Here’s an unexpected question: What’s Halo, the hit video game franchise from Microsoft now running for 21 years? Play the games and you’ll experience a thin yet serviceable sci-fi thread about humanity’s struggle against an advanced alien group of religious zealots dedicated to eradicating them, and the cyborg Master Chief is our best hope in stopping them. It just has enough moments of grandeur, horror and scale to be memorable and most games end long before you start questioning their intelligence. They’re pretty good, that’s what I’m saying, largely because they keep things moving through peaceful but non-hostile spaces and hint at a broader conflict in the background.
Here’s how most people understand Halo: It’s the spine that holds each game’s story campaign and the loose rationale for the game’s wildly popular competitive multiplayer aesthetic. play (arguably where most Halo fans have long since set up shop). However, Halo also has a rich tradition of ancillary media: stacks of books, short films, and comic books that go much deeper than this. There are stories about the nature of artificial intelligence, war crimes perpetrated for the so-called “greater good”, space operas about an alien precursor species that lived before their own. We meet in the game and stories about the religious hierarchy of the series ‘villains. It’s good stuff, some surprisingly good, some less so.
Halo, the Paramount Plus TV series that premieres Thursday, is a continental rift in these two camps — fans who know all that happens in the larger Halo Universe and those who just play the game. It’s annoying because for the first time in 20 years, fans are asking Halo fans to separate the “plot” from the “lore”. If in the past, fans could interact with books and games that were interchangeable and (mostly) non-conflicting, the show’s creation of an independent “Silver” timeline for the characters. its events effectively wiped.
This can make the first episodes of the show feel very… freak. However, I suppose it has to be this way. Halo, like any TV show, has to tell a story. And the Halo game’s fictional storybook isn’t a story: it’s a legend. A collection of narratives and narrative ephemerals that aim to add texture and context, under the main focus of the novel: the game.
Lore is a natural fit for games. It’s a way to reward the larger time investment that most games require with so many reasons and so. Human nature is a storyteller, and the gap between your actions in the game and the environment in which those actions take place is a rich place for the story to develop, so why not help that? Lore is like fertilizer, taking an existing relationship and boosting it.
TV shows don’t have that relationship to rely on. They have to tell a story, and unfortunately for Halo, the source documentation doesn’t allow it to work much. There’s loads of history in the universe and you can see a lot of it on screen, but the characters, personal motives, villains are plentiful – Halo have to think of that whole canvas. And so it gives a face to a faceless man in actor Pablo Schreiber’s Master Chief, an act that, for some, can be sacrificed in and of itself, though the fact that it’s necessary for a show that can’t rely on audience familiarity with lore. (At least, not the way Mandalorian possibly, thanks to a broader familiarity with Star Wars.) Halo Surrounds Chief with other faces and a familiar story, where Chief rebelled against the only order he couldn’t obey, trusting that viewers would want to know what the other characters do: Why ?
In this regard, it is refreshing to see how small of the legend that was the center of Halo – while it’s fun to hypothesize with fans and build wikis of a show’s mythology together, that should never happen request. Before long, the show will have its own lore, enough to (hopefully) define a whole new way of Halo as it enters its third decade.
https://www.polygon.com/22993662/halo-tv-show-story-vs-lore Halo on Paramount Plus is the ultimate battle between story and lore