburns:

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.

Your pretty much right on here. The extra material does certainly help flesh out and enrich the primary experience whether it be film or game but you shouldn't have to go to a book or a comic or a piece of fan theory for something to be explained that happened in the film or game. They need to stand on their own two feet and present their material in a concise and understandable manner and not leave any major elements of plot, story, character etc for these secondary sources to explain.

Now personally, I believe the main three Halo games don't fall into this trap; you certainly don't have to read the books or comics to understand what's going on so long as you follow the story closely. That stuff only gives you a greater insight, it only enhances your experience not defines it.

Reach on the other hand assumes a lot about the person playing it, and it's less about information from the books and comics than information from previous games which is the problem. It assumes that they know what the covenant are, that they appreciate why their fighting them and what ultimately happens to the planet Reach. Such assumptions are fine for the opening of any story; it's a common device to throw your reader, viewer or player right into the action and explain things from there. However, in Reach's case, these assumptions carry on throughout the entire game and if I'd never played a halo game before never mind read all the extra material, my understanding of the events around me would be limited to a basic "we human ,we fight evil aliens, we must save planet".

With the trilogy and even with ODST such knowledge is presupposed because it's part of a series: if you play Halo 2 and are confused about what's going on, then it's probably because you haven't played the first game. The reason such an explanation cannot be applied to Reach is because it isn't part of a over-arching storyline, it's a standalone story, and if your a new player to the Halo franchise things really ought to be explained a little more. Now of course, even the games within the trilogy need to, as I said earlier, stand alone on their own two feet, but if something isn't clear within the storyline it's probably more likely due to a lack of knowledge of previous installments than a failing in the story-tellers ability to convey said knowledge in the current game. It's like jumping into 'The Empire Strikes Back' without having seen 'A New Hope', sure it will still be one helluva ride, but the characters, universe and story all had their introduction in the first movie and blaming the second film for not adequately informing the audience about all that information is unfair.

There is of course a tipping point where one can explain things too much and too clumsily at that. Halo can be a bit guilty of just laying things out in speeches of exposition but thankfully it leaves just enough elements rooted in mystery without de-stabalising the story. The Forerunners are a good example of this- their form, their mission, their fate are all left in a rather vague ambiguity and another gaming franchise, Half-life, also effectively does this with the enigmatic G-man. Some would criticise such elements as being lazily or poorly written if their not defined enough and such people generally like things to be put in a little box and nicely wrapped in a red bow. What they don't realise or fail to accept, is that not everything can be explained, if it could, we wouldn't have the word inexplicable now would we. Sometimes things are ambiguous and mysterious and often we have to create our own meanings or make our own judgments on things, creating, in the case of fiction, another form of engagement and a very important one. For whilst we not only fear the unknown, we also find it tantalisingly irresistible to explore.

Such is why the Forerunners, G-man and even more so in the case of Star Wars, The Force, are all fascinating if not enthralling because they each require us as individuals, and as a community, if we so choose to become a part of one, to scrutinise, analyse and perhaps even define (though only in loose, rather indeterminate terms). Hence this is the purpose that extra materials serve: to allow those interested enough in the universe to explore it further and give them even more to chew on.

Well I seem to have got a bit off topic there but I feel you get my point, whatever it was.

NinjaDeathSlap:

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.

While video game tie-in books aren't quite legion, they are a long ways from bird teeth either. Space restrictions aside, surely the irony of an article about extended universe media and titled "A Bigger Universe" but mentioning only Halo, is not lost on the reader.

Mind you, I'm no Halo-hater. 5 books, remember? As much a Halo lore fanboy as anyone. And Reach: The Chief? Orbital space dock. The orbital MAC gun battle? Not even mentioned. The big, doomed Spartan deployment to defend surface MAC power plants? Zip. - Though they did do a lil' homage to that in one of the multi game modes. The list goes on (there's no doubt whole articles/wikis on the matter) but the ret-con or non-canon status of the Bigger Universe (lol) makes it irrelevant to "the Halo story" which is pretty tragic comedy for, you know, a Halo story.

Someone on the Escapist agrees that Halo has lots of backstory?
Mind = Blown.

I regret pressing the red button, and recognising people via avatars rather than names XD

I really cannot agree more with your feelings here Ryan. When I was a kid, I used to be a fan of this one NES game called "Blaster Master" by Sunsoft. At first glance the game seemed to be nothing more than a rather difficult rip-off of Metroid, save for technology advanced super tan of course. It was until after I read the book of the same name that I deeply fell in love with game and it's crazy universe:
http://www.amazon.com/Blaster-Master-Worlds-Power-Nine/dp/059043778X

It's unfortunate that it hasn't received a worthy sequel since its debut on the NES, but man has the feeling of wonder stayed with me ever since then. Hell, it's half the reason why I looked into the Halo books in the first place! My point here is that if one book can leave a lasting memory for a little kid, its anyone's guess what the Halo book series will do for the franchise in the upcoming years. Which is a future I am very much looking forward too.

YodaUnleashed:

thepyrethatburns:

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.

Your pretty much right on here. The extra material does certainly help flesh out and enrich the primary experience whether it be film or game but you shouldn't have to go to a book or a comic or a piece of fan theory for something to be explained that happened in the film or game. They need to stand on their own two feet and present their material in a concise and understandable manner and not leave any major elements of plot, story, character etc for these secondary sources to explain.

Now personally, I believe the main three Halo games don't fall into this trap; you certainly don't have to read the books or comics to understand what's going on so long as you follow the story closely. That stuff only gives you a greater insight, it only enhances your experience not defines it.

Reach on the other hand assumes a lot about the person playing it, and it's less about information from the books and comics than information from previous games which is the problem. It assumes that they know what the covenant are, that they appreciate why their fighting them and what ultimately happens to the planet Reach. Such assumptions are fine for the opening of any story; it's a common device to throw your reader, viewer or player right into the action and explain things from there. However, in Reach's case, these assumptions carry on throughout the entire game and if I'd never played a halo game before never mind read all the extra material, my understanding of the events around me would be limited to a basic "we human ,we fight evil aliens, we must save planet".

With the trilogy and even with ODST such knowledge is presupposed because it's part of a series: if you play Halo 2 and are confused about what's going on, then it's probably because you haven't played the first game. The reason such an explanation cannot be applied to Reach is because it isn't part of a over-arching storyline, it's a standalone story, and if your a new player to the Halo franchise things really ought to be explained a little more. Now of course, even the games within the trilogy need to, as I said earlier, stand alone on their own two feet, but if something isn't clear within the storyline it's probably more likely due to a lack of knowledge of previous installments than a failing in the story-tellers ability to convey said knowledge in the current game. It's like jumping into 'The Empire Strikes Back' without having seen 'A New Hope', sure it will still be one helluva ride, but the characters, universe and story all had their introduction in the first movie and blaming the second film for not adequately informing the audience about all that information is unfair.

There is of course a tipping point where one can explain things too much and too clumsily at that. Halo can be a bit guilty of just laying things out in speeches of exposition but thankfully it leaves just enough elements rooted in mystery without de-stabalising the story. The Forerunners are a good example of this- their form, their mission, their fate are all left in a rather vague ambiguity and another gaming franchise, Half-life, also effectively does this with the enigmatic G-man. Some would criticise such elements as being lazily or poorly written if their not defined enough and such people generally like things to be put in a little box and nicely wrapped in a red bow. What they don't realise or fail to accept, is that not everything can be explained, if it could, we wouldn't have the word inexplicable now would we. Sometimes things are ambiguous and mysterious and often we have to create our own meanings or make our own judgments on things, creating, in the case of fiction, another form of engagement and a very important one. For whilst we not only fear the unknown, we also find it tantalisingly irresistible to explore.

