Sci-fi author and Crysis 2 writer Richard Morgan says he doesn’t like Halo because it’s filled with “bullshit archetypal characters” and fails to deliver any sort of meaningful, memorable story to go along with all the shooting.
“There is absolutely no good reason why you can’t weld a really good narrative to a really cool shooting game,” Morgan, the award-winning author of novels like Altered Carbon and Thirteen, told NowGamer. And while he admitted that Crysis 2 is “fundamentally about firefights,” he pointed out that BioShock was, too.
“[BioShock] got mainstream press coverage and it didn’t get that coverage because you were shooting shit,” he said. “It got that coverage because people thought ‘Oh wow, there’s actually social text in this game’.”
At the opposite end of Morgan’s scale is Halo, the mega-hit franchise that obviously failed to tickle his literary fancy. “I don’t like the Halo series at all. Okay, Halo is not actually bad, it’s just, you know, average,” he explained. “The reason that its fiction doesn’t work has nothing to do with the fact that you don’t get to see Master Chief’s face, it’s because of lines like ‘Okay… I’m gonna get up there and kill those guys’. Halo is full of these bullshit archetypal characters and there’s no real emotional effect.”
There are, of course, those who will argue that story is irrelevant to shooters and that gamers who just want to pump assorted kinds of lead into assorted kinds of bad guys generally couldn’t care less about why they’re doing it. But Morgan doesn’t buy that angle. “I can’t believe that there are players out there who rush through Dead Space, or BioShock, without taking any time to just look around or to take in any of the story strands. Why would you pay 50 bucks for a game, then ignore 50 percent of its content? It’s like, ‘Hey, I’m reading this book, but it’s a bit long, so I’m going to rip the last half out’.”
Not that he doesn’t recognize that such run-and-gun gamers exist, of course; he just thinks that the best new shooters have evolved beyond that. “I understand that there are player who are like that,” he said, “but if that’s really all you want, crank up the PS1 and play Doom or whatever.”
I think I like this guy. I may have to check out some of his books and most definitely Crysis 2, which is scheduled to be out in time for the holidays on the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.