Alien Roots II

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Bam said the lady, though, it would cost her.


So, here we are again in another post in another time of the concurrent year. Possibly a quick follow-up as well having released the last one not less than possibly a week ago? Well, as promised here I am to deliver.

Today, we’re going to be looking at how Halo can learn from the Alien franchise, in the cinematic spectrum. And as such, I am going to be tackling those attempts which have been made on the small screen and a bit of a bigger screen with Forward Unto Dawn and Nightfall, Certainly two controversial topics in the eyes of many, though, they were not failed endeavours, they just didn’t deliver nothing new, outside of a compelling story that most were uninterested by.

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One may expect the hate for these to be . . . a little more fleshed out and composed, but in reality, the most opinionated would say something along the lines of “Why should I care about these Marines?” or “Why should I care about Locke or anyone in this team?” While failing to recognise and appreciate the valiant efforts of creating a good plot with fleshed out topics and story arcs. Even if the movies did not provide anything new to the universe.

Forward Unto Dawn with the concurrent theme of what it takes to be a Soldier, “I see a soldier in you, Lasky, you need to see it.” while still tackling the themes of the UNSC in a much more fleshed out manner, Duty, Sacrifice, Courage. UNSC Today, Tomorrow, Forever. 

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Or the most spoken line, ‘AXIOS’, the word that Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, acclaimed before he fell to his own sword committing suicide in the name of Emperor Nero after he ordered him to; the words translating to take the meaning of “I am worthy.”

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Nightfall would take a turn with the themes of Sacrifice, Honour and Duty, We are simple things, soldiers. We are taught honour, honour means sacrifice, sacrifice means death; either our own or our enemies’.” While running away with the means of giving this fallen Spartan a fitting sacrifice for his life that would, in his eyes, redeem himself for his actions, and for not being able to take care of his daughter. See, I already died. That’s the difference between you and me. Gave my life away when I was signed up to be a soldier.”

And later referenced yet again in the atmosphere of its official score, with the song “How will you die?” 

But I am definitely running on a tangent here, and I apologise, though, I do think these are things that needed to be said at some point or another, but thus brings the topic at hand.

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How can we learn from Alien? 


Well, the answer is rather easy, practicality. By that I mean, we need to look at the efforts of practical effects that have been ventured to create movies such as Alien, Aliens, Star Wars: A New Hope, and beyond.

Why did Sci-Fi movies work so well, back then? Because of the practical effects, the habit of actually building and creating where you are gonna stand and act, this what kept them alive, this is what has kept them ageless, beyond many aspects. And Halo is no stranger to practicality, though, the way our universe is created certainly poses difficulties on creating practical things, costumes, locations, etc.

It is no wonder that the two movies we’ve gotten, are done entirely with a mixture of CGI and practical effects, it’s cheap. Cheaper than creating the entire thing from scratch, certainly.

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The Site of an Engineer ship’s bridge in Alien (1979)

We have things such as the Sangheili, the Unggoy, the Jiralhanae, Kig-Yar, etc, etc

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Operation: Chastity’s Sangheili. (Operation: Chastity was cancelled in 2012)

These are the difficult ones to produce, especially with practical effects, though, we’ve seen one or two costumes created for mostly low budget Trailers, Deliver Hope is one such case creating the costume for the Sangheili and The Life for Halo 3: ODST

So, what does this mean? We’re left with separate options such as CGI.

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A CGI Kig-Yar for Halo: Fallen.

So, what I am thinking, as such is the case of Halo 4 Scanned and Recommissioning trailers they used a healthy dose of CGI and Practical Effects. As well as using an entire set built from scratch for the UNSC Infinity’s bridge while using CGI for things that seemed realistic enough with CGI. Offering good looking scenes that could almost look convincingly real. Almost.

But the one thing we must retain here is practicality. As such that if we must do something, we must do it right. Of course, Alien has retained its essence because most of its sets are real, props, locations, species, etc.

And as such, Halo hasn’t stayed behind at all in this regard, the thing is, we must continue to do this and of course, take it to the next level if any such promising projects may rise from asunder. . . Looking at you, Halo TV Series. 

But we must continue to create proper props, sets, etc. That’s the main way for Halo to be successful on the big screen and smaller screens. The only issue is, of course, it is real bloody expensive to do, and this among many other reasons is possibly why we haven’t gotten anything yet in regards to movies, series, etc. Only smaller scale expeditions into the other genres that are too afraid to try anything new while still being grounded in good storytelling.

So, that of course, brings me to one of the most debated subjects in the Halo Community; storytelling.

So, what makes a good movie and/or series? Story wise. 

Well, for starters, a good story in a movie is made by the endeavours of Point A to Point B, beginning and end, explained cohesively throughout the movie without leaving loose ends and tying up every event together in the span of how long the series or movie to end.

And of course, a series is treated differently to how movies work, you gotta plan in advance your episodes, you gotta tie in their respective plot lines and arcs, bring them to a close, lay the seeds for the future episode, etc.

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A real prop, coupled together with the use of editing and video effects to make the HUD.

But I am running on a tangent, and I’d rather not continue to run my mouth before this turns into Rogue One vs The Force Awakens which is entirely beside the point.

My point with this is, a good movie or series is denoted by a cohesive, intelligent story that dares to challenge itself and make it through the other side alive. This isn’t exactly an easy task either, though, but with the track record of 343 and the things I previously discussed the last two endeavours of the live-action genre.

I am not worried that we could see something awful to the lines of Halo 5, especially with the genuinely good track record in their stories, novels or otherwise (With, of course, Halo 5 as the exception, not the rule.)


So, to run all of this down into a few words, from the quite possibly heavily convoluted line of thoughts I have just dropped on this page. What is it, that we gotta learn from Alien and retain it into our own endeavours? The essence.

The genuine feeling of it all, everything is real and it is on your screen right now. Practicality should lay valiant over CGI, and they should use as little CGI as possible in scenes that do not need it. And then, Halo can truly be alive in the live action genre.

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Like it certainly deserves to be, amongst all of the giants of the Sci-Fi genre as it deserving of the place amongst giants. With the only difference that it’d be the only one that feels as genuine and as alive as our splendid universe does.

Genuine enough for any given number of us to feel close and attached to certain aspects or characters if the universe, cultures, and more.

Only then, Halo will truly be alive. 

And bam will say the lady. But at a higher cost. 


And as a final topic, I’d like to bring attention to these fallen projects, yet so promising fan made films that never saw the light of day – With the exception of The Fallen, which you can watch here – but I’d like to bring the awareness as to why some of these fail.

And it all has to do with ambition, sometimes one can get so ambitious and life slaps you in the face with a hammer. Halo: Faith never seeing the light of days and only rumours surfacing from the midst of shadows, of course, it probably had to do with how they wanted to go wide on release and with how they were using major visual effect companies to aid them, though, nothing will ever be for certain.

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Though, then comes the cancellation of Operation: Chastity. And no reasons were ever disclosed. It was destined to die, as the husk of what could’ve been. And it is quite the shame, as it looked extremely promising, though, one can only speculate from what they had worked upon with their concept arts.

And, of course, The Fallen, as much as it released, I can’t help but think that it never lived to its full potential. As the contrast between its Prologue Teaser and the full release is extremely noticeable as the prologue has nothing to do with the final story.

And thus, in a twist of irony, The Fallen became, what to me is a fallen project.


And with that, I can bring this one to a close. Though, before I go I would like to post a few unused pictures that I believe would really serve their purpose further imagining what could be for the Halo Universe in the live-action genre, at least in my opinion, and of course, some final notes.


Writer’s Notes:

So, this is a new thing I thought of on the fly, since in the last one I did something similar, why not establish something to do, even if sporadically.

So, of course, this probably was a very convoluted post, at least in my opinion, I still hope it managed to get the point across, though, I am rather proud of it. I tried a couple new things in this post, as you saw I did picture tiles, as well as using the embed for Soundcloud. I hope to be more dynamic like this in the future. And with that, I bring this to a close properly.

And one last thing, before we bring this to a close, I shall plug a rather small exclusive rough preview of City of Fire and Anomalies right here, for the reader’s delight.

It’s still rough around the edges, and the finished product will not look as such. But that being said, I extend my goodbyes for now, and I shall continue to work on future projects. Remember to check out the Lorecast as soon as it is out! With Drizzy_Dan, Adv Jones, Toa_Freak, VincentGat and I!

And as always, live a good life, be careful, and play a whole lot of Halo (Also read the bloody books.)

-Joseph of the .jpeg, ‘HaruspexOfHell’.

Alien Roots I

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How Halo can learn from Halo Wars 2 and Alien: Isolation moving Forward?


So, here we are, yet again unto the breach with more of an analysis about Alien and Halo, where do we stand as a Universe and how our roots can help us grow if only we look back and piece out the things that should stay with us.

I planned to make this one big post going through the things we can learn from Alien: Isolation, but rightfully so, there’s more to talk about this topic and there are many words that need saying and a lot of feedback that will benefit the universe and the franchise going forward,

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So what are the things we’re  gonna speak about today, right here, right now? Alien: Isolation, and our newest entries on the Phoenix Logs from Halo Wars 2, I do believe that we could create something to cherish if we do a little something with these things.

So, for those who do not know, Alien: Isolation introduced us to the Sevastolink Consoles:

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Said Sevastolinik Console, booting up in it’s ‘dirty’, 80s tech style.

For those who do not know, what they contained inside after booting them up were a series of varied options, mini stories within the game, they often contained audio logs, and they contained cryptic messages and oftentimes, information about certain personas in the game, allowing you to understand the stories behind and surrounding Sevastopol Station, from your first section in the game you’re greeted with a large number of these, detailing things such as the decommissioning of the station and letting you have small tidbits as well as more and more as you venture deeper into Sevastopol Station.

A great way to allow you to venture into the main storyline while learning more about the universe and the surrounding environment, as much as Ripley may be the main focus, that atmosphere is the main character of Alien: Isolation, and it is delivered and executed splendidly well.

Now, how can we do this in Halo? We have had interfaces before, Halo 3 was the first to deliver this and it delivered half of what Alien: Isolation delivers.

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Halo at this point and time has experienced with all kinds of medias for the hidden aspects. We had our debut in Halo 3 with the Forerunner Terminals, Halo Wars with the Timeline, Reach with the Data Pads and the text-on-screen very much a la Mass Effect 1 exposition through text, Halo 4, CEA and 2A with the animations by Sequence, Halo 5 with Audio through the Mission Intel and once more in Halo Wars 2, text in the form of the Phoenix Logs.

Now, what do I think of this? We have had all of the possible ways to provide the exposition of the deeper Extended Universe through the games already, all of them were magnificent in their roles, while. . . some are done worse than others.

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Now, picture this, I will be using one of Halo 5’s intels as an example, specifically the History of Meridian chapters. And I will be using one of the Phoenix Logs from Halo Wars 2.

We find several Data Pads, Consoles, Covenant Disks, a variety of different utility pieces throughout the environment, placed carefully in logical places in the environment, while still being hidden in it, now, instead of scanning it we actually grab them and are able to go through it in their own interface with a minimalist structure that isn’t too hard nor too complicated to create, much like Alien: Isolation, scroll, back and selection.

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This could give us a chance for the game to provide us with these experiences in-game, and it could also retain the eerieness and mystery of Halo 3’s terminals.

Now, let’s say it has three options, audio, personal log and possibly a data tab where it can provide you with the owner’s information, nothing too out of the ordinary, though, if we really want to go all in, it could also have a video tab, but since I don’t want to give the guys at 343 a headache every morning, let’s just nail it down to the audio and text.

Alright, we open the text tab, and what we see is the information piling down into text on the screen, possibly with a very much Alien-esque vibe.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
ONI Section Zero Board//Surveillance transcription of internal communications between subjects ‘D’ and ‘S’, 02.15.2550 0313 hrs//Full transcript available on request//
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
> D: Whatever it is you woke me for it had better be good. I have a 0600 with Zero and I’m going to need my full four hours to keep ahead of them.
> S: Yes, sir. It’s one of the Unggoy we captured. It’s offering information in exchange for a deal.
> D: A grunt? Why are you wasting my time? Those things don’t know HOW to tell the truth. Besides, something that far down the chain won’t have access to plans. Not beyond kitchen duty anyway.
> S: You’re right, sir. But it’s not about the Covenant. The Unggoy says he was snatched from the Covenant. You remember the attack on Carter Guard Armory six weeks ago?
> D: I’m still trying to make up the losses from the fallout. They took everything we had and left no survivors. I’ve never seen the Covenant take our gear like that before. Are you telling me we have a splinter group to contend with now?
> S: Maybe. Whether they’re our problem too is another matter. I started doing some digging and the group’s targets seem to be chiefly Covenant. I guess hit what you know, eh? Anyway, I pulled the security vids of the raid to get the Unggoy to identify the leader.
> D: And did the grunt ID? Do we have a visual?
> S: Pulling it up now. It’s a little blurry, but what you’re about to see is the leader, a Jiralhanae, fighting a squad of ODSTs. There’s a lot of blood, sir. It’s not an easy watch.
> D: Good lord. Is he beating that ODST With…? Do we have a name?
> S: We do, sir. From the Unggoy. Says his name is Atriox.
> D: Make sure no one else talks to that grunt. I want this compartmentalized. Some at ONI will see this as a problem to be fixed, not an opportunity. Find out all you can on this Atriox and keep me informed.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