Such is why the Forerunners, G-man and even more so in the case of Star Wars, The Force, are all fascinating if not enthralling because they each require us as individuals, and as a community, if we so choose to become a part of one, to scrutinise, analyse and perhaps even define (though only in loose, rather indeterminate terms). Hence this is the purpose that extra materials serve: to allow those interested enough in the universe to explore it further and give them even more to chew on.

Well I seem to have got a bit off topic there but I feel you get my point, whatever it was.

Oddly, I feel the opposite:

The Halo games are just a small snapshot the the universe, and are actually the least insightful parts of the series.

I view Halo as a canon universe, which the games are just a part of.

You can't appreciate the universe unless you know the context of all the other pieces.

imnotparanoid:
Someone on the Escapist agrees that Halo has lots of backstory?
Mind = Blown.

I regret pressing the red button, and recognising people via avatars rather than names XD

We are more common than we appear to be, try the Halo fan group that i'm apart of, or just look for halo threads, you'll find us.

--------------------------------------------------------

Anyways, i'm dissucisng this in more detail in my ask a Halo fanboy thread, but I won't link it due to fear of being reprimanded by a mod for advertising, which is not my intention.

I'm a pretty big Halo fan and Bungie has proven themselves to be the developers that go the extra mile for me to call them the best developer out there IMO. It does frustrate me from time to time how a lot of people have already made up their mind whether it was based of Yahtzee or some other source and bash on a game and developer who don't deserve it at all.

I've always considered the Halo universe as one of the best, richest universes out there while the games only do a good job of it. Halo 3 was a tad too predictable in wrapping up the series and while Halo Reach was also pretty good... The Fall of Reach was better IMO.

The biggest problem with the games that gives them the stigma of being the one dimensional story is not focusing on the Covenant as much as they did with Halo 2. I mean the humans are still interesting in the books with the Insurrectionists vs the UNSC thing they have going on along with the UNSC's internal strife. But they have the richest part of the Halo universe on the opposing side. A unified Covenant made up of bunches of entire different species. The politics and differing ideologies of entire alien races bumping against each other in the name of a false religion. That's interesting stuff like there and people have proven that they have the ability to tell it well.

ZeroMachine:

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.

Sorry, but how does that prove anything? Eric Nylund wrote that book after consulting with Bungie. He was given access to Bungie's official story bible and consulted with the game writers - he was given access to this material because until the first game came out only bungie knew anything about the Halo universe.
The book was written alongside the game - but Microsoft has always had control of franchise merchandising and branding. No one at Bungie was required to sign off on a novel as being canonical and apart from Bungie employees "bearing in mind" some details from the novels purely as a courtesy when they were in the process of making Halo 2, I don't recall ever reading anything that said the books are 100% canon. They're basically not not canon. Bungie doesn't need them to support their universe and they've been happy to disregard them.

Of course now Microsoft owns Halo and has handed it to 343, so what Bungie considers canon is no longer relevant.

Funnily enough the feeling I have is that you can probably pin down the moment I fell out of love with Halo(still LIKE te series, don't get me wrong but I used to be an avid fan of the games)to the point, about thirty pages in, when I realised allowing a mate to convince me that reading the Halo novels was a good idea had been a grave error on my part. I found the book(FoR) awful from both a literary and Sci-fi standpoint and though there was more detail there not half as engrossing as the story in the games(at the time just Halo:CE and H2)seems to be. To me the games just make the story seem a bit more unique than the novels which, being honest, rad ike any number of other Sci-Fi puiulp that never gets near the attention that these do piggybacking on the games success. Without te games these books wouldn't be looked at twice and as a few of the writers are capable of better I even suspect they see the gig as a pretty lazy, shooting fish in a barrel kind of work placement.

