Category Archives: Reflections

Halo 5: Guardians – A Marvel Stolen Out Of Fear. . .

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We come a long way together. A long way yet to go. . . 


I’d one hundred percent like to start this post by saying a huge thank you to my friend Taras (LateNightGaming) for helping me with this post with his experience. However, take everything here with a pinch of salt, as I won’t be talking anything with many sources to back me up, some theorycrafting and beyond.

I will be using Concept Art, remnants in the full game, and so on to fully explain this, however, it might not be very well put, or I may look over some stuff and if I do I deeply apologise and you can feel free to correct me, however, without further a due, I believe we should get started. . .


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Was it a lie?

Let’s open up with something simple, let’s address the elephant in the room, was it really a lie? By that, I mean everything in between Halo 4 and 5, all the marketing, all the stories told.

Which for that I can say it is quite complicated, why? Because half of it was true, some were never really meant to be taken seriously for the game they ended up making due to everything that happened.

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I’m certainly sure everyone remembers this image, showing things that were essential to Halo 5, but in reality, nothing in this really played a part into the full product, once upon a time it was essential but the final product didn’t make use of any of it. They might as well have a connection by association.

But what if I told you that all those little words going around the image, Mystery, Reconciliation, Family, Trust, Heritage, Truth, Honour, Heroism, Sacrifice, Betrayal and Redemption were going to play a bigger role in the original idea of the writers? Before. . . Everything happened.

Well, that brings me to my next point.

Causality, Post-Mortem Of Halo 4, influencing Halo 5:

Of course, I will bring this point which I have certainly brought up before countless times before, but I maybe haven’t really worded it perfectly before.

We’re the cause of Halo 5’s current direction. We really are. And the proof is all around the treatment of the Halo games Pre-Halo 4 and Post-Halo 4. By that I mean, the outcry for Halo 4’s Campaign being so ‘complex’ influenced each and every release afterwards, leaving seeds from the next and the next. It’s basic business, really, the people don’t like something? You’re usually forced to change it, as much as it pains you, and that’s what happened with Halo 5.

But let’s look at it from a thorough timeline of events.


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A Thoughtful Timeline:

2012 Arrives, release day for Halo 4, and you can bet that everyone and their mothers played this game, it had been years before they had stepped with John’s boots on the battlefield, we had somewhat finished the fight years before in a bombastic campaign that brought a close to Bungie’s trilogy as their contract was about to expire. They just needed to do two more games and that was it, but here we are. The elusive number 4 and it is a massive disappointment for everyone that expected something not deep or using the lore.

Fast forward a bit and we get Spartan Ops, it offers absolutely nothing to the company, plans are cancelled and efforts moved to Dark Horse’s Halo: Escalation comics which hoped to answer every single detail from Spartan Ops complaints, but as time went on, reception offered nothing to the company and brought little to no returns, 343 opted all these efforts cost money, and we did not support them, although we did complain a whole lot and that’s all they’ve had.

So we’re here at the turn of events and this deeper storyline is dropped to appease the increase of complaints in the community. Out of fear, and fear alone, the complex, character-driven storylines that we were offered from the start of Halo 4 were finally dropped around the time of E3 2014.

Well. . . Not everyone liked it. 

Those were the words of Bonnie Ross once in regards of Halo 4.

However, to avoid running on a tangent and never getting on the topic of today’s post, I want to address the only rebuttal I and everyone else that argues this comes across. Blaming it on the Community? How retarded can you be? 

It’s not blaming the execution of the games in the community, neither are we blaming the failures of 343’s projects on the community when the product itself is rather questionable when it comes to enjoyment, I have said this time and time again, I much prefer the old game’s gameplay mechanics, but what I will always defend is Halo 4’s story and beyond, with the exception of the final product of Halo 5: Guardians, however what I will defend in regards to it is their intentions.

But, when it comes to acknowledging the fact that we influence the concurrent releases more than most people give credit for, we must acknowledge our sins in our harsh treatment of Halo 4, as the cycle turns and people start loving Halo 4’s story which they already are because of many different reasons, maybe they start to understand it better, they are more open-minded, etc.

We must not fail to give fair trial without clouding judgements, nostalgia, hatred, these are things that cloud the mind and obstruct the fact that our opinions are what gave us Halo 5’s direction in the first place. And for that, all of the proof shall remain on the internet and the overall treatment, as a monument to all our sins. . . 


But, without further a due, after all that rant, let’s hop onto the juicy bits. Let’s look at the Halo 5 that we could’ve. . .

[DISCLAIMER: This is very loose interpretations of original plans, although, it may be denied, and it only went as far as the ‘Talk’ stage of preparation but not beyond that. I’d also like to state that this can be dismissed as theorycrafting as well.]

The Journey, The Story:

Let’s start with the basics, the story they wanted to tell, which was a character driven story with themes such as Family, Redemption, Heroism, etc. I’m sure they sound familiar, right? Well, let’s just give it more detail, shall we?

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Well, to recount things told to me, the story was going to have two sides, like two sides of a coin, but it was originally planned to be played from the perspective of Osiris alone, giving us insight on Blue Team through cutscenes instead of gameplay, which gives me the perspective that Halo 5 sounds more like a spin-off title preparing for the mainline game rather than a mainline game itself, however, the writers wanted to go deeper and give the two sides a deeper perspective, it was going to be very much like Detective work making incredibly intricate Easter eggs that activated with certain weapons in certain locations, some at certain times of the day, and beyond.

It was going to give depth into the story preparing everything for the ultimate reveal, Didact returns and he is controlled by Dr. Halsey and The Librarian as they used the Janus Keys to find and wake the Guardians.

And your work as Locke was to genuinely hunt Chief down, ONI’s legitimate orders were to kill John, By Any Means Necessary as he had gone rogue. But as you went deeper into the story and you uncovered more and more secrets your task changes from killing John to aiding him, and your actions could’ve triggered a civil war between UNSC and Innies.

But it wouldn’t come without hardship as Osiris was going to be shattered, a heavy sense of disdain would fill the team in your journey as your team genuinely hated your guts, Tanaka hated your ONI badge, Vale hated you for similar reasons, but Buck was the only one open to discussing and dialoguing with you. However, it would be a rocky relationship between the two.

Meridian comes and you’re met by an incredibly pissed Tanaka in the middle of your mission to hunt John after your tracks came to no end. She despises you, she yells at you that you will never know how it is to live in an outer colony, and how much she despised his guts. But you move on and you return to Infinity for your next mission, and so on would your journey go where your family would slowly build from the ashes of hatred while Blue Team shattered to pieces.

Fred would become incrementally worried about John’s mental health, as Linda would deny it all, there’d be fighting, distrust between their ranks. Although between references of older missions, brothers and sisters in arms lost, they would find the way to see their mission through, until the end of the line.

But as missions unfolded and the next came, your family in Osiris would build more and more, you would see all of their character arcs unfold before you, Buck would happen in Andesia, given the cityscape in a very similar setting to ODST he would get through it with Osiris, with cutscenes entirely dedicated to building this relationship in between brothers and sisters in arms.

And then comes Sanghelios, we’re at the wake of the Battle of Sunaion, the revelation is through, Blue Team is in Sanghelios and hunting a Guardian so you must hunt them down, for the first time you see your family bond without disdain and Tanaka would give some words to the team. Before heading into the deep end once again, where you would find Warden for the first time granting access to the Guardian to Blue Team, but, however, not to you.

So you fight this unit, this new enemy that would come from nowhere to fight you. And I believe beyond this mission we would slowly find out Halsey’s plans. . .

But that’s as far as the information I have goes, sadly, not everything is really known and well this is very much theory as much as it may be obscure fact.


Although, beyond that, that’s honestly all that’s left for Halo 5: Guardians, a cesspool of speculation and reminiscing. One fact is clear, though, it’ll definitely live on as a monument to our collective sins. But beyond that, one cannot deny the state of the game’s story as is, is laughable at best, and quite depressing when you learn all of the things they had planned. But out of fear, opted not to appease their own need and sense for creation and instead cater to every complaint.

However, I’m sure every single plan that was once talked or pondered about, will live on in the form of art. . .

But, whatever it was supposed to be, whatever it is, whatever it will become. None of these are healthy thoughts to have in mind beyond the caring thought of the franchise you love. It’ll only leave you a headache when it’s gone. . .

We can’t really dwell on the past, and we can’t dwell on the future, we can only look at what is in front of us and hope for the best, we know for an absolute fact that the men and women in-house at 343 Industries are not evil much more the complete opposite of this.

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They’re humans, just like us, with their own issues and intricacies. But we also fail to acknowledge that the industry doesn’t work like it does in our dreams. It’s very complicated and it is a lot of check-ups upon check-ups of each and every single work done. And they sure as hell work their arses off.

But, of course, you may provide the criticism you feel you must expel from your body, however, remember that our words affect more than it doesn’t. ‘It falls on deaf ears’ is not entirely accurate. So criticise fairly, constructively. That’s what’ll help the franchise move forward, not acute insanity.


Author’s Notes:

Oh wow. . . TWO posts in one day. That’s a new milestone for me, but then again I have certainly been working on this one beyond two days, a month even, with all the research done in between from earlier posts and for this one, lots of discussion with Taras, Ian, etc. It has certainly shaped up the vision of this post, I not so much wanted to tell the remainder of the details of what we could have had, but I wanted to be clear on the fact that, this is very much our own sin as it is 343’s. Just as much as we influenced Halo 3 to make Arbiter and the Great Schism almost non-existent, we did the same here. That is something we must definitely acknowledge.

This post has also certainly taken many different forms in my head, from in-depth research regurgitation of many different articles online which I gathered, my experiences with in-depth conversations about its development, or whatever else my crazy mind thought of. However, I hope this double deal is very insightful for all of you. And I hope you enjoyed.

Click here to read my article in regards to the Battle of Earth.

Also, be sure to check out my patreon! (Shameless Double Whoring of the Patreon)

And make sure to check out the Halo Archive and 343i Community as well!

As always, though, for the second time today. This Venezuelan hopes you live your life, stay safe and play lots of Halo. ❤

TL:DR: Halo 5: Guardians was a much more intricate creation.

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Storytelling Has To Evolve.

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Do you please your audience, or do you please the depiction of the story you had in mind? 


This is something that has been a long time in the making now, from various posts on my Twitter account and rigorous conversations regarding one of my earlier posts in regards to Master Chief Petty Officer. John-117’s death in the Halo Universe.

I just quite couldn’t make my voice heard that well, and I couldn’t put my finger on what I actually thought to deliver a cohesive argument in 140 characters or less.

But it wasn’t until Star Wars Rebels episode Twin Suns came out, and an intense study of what the producers and everyone who worked on it thought in regards to it, that I actually started to see a clear image on the matter.

I’d like to say, that this is something that I deeply believe in, as much as you could quote Death to the Author or anything against my arguments here, I believe that this is something that every storyteller has to aspire towards and believe in.

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So, I think the best way to start this is to quote Carrie Beck, Producer of Star Wars Rebels in Rebels Recon 3.20, Inside Twin Suns. 

“Going into this, I know we had a really rigorous conversation around the idea, of whether or not this is something we should be doing. And especially knowing the journeys of both of those characters. Really making sure that that moment was being constructed from a place of what the story demanded. Not from a place of something that we all personally wanted to see.” 

 

So, what does this mean in the context of what I want to say here? Well, it’s very clear. Storytelling is something that you shouldn’t tread lightly with, every possible outcome and possibility must be tackled and considered in an equal amount. That’s where all the great stories come from and where all the amazing characters are born from.

George Lucas surely created his universe with everything thought out, you could tell, going into rigorous studies of the Star Wars universe it is easy to tell the amount of love and work he placed into the universe.

And this is what a writer and storyteller should do, critical thinking of your own story of every possibility. The world is your playground, and you shouldn’t be afraid to use complete freedom in crafting your universe or stories.

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Which brings me to another point. Do you appease your audience? Or do you allow yourself to create something that is entirely unbiased and of your own doing?

The Outlast series by Red Barrel Games is a clear cut example of this, it’s something that is seemingly created with the experience and not the player, from the story to the gameplay itself, it boils down exactly to the creators want and not what the creators think the audience wants. This is an example of full creative freedom done right, without fearing what the audience must or mustn’t say.

And with their recent new game in the series Outlast II they only followed this trend, allowing themselves to create something that isn’t just scary through and through, but a full experience of countless taboo topics used with a freedom that to this day remains unparalleled in regards to what I can see.

 

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[POSSIBLE SPOILERS SKIP AHEAD IF YOU MUST]

Outlast 2 utilises a grand variety of topics, many of which are due to cause any backlash if any at all should happen – however, in the current industry we live in, anything is due to cause backlash of any amount, however baseless or factless. Two examples I can give right now are D.Va’s Police Outfit and Polygon’s newest post about Call of Duty WWII.

But I digress, and as such, I will list out some of the topics that we see tackled in Outlast 2.

  • The very real threat of rape in both male and female genders
  • Possible pedophilia
  • Extremist religion
  • Catholicism as an extremist religion
  • Satanism
  • Killing babies
  • The Apocalypse
  • Mind Control
  • Conspiracy
  • Evil Corporation orchestrating an evil project

And that’s just some of it from what I could see going into the game and reading up on its story and lore. But I am running on a tangent here, I believe this should only further prove my point, however.

[NO MORE OUTLAST 2 SPOILERS PAST THIS POINT]

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My point being: You shouldn’t be afraid to tell a story from the perspective that it should be told in terms of the characters’ journey and the progression of your universe, you should not be obligated to appease your audience with the story they’d want to see. Instead, you should focus on the story

Instead, you should focus on the story you want to tell, and you must tell it however it must be told to give way to growth and further meaning to the universe.

And for that, I believe I must once again quote Rebels Recon.

“How did you come to the conclusion that it had to be done this way?” 

“We never entered into this story, trying to think about how satisfying that battle should be. It really became about what was the genuine intention of this moment. And knowing where these two men are at this point in their lives. – I think it’s important for us, even though, in the timeline we aren’t at A New Hope, yet, to think about what we know about Obi-Wan in that movie and to work backwards in someway, to make sure the character progression charts appropiately”

This is what Carrie Beck replied when questioned in regards to how they decided to give Maul an end in such a way when it came to the end of the episode Twin Suns.

And this is what Dave Filoni replies with when tackled with the same question.

“If you talk to a lot of people that sword fight, they’ll tell you that people who are very good, don’t have long fights. Its very quick. And so that scene, is an homage to the Seventh Samurai, I think on one level people would be excited to see another prolongued lightsaber fight. But, I just really never saw the confrontation that way because to do that is to say the characters don’t have growth, yes, its exciting as an audience member but it’s not a really belieavable thing – The storytelling has to evolve.”

So, here you have it, the thing that all writers should strive for. A believable, well thought out, story. With actual growth and stakes and this is what I firmly believe as a storyteller and as a dreamer.

Your stories are yours, which you choose to share with your audience, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, a project can be truly amazing when it comes out of the sheer strength of your love for your content and imagination and not from the perspective of what everyone would like to see on the screen or on paper.

Believe in your story, and write what you must. It’s the only way you’ll truly be happy as a writer, don’t write what you think people would want.

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Author’s Notes:

And now we bring this one to an end, it has certainly been a long time coming, I always wanted to bring my thoughts out there in a true cohesive way in regards to this matter, it’s something that I feel strongly about and with good reason. I am a writer, a dreamer, I love my stories and seeing so much appeasing to the crowds in the industry just worries me like no tomorrow, hopefully this gets somewhere, or stays right here, I don’t mind, what I mind is that I finally got my thoughts out for those who really wanted to read them. And for that, I thank you all.

Now, let’s give a collective tease of future projects that I have on the way for you guys.

And one last thing coming straight from the guys at Progressive Halo! 

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We’ve been working on a project that will certainly be amazing, I am incredibly looking forward to the reception of everyone towards it, more info will be released soon enough as we’re closing in final stages for it! Look forward to it and follow the Progressive Halo twitter account at @ProgressiveHalo.

Join in the ProgressiveHalo Discord right now clicking this link as well!

And as always, live your life, play Halo, enjoy some good stories – and dream.

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There is… No value to human life. – Titanfall 2.

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Now that I have your attention. . . 


I have been playing Titanfall 2 for the last few hours before I was astonished by a complete change of pace, a change of pace that isn’t exactly exhibited in many games today.

And that change of pace is, Effect and Cause.

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A clever little mission that is the massive standout of this game, and I thought that it warranted my fullest, undivided attention. So here we are, writing, or in the case of you – the reader – reading my piece about this magnificent mission that I think we can all agree that is a massive standout.

Both in storytelling, and gameplay wise. It is clever, entirely clever.

The mission allows you – Shortly after some… Pseudo-platforming – to manipulate space and time continuum, in such a way that it makes you feel both empowered and like your actions matter in both present and past.

There’s nothing more satisfying than to listen in to the radio chatter and hearing your enemies frantically looking for you and wondering what the hell is happening, however, they stand absolutely no chance of getting to you, they’re dealing with the unknown. And that unknown is you.

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But that’s not what makes this mission so great – To me – after a bit of exploring, I found these audio logs that were interesting at first, some speaking about certain things of the past and the things that happened as you arrived.

They were merely interesting until I hit the jackpot, a 5-minute recording from General Marder, that shows more than just a little bit of information, but more so it is a crucial part of the information that is entirely amazing.

I found myself. . . Agreeing with the course of action that Marder had thought of. Something that doesn’t happen so often in video games these days.

grey side to a conflict, and an entirely logical purpose behind their actions.


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I will quote the entire speech by Marder, below.

I would like to spend some time today to talk about the value of human life. There is… no value to human life.

Now that I have your attention…

To be more precise; human life, to a certain limit, is expendable.

We are self perpetuating, yet self destructive.

Adaptable, yet flawed.

And always, always, resource intensive. We are endless consumers of resources.

But most relevant to our research here is one undeniable fact: that human life is abundant. Overpopulation of any colonized world is a given. Through the lens of cold objectivity, it is irresponsible to say that all individuals on such worlds are actually indispensable. Millions of humans die across the colonized worlds every day by any number of causes. Human life is… expendable.

Now our problem is twofold; On the one hand, we are faced with a hostile frontier populace opposed to our commercial pursuits for the greater good. And on the other hand, there is a never ending cry for natural resources demanded of us by the greater populations of the core systems.

We must have order on the frontier if we are the achieve true progress, but the Militia, in its provincial myopic lack of vision refuses to accept this.

Thus, we are at war.

Now the bitter truth; Reinforcements from the core systems will not arrive for several more years. The militia gains strength day by day, taking back one planet after another. Our choices are limited, drastic action must be taken.

Again, I remind you all of one simple truth: That human life is abundant. And, as distasteful as it may sound, human life is, in truth, expendable. And so that brings us to this planet typhon, where we have discovered a gift; a machine that will do more than change the tide.

Call it fate,

Call it evolution,

Call it what you will.

The truth is we have discovered our resolution, and in it lies a weapon with a powerful ability to fold space and time. We don’t know who built it, but we do know that is it quite old. And most importantly we have learned enough to bring it to life.

As we use this fold weapon, we will manipulate space time targeting anything we desire, sundering entire planets. Our restoration efforts in the mountains are nearly complete, but one task remains. We must complete a small scale test here first. To tune the power source, or the “Ark”, as our colleagues tend to call it.

Once we have accomplished this, we will transfer the power source, the Ark, to the full scale site and destroy one populated Militia planet and then another, until they capitulate. We will open an Einstein-Rosen bridge sending through thousands of concentrated gravitational waves. This will rip apart and sunder every molecule, every atom, and every living thing we target. Resulting in… total loss of life.

But lest we lose sight of the bigger picture, remember those losses are ultimately replaceable by the inexorable march of human reproduction. By decisively neutralizing the militia forces, we will in fact safeguard the existence of the human race, extending its reach and power towards a prosperous and bright future.

You can also listen to it, as I hyperlinked it before.


But take a moment to take all of this in, what does this mean, is he mad? Or is he entirely right in all he says? That’s entirely objective.

For someone fighting for the Militia, that means that it is personal, your home, and everything you fight for, threatened in an instant.

For the IMC? You are nothing but a terrorist, you’re destabilising the system with your revolts and pointless struggle if only you’d. . . Submit. They wouldn’t have to resort to such depths in their actions. Strong, immoral, maybe. But entirely, and completely, reasonable.

Think about it, the core worlds depend on The Frontier’s handiwork and resources, what happens when the Militia continue taking worlds that the IMC needs to help their core worlds. You destabilise Earth and the rest.

And as someone who sees both sides, I can’t help but agree with everything Marder is saying. It’s a strong handed decision that someone needs to take, the Militia needs to secede.

But, as I said, this is subjective, everyone will see this conflