“Wake me… when you need me.”
For Halo 1, we looked at how the Master Chief was a well-defined character and how the game articulated his fears, flaws, and demonstrated, through his movement and actions, his surprisingly expressive personality.
For Halo 2, a story that is half Shakespearean drama and half 80s action flick (with all the emotion, brilliance, and ridiculousness that that entails), we explored the ways in which the Master Chief’s characterisation was undone – how it was the origin of the whole notion that the Chief is just a “vessel” character.
And now, we come to Halo 3… Continue reading
“Sir, finishing this fight…”
In the previous article, we explored the characterisation of the Master Chief in Halo: Combat Evolved and the reception that had was everything I’d hoped! With the enrichment of greater context and a closer look at the cutscenes, the resounding sentiment was that there was definitely more to the Chief than one might expect to see on the surface.
He was not just a “vessel” or a cipher for the worldbuilding, which I tied back to Frank O’Connor’s recent statements regarding the approach to the future of the Chief’s characterisation in Halo 6.
No, he was a well-defined character with fears, flaws, and a deceptively expressive personality that was conveyed through his movements and actions – which I can only describe as antithetical to the notion of the Chief being this vapid, stoic, blank avatar for the player.
I ended on something of an ominous note, that it was all downhill from there for the Chief’s character writing across the rest of the original trilogy. Halo 2 was where this series truly consolidated its popularity and cultural ubiquity, and it just so happens to be the instalment that completely changed the overall presentation of the character… Continue reading
“I think we’re just getting started…”
The Master Chief…
There’s been quite a bit of discussion over the last few weeks, following Frank O’Connor’s stated intentions of doubling down on the Chief focus in Halo 6 – but the angle from which he spoke about that particular ‘lesson learned’ from Halo 5 left me somewhat concerned.
“Chief we tend to think of as kind of a vessel for your adventure rather than necessarily this major character in the universe. He’s really just your entry into the universe.” [Frank O’Connor, WCCFTech interview (25/4/17)]
I have never personally agreed with this articulation of the Master Chief’s character, which is something that I’ve not really talked about in any great detail. And then, as if the universe was trying to further encourage me, just last week Halo: Combat Evolved was inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame. Naturally, I fired up the Master Chief Collection and decided to play through the games again from the beginning to renew my perspective on this topic.
In doing so, I decided it’d be fun to write an extensive character analysis, broken up into three or four parts, covering each major game, to really dig into the substance of this character.
Let’s give our old friend a warm welcome… Continue reading
Posted in Analysis, Gaming
Tagged 343 industries, bungie, cortana, eric nylund, first strike, halo, halo 1, halo ce, halo: combat evolved, john 117, master chief, microsoft, the fall of reach, the flood, william c. dietz, xbox
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
Posted in Analysis, Gaming, Literature, TV
Tagged 343 industries, A Song of Ice and Fire, bungie, game of thrones, halo, halo 3, halo 4, halo 5, halo 5: guardians, halo wars 2, reclaimer saga, robert a. heinlein
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
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
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… Continue reading
Posted in Analysis, Gaming
Tagged 343 industries, forerunner saga, greg bear, halo, halo 4, halo 5, halo 5: guardians, john 117, master chief, reclaimer saga