I know a lot of people will hate me for saying it and totally disagree but to me this just isn't great literature even for it's genre and it FEELS like a cash in way more than any of the games ever could-even ODST which should have stayed an expansion or at least stayed at expansion prices for the value it held. Si, while there's extra info in there I just don;'t think it's either very well done OR offers a great deal to gamers who didn't bother with it. I certainly felt better about Halo in general before I read FoR and have subsequently tried a couple times more to see if I'd been hasty but on these occasions I just felt more sure the writer(s) wasn't really trying as they would with their OWN universes.

FoR didn't make the games any LESS fun or any less important but the realisation, to me, of there being these books(and comics and so on) out there did sully my love for the series purely because I felt something a little closer to perfect had been touched by a pretty cynical hand. Seems odd to think of a book(or series of them) as the thing used TO cash in but that's exactly the feeling I had about the whole thing-I still feel that neither we, the game fans, nor the games themselves jhave got anything LIKE the novels we deserve out of this.

Cheap and hasty movies(and especially games ABOUT movies/based on movies and vice versa)and/or graphic novels I can imagine more readily and wasa little shocked that we seemed to be getting cheap, cash in novels to fleece gamers who deserved better. It seems odd but that's how they make me feel. I pray it's just my cynical mind but the whole thing smacked of a lack of effort and care to me-beyond getting SOMETHING out to fans to make money. Thankfully, the games have always been amazingly good quality in and of themselves.

A good article which hopefully enlightens others. Personally, I loved the books :)

The novels are really good imo. They add so much to the storyline. In the games the main focus is basically the multiplayer and story has been left to the background, which is a shame. Halo story is great sci-fi but the games kinda ruin it. Especially Halo: Reach which wasn't anything like The Fall of the Reach.

I have to say, I totally disagree with the opening paragraphs describing the Master Chief ark as 'epic space oper'. I hated the first three games, each time they'd just start to suck me in then somethind stupid would happen (usually the flood arriving and that same bloody corridor being repeated five million times) to ruin the experience for me.

Master Chief was, due to practicalities, a faceless, emotionless, dead character. This isn't so much a problem in shooters because everyones like that but the problem comes in if everyone around the character keeps talking and acting like they're the greatest thing ever. It just rings hollow, at least to me.

Now, conversely I loved ODST, Halo Wars and, to a slightly lesser extent, Reach.

Again in the two shooters you have faceless, emotionless characters but in ODST this is ok because they don't actually have anyone to interact with. You're in a cold, silent city where the only living things want to kill you. Silence is your friend. This is also broken up by stretches where the characters who do have personalities are controlled by you and you can see them interact while a story plays out between them. The ability/necessity to sneak around and ambush people in the overworld of New Mombassa was also pretty fun and put me in mind of a fragile human trooper against the enemies that had butchered so many marines in 1-3.

Reach fails a bit here because you have emotionless man surrounded by more interesting people syndrome again (patent pending) but at least this time they don't build you up too much as the one great hope (until the end) and you actually get whooped quite alot in the early game. It's a bit more interesting and the characters feel more fleshed out.

Halo Wars I just loved the story in. It wasn't excactly earth-shattering but you got a real sense of a galaxy-spanning war and some of the locations were pretty nifty and of all the things you can call the characters 'emotionless' isn't one of them. Even if they have strange Molyneaux-like emotions local only to themselves.

of all the series to explore the notion of an expanded universe with.... was the silmarillion too obvious? i know star wars has been done to death, but...halo? really?! the expanded universe in halo is nothing more than merchandising that happened to be delegated to some decent writers. ive read the 3 main books, and they tell pretty much an entirely different story entirely better than the games... and none of that matters, because the average halo player barely notices that halo has single player, and those that care about the story already know about the expanded lore...

why not gears of war? rumor has it there is an actual explanation for the shit that goes on in single player, id be interested in the lore for that series.

Jabberwock xeno:
snip

Yeah but most the time they get filled with haters hating anyway :P

I absolutely love the backstory for halo, I own most of the books (exept one or two) and love reading about the lore. Something about it is so immersive a wondrous.

You know I was never a big fan of Halo, but this is turning into an really interesting universe. A first person shooter with lore? Yes please!

Jabberwock xeno:

YodaUnleashed:

thepyrethatburns:

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.

Your pretty much right on here. The extra material does certainly help flesh out and enrich the primary experience whether it be film or game but you shouldn't have to go to a book or a comic or a piece of fan theory for something to be explained that happened in the film or game. They need to stand on their own two feet and present their material in a concise and understandable manner and not leave any major elements of plot, story, character etc for these secondary sources to explain.

Now personally, I believe the main three Halo games don't fall into this trap; you certainly don't have to read the books or comics to understand what's going on so long as you follow the story closely. That stuff only gives you a greater insight, it only enhances your experience not defines it.

Reach on the other hand assumes a lot about the person playing it, and it's less about information from the books and comics than information from previous games which is the problem. It assumes that they know what the covenant are, that they appreciate why their fighting them and what ultimately happens to the planet Reach. Such assumptions are fine for the opening of any story; it's a common device to throw your reader, viewer or player right into the action and explain things from there. However, in Reach's case, these assumptions carry on throughout the entire game and if I'd never played a halo game before never mind read all the extra material, my understanding of the events around me would be limited to a basic "we human ,we fight evil aliens, we must save planet".

With the trilogy and even with ODST such knowledge is presupposed because it's part of a series: if you play Halo 2 and are confused about what's going on, then it's probably because you haven't played the first game. The reason such an explanation cannot be applied to Reach is because it isn't part of a over-arching storyline, it's a standalone story, and if your a new player to the Halo franchise things really ought to be explained a little more. Now of course, even the games within the trilogy need to, as I said earlier, stand alone on their own two feet, but if something isn't clear within the storyline it's probably more likely due to a lack of knowledge of previous installments than a failing in the story-tellers ability to convey said knowledge in the current game. It's like jumping into 'The Empire Strikes Back' without having seen 'A New Hope', sure it will still be one helluva ride, but the characters, universe and story all had their introduction in the first movie and blaming the second film for not adequately informing the audience about all that information is unfair.

There is of course a tipping point where one can explain things too much and too clumsily at that. Halo can be a bit guilty of just laying things out in speeches of exposition but thankfully it leaves just enough elements rooted in mystery without de-stabalising the story. The Forerunners are a good example of this- their form, their mission, their fate are all left in a rather vague ambiguity and another gaming franchise, Half-life, also effectively does this with the enigmatic G-man. Some would criticise such elements as being lazily or poorly written if their not defined enough and such people generally like things to be put in a little box and nicely wrapped in a red bow. What they don't realise or fail to accept, is that not everything can be explained, if it could, we wouldn't have the word inexplicable now would we. Sometimes things are ambiguous and mysterious and often we have to create our own meanings or make our own judgments on things, creating, in the case of fiction, another form of engagement and a very important one. For whilst we not only fear the unknown, we also find it tantalisingly irresistible to explore.

Such is why the Forerunners, G-man and even more so in the case of Star Wars, The Force, are all fascinating if not enthralling because they each require us as individuals, and as a community, if we so choose to become a part of one, to scrutinise, analyse and perhaps even define (though only in loose, rather indeterminate terms). Hence this is the purpose that extra materials serve: to allow those interested enough in the universe to explore it further and give them even more to chew on.

Well I seem to have got a bit off topic there but I feel you get my point, whatever it was.

Oddly, I feel the opposite:

The Halo games are just a small snapshot the the universe, and are actually the least insightful parts of the series.

I view Halo as a canon universe, which the games are just a part of.

You can't appreciate the universe unless you know the context of all the other pieces.

imnotparanoid:
Someone on the Escapist agrees that Halo has lots of backstory?
Mind = Blown.

I regret pressing the red button, and recognising people via avatars rather than names XD

We are more common than we appear to be, try the Halo fan group that i'm apart of, or just look for halo threads, you'll find us.

--------------------------------------------------------

Anyways, i'm dissucisng this in more detail in my ask a Halo fanboy thread, but I won't link it due to fear of being reprimanded by a mod for advertising, which is not my intention.

I think you've missed my point. I never said the Halo games are necessarily the most in-depth, layered insights into the overall universe, that's not what I was arguing about. My point was that a game designer or a movie director can't leave vital information out about the story, plot, characters, world etc within their respective games and films and simply rely on extra material like the books and comics etc to fill in the gaps. For example, arguing that reading so and so book makes watching Star Wars Episode III better depends on how it is bettering the film. If it's just, as I said earlier, providing additional information, background or context to certain events that merely enhances the experience and doesn't define it then it's all well and good. However if it provides the reader with information that seriously adds to certain elements in the films, information that should have been provided to the viewer, then it's a failure of the directors ability to make something clear to an audience.

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.

I absolutely despise the people who say "lolz, Halo haz a ghey story!!!" Because insulting the narrative of a game's main campaign is just a go-to argument these days. For instance, I loved CoD: Black Ops' campaign.

With Halo, people don't even bother to fact check their argument. Then you get the people who say "well I disagree. I still think Halo's universe is shit because they're making me read the books." That isn't a valid reason. Don't insult the story of a thing just because you don't feel like exploring it. It's not like these things are just tacked on anyway, Halo was originally designed with its fiction meant to be expanded on. There are frequent remarks and things in-game that hint to something bigger. The forerunner logs you find in Halo 3, the fact that straight away in CE, people are talking about having escaped from Reach. Halo has many things, but a crude story is certainly not one of them. Personally, I thought ODST was very underrated. It had a great free-roam aspect, and possibly the best individual story in all the games.

I agree that I do love the expanded Halo universe (and in it, especially 'Halo: Cryptum'...So many answers about the Forerunners 8D) though I found the differences between TFOR, H:FS and Halo:Reach pretty unsettling (Where in the world is Dr. Halsey???)

YodaUnleashed:

Jabberwock xeno:

YodaUnleashed:

Your pretty much right on here. The extra material does certainly help flesh out and enrich the primary experience whether it be film or game but you shouldn't have to go to a book or a comic or a piece of fan theory for something to be explained that happened in the film or game. They need to stand on their own two feet and present their material in a concise and understandable manner and not leave any major elements of plot, story, character etc for these secondary sources to explain.

Now personally, I believe the main three Halo games don't fall into this trap; you certainly don't have to read the books or comics to understand what's going on so long as you follow the story closely. That stuff only gives you a greater insight, it only enhances your experience not defines it.

Reach on the other hand assumes a lot about the person playing it, and it's less about information from the books and comics than information from previous games which is the problem. It assumes that they know what the covenant are, that they appreciate why their fighting them and what ultimately happens to the planet Reach. Such assumptions are fine for the opening of any story; it's a common device to throw your reader, viewer or player right into the action and explain things from there. However, in Reach's case, these assumptions carry on throughout the entire game and if I'd never played a halo game before never mind read all the extra material, my understanding of the events around me would be limited to a basic "we human ,we fight evil aliens, we must save planet".

With the trilogy and even with ODST such knowledge is presupposed because it's part of a series: if you play Halo 2 and are confused about what's going on, then it's probably because you haven't played the first game. The reason such an explanation cannot be applied to Reach is because it isn't part of a over-arching storyline, it's a standalone story, and if your a new player to the Halo franchise things really ought to be explained a little more. Now of course, even the games within the trilogy need to, as I said earlier, stand alone on their own two feet, but if something isn't clear within the storyline it's probably more likely due to a lack of knowledge of previous installments than a failing in the story-tellers ability to convey said knowledge in the current game. It's like jumping into 'The Empire Strikes Back' without having seen 'A New Hope', sure it will still be one helluva ride, but the characters, universe and story all had their introduction in the first movie and blaming the second film for not adequately informing the audience about all that information is unfair.

There is of course a tipping point where one can explain things too much and too clumsily at that. Halo can be a bit guilty of just laying things out in speeches of exposition but thankfully it leaves just enough elements rooted in mystery without de-stabalising the story. The Forerunners are a good example of this- their form, their mission, their fate are all left in a rather vague ambiguity and another gaming franchise, Half-life, also effectively does this with the enigmatic G-man. Some would criticise such elements as being lazily or poorly written if their not defined enough and such people generally like things to be put in a little box and nicely wrapped in a red bow. What they don't realise or fail to accept, is that not everything can be explained, if it could, we wouldn't have the word inexplicable now would we. Sometimes things are ambiguous and mysterious and often we have to create our own meanings or make our own judgments on things, creating, in the case of fiction, another form of engagement and a very important one. For whilst we not only fear the unknown, we also find it tantalisingly irresistible to explore.

Such is why the Forerunners, G-man and even more so in the case of Star Wars, The Force, are all fascinating if not enthralling because they each require us as individuals, and as a community, if we so choose to become a part of one, to scrutinise, analyse and perhaps even define (though only in loose, rather indeterminate terms). Hence this is the purpose that extra materials serve: to allow those interested enough in the universe to explore it further and give them even more to chew on.

Well I seem to have got a bit off topic there but I feel you get my point, whatever it was.

Oddly, I feel the opposite:

The Halo games are just a small snapshot the the universe, and are actually the least insightful parts of the series.

I view Halo as a canon universe, which the games are just a part of.

You can't appreciate the universe unless you know the context of all the other pieces.

imnotparanoid:
Someone on the Escapist agrees that Halo has lots of backstory?
Mind = Blown.

I regret pressing the red button, and recognising people via avatars rather than names XD

We are more common than we appear to be, try the Halo fan group that i'm apart of, or just look for halo threads, you'll find us.

--------------------------------------------------------

Anyways, i'm dissucisng this in more detail in my ask a Halo fanboy thread, but I won't link it due to fear of being reprimanded by a mod for advertising, which is not my intention.

I think you've missed my point. I never said the Halo games are necessarily the most in-depth, layered insights into the overall universe, that's not what I was arguing about. My point was that a game designer or a movie director can't leave vital information out about the story, plot, characters, world etc within their respective games and films and simply rely on extra material like the books and comics etc to fill in the gaps. For example, arguing that reading so and so book makes watching Star Wars Episode III better depends on how it is bettering the film. If it's just, as I said earlier, providing additional information, background or context to certain events that merely enhances the experience and doesn't define it then it's all well and good. However if it provides the reader with information that seriously adds to certain elements in the films, information that should have been provided to the viewer, then it's a failure of the directors ability to make something clear to an audience.

Okay, that makes more sense.

I somewhat agree, the issue with that is if Bungie were to have made all of that info into the games, it would have been like having the 1st 4 harry potter books in one book, and certain secenes many years apart.

It'd be just too much to pack into just the games.

Aptspire:
I agree that I do love the expanded Halo universe (and in it, especially 'Halo: Cryptum'...So many answers about the Forerunners 8D) though I found the differences between TFOR, H:FS and Halo:Reach pretty unsettling (Where in the world is Dr. Halsey???)

As I said ealier, most of the canon breaks are adressed in her journal.

I agree, I love the halo universe, it is rich. :)

I personally am not a big enough halo fan (I only have a copy of reach because it was free with my console) to read the books but I do have the mass effect and gears of war novels. I like that they expand on the storylines presented in the games and give us more time with some of our favourite game characters.

Gears of War: Coalitions end is probably going to the be the next book I read. I am especially looking forward to the flashback story for this novel. I won't say what it is for those who don't know as I don't want to post spoilers!

*sigh*

It saddens me greatly that someone went through all this effort to dispel stereotypes and mis-interpretations, and is largely ignored.

Perhaps it's time for another "ask a halo fan anything thread".

EDIT: Ack, I forgot I basically already posted this before.

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