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,
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Much 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)