There is no doubt that the Halo series has had some absolutely stunning art design throughout the last 12 years, as the years have gone on and technology has improved the developers have been able to realise their artistic vision with much greater fidelity than back in 2001. Having more polygons and more detailed textures to work with has resulted in some truly gorgeous architecture, and of course it’s the Forerunners who are unquestionably the pinnacle of Halo‘s visual beauty.
Forerunner architecture is often seen as a combination of both artificial geometry and natural terrain. During the 100,000 long years of their absence from our galaxy, it is common to see some of their constructs being reclaimed by nature, but even then a lot of their installations have vast expanses of land and oceans.
Now let me tell you some things about Forerunner architecture – we’ve seen only a fraction of what they’ve created. See, Forerunner society is divided up into a number of castes (known in the lore as ‘rates’).
In all of the games, we’ve only seen Builder and Warrior-Servant architecture – the Halos, the Shield Worlds, and the Dreadnaught fleet in Halo Wars. I guess that you could call the Keyship from Halo 2 and 3 a Lifeworker vessel, but that’s the only thing of their’s we’ve seen. The novels detail a very different style for rates, like the Miners who Bornstellar describes as being aesthetically displeasing with groups of of grapplers, lifters, and cutters on their underbellies. This kind of construct has been featured in one of the comics, a machine known as the Gatherer.
Forerunners also used stone to craft some of their temples which could change shape and form, like the Temple of Abiding Truth that Phillips finds himself in while on Sanghelios in The Thursday War.
Forerunners don’t just have one style of architecture, the same way we don’t have one style of architecture. It varies greatly across cultures and time, and the Forerunners have been around for over ten million of years as a space-faring race and we have seen the smallest glimpse of what they’ve built in a time period of about 10,000 years. We’re gradually going to be seeing things which are a departure from what was shown to us in the original trilogy as we delve deeper into their society and technological capabilities – I think it’d be terribly dull if 343 used the same repetitive design every time a Forerunner structure was encountered, so I look forward to seeing what new things they have to show us.
Simply put: Forerunner architecture is beautiful, I love it and you probably should as well. So I’m going to shut up now and just throw some art at you. Enjoy!