On Halo and ‘Heinlein’s Premise’

I don’t like Game of Thrones.

I don’t like Game of Thrones and 343 wants Halo to last for thirty years.

On its own, that sentence sounds extremely odd and the two things seem totally unrelated – and where exactly is Heinlein supposed to come into this? I’ve finally kicked it, gone off the rails; you might as well leave now and never come back because it sounds like I have nothing of value whatsoever to say (which’ll already have been the case for some people, I’m sure)…

But I reckon there’s one or two people who might be slowly nodding their head at that statement and I hope the rest of you will humour me as to where this is going. As you can see from the intimidatingly small size of your scroll bar, I am going… somewhere Continue reading

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Why Halo 3 Didn’t ‘Finish The Fight’

I have a pretty sizeable schedule for things I intend to write over the course of this year, but every now and then my genesong will nudge me towards putting that list off to make a little detour by writing a previously unplanned Halo article… This particular topic is something that I (and many others) have been arguing for the better part of a decade.

Halo 3 was many things, but the whole marketing angle about it being about us finishing the fight? The actual content of the narrative undermines that at every opportunity, to the point where I am compelled to argue that Halo 3 didn’t actually finish anything and, in fact, added plot points in the final act of the game that made a continuation of the story inevitable.

Now, if you’ll excuse me for a moment, I’m going to step inside Kinsano’s Cyclops to withstand the firestorm I’m sure to be on the receiving end of for what I’m about to say. Continue reading

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Star Wars: Rebels, Twin Suns – A Narrative Appraisal

I feel like I’ve done my ‘geek cred’ something of a disservice by failing to write about Star Wars in the three and a half years that I’ve been running this blog…

That largely stems from the fact that I simply don’t feel that I have much in the way of unique or interesting things to say about Star Wars that a billion other people haven’t articulated in a billion different ways. Discourse and analysis about Star Wars is as ‘lived-in’ as its setting, so I don’t really think that I have a whole lot to add to that unending cacophony.

However… every once in a while there’s a landmark moment in Star Wars that nags at me to do some sort of write-up because it really hammers home why I love this series.

Twin Suns, the latest episode of Star Wars: Rebels, was one of those moments. Continue reading

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On Halo 4 and ‘The Chosen One’

One of the more divisive aspects of Halo 4’s story was a particular line spoken by the Librarian to John that has seen no end of discussion over the years.

“You are the culmination of a thousand lifetimes of planning.”

Many have taken this line as being indicative of 343 Industries taking a more Messianic turn with the character of the Master Chief, forcing the overused Chosen One cliche where it has no business being – and that’s a totally fair interpretation when the game’s description quite literally states “the Master Chief returns to confront his destiny” (though, we should always be wary of the ways in which generic marketing blurbs naturally tend towards simplification).

Halo 4 does indeed deal with ‘destiny’ and the trope of the Chosen One, but I’m going to argue that it’s not quite handled in the way many seem to think it is…hf535 Continue reading

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Halo Wars 2 – Campaign Impressions

Yes, the folks at 343 Industries decided to give me an early copy of Halo Wars 2 (the Ultimate Edition, no less) – which, as you would probably expect, I am ecstatic about!

It’s been eight years (eight long years) since the original game launched Halo into the RTS genre for consoles, which, at the same time, sort of brought the series back to its roots from its earlier iterations as an RTS title. As I’ve previously discussed, I really love the original Halo Wars, and having fully played through the campaign for the sequel now I’m excited to share some of my thoughts on the next chapter of the Spirit of Fire’s journey.

WARNING: This post contains spoilers for some aspects of the first four missions, including two cutscenes – both of which have been prominently featured in the game’s marketing since it was announced, so these are only minor. There is also brief mention of the Phoenix Logs, as well as vague tonal/thematic statements about the game as a whole. All images used are from officially released trailers and previews.atriox5 Continue reading

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Mendicant Bias – The Thirteenth Child

“One thought for all eternity,” said Mendicant Bias. His tone sounded almost wistful. Now the lights were fading, flickering, going dark. “Atonement.”

The tomb turned as black as night. The machine’s final words spread across the false desert and echoed moments later from the false mountains. Bornstellar, Riser, Trial, Chant, and all the rest watched silently as the rest of Mendicant Bias, locked in eternal exile, was covered by sand. [Halo: Rebirth, The Trial of Mendicant Bias]

With the eight year wait for Halo Wars 2 now approaching eight days, heralding the long-awaited, long-theorised return to the Lesser Ark, I felt it was time to return to a bit of theorycrafting regarding a character who has been at the heart of some of the Halo universe’s biggest mysteries and galaxy-defining events.

The so-called “bastard child” of the Didact and the Master Builder, the thirteenth child of the former, whose true name is spoken but never heard. It begs a question for us to ponder that we might unknowingly have the answer to…

Who and what is Mendicant Bias?mult181 Continue reading

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Two Corpses, One Grave – On Halo 3 and the Gravemind

Ah, Halo 3… This is something that I have seldom talked about beyond a few vague mentions in the past. Not for any particular reason, though it’s probably worth noting that I don’t have what one might call the most popular opinion when it comes to the story of the final game in Bungie’s original Halo trilogy.

Since it’s Halo 3’s ten-year anniversary (blimey!) in just under eight months, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to dive into a topic that I’ve been sitting on for about two years now.

That topic is Halo 3’s portrayal of the Gravemind, focusing on three main areas:

1 – What are some of the positives and negatives regarding how it was written?

2 – What were some of the complexities of the character that Bungie cut (that can still be evidenced in hidden dialogue files)?

3 – What was the Gravemind’s actual plan and how does it tie in with IRIS, Halo 3’s Terminals, and the Forerunner Saga?gravemind Continue reading

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