[TRANSMISSION TERMINATED]

Then we could hit back and the screen moves back to the main screen and we pick out the Audio Transmission, we see a transcript of the transmission below as it’d allow us an option to hit play.

I’ve been putting together a retrospective on Meridian in these, her final days. Records indicate that 139 ships, carrying 70,003 souls arrived on this green ball in 2432. Since many of those settlers came from France, they named the first town Avignon, and established the colony of Meridian.

Transmission ends, and let’s say, much like Halo 3 where the console boots you, this utility dies down and you’re forced to drop the interaction with it.

Now, if we really want to get eerie and mysterious, the screen could crap out much like Halo 3’s did, flash an image briefly, possibly a face, much like Araqiel in First Strike, which I will quote the exact moment below.

The holographic crystal shattered into a thousand glittering fragments and swirled upward into a helix. “I’m in, and—”

The shards pulsed and coalesced. Facets and hard shimmering planes fit together into curled horns, an elongated jaw, and oversized eyes that flickered with holographic fire. It turned and smiled at Dr. Halsey, baring razor jags of teeth.

“Civilian consultant 409871,” it said in a deep bass rumble that contained a crackle of thunder. “Doctor Catherine Halsey.” 

It could, or could not speak, it could be the reason the utility dies out and you’re forced to drop all interaction with it and resume with your mission, and with the introduction of The Created, it could all make sense that it was an AI that saw your interactions and blocked you off.

C6rmX8dW0AAdvrMMuch like Mendicant Bias, however, this could have its own story, it’s own mystery and it’s own cradle for answers. But this could be like Halo 3 2.0. To the full of extent of the word, this would be better, and I am sure more than one of us could be very intrigued by something like this.

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Now, let’s say we come in contact with intels that are very much Covenant, or Alien in origin, why don’t we see it as we did in the Halo 3 terminal, giving us their actual scripture first and then translating it entirely so you could be able to read it.

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We know the disks have their own, semi built interface with the scripture, though we may not know what it says there right now, quite possibly just gibberish, it could be interesting for them to give us actual interfaces for it and the other utilities.

A Mixture of all

Now, what I clearly suggest, is, let’s mix this up, let’s make the best experience we can do and it could all be derived from those who gave the franchise the very inspiration to existing in the first place. We’ve already ventured into all the things that Alien: Isolation did in one big package (Minus animations). So why not try to follow in those same steps.

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Going back to our Alien Roots, to create a better future.

Or like they would say in Weyland-Yutani

Building Better Worlds. 


Now, while I struggle to find a way to bring this one to a close, let me plug in some stuff right here at the end and allow you to know what to expect on the next few parts to come.

I plan on possibly making a deeper analysis of what makes Halo and what we share with Alien, as well as those things that we should retain going forward are, our identity depends on those key details, for the next part, however, I will be speaking about how Halo can learn from Aliens (1986) in the cinematic spectrum, we have learned some things, but we are yet to learn more.

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Alien Roots Part 2 – How Halo can learn from Aliens, will be coming soon. (Will eventually update with a link here.)

And as a shameless plug, please check out A Roman in Blue – A Halo Fan Short Story on the Halo Archive. Chapter 4 – City of Fire, coming soon.

And that will be all for this one, everyone. Hope it has been an insightful one, and I hope it reaches the right ears – or more so eyes – with the guys at 343 Industries, it has been fun thinking of this one and I hope you enjoyed reading through.

And as always, live your life, be safe, and play more Halo. (Also read the novels, they’re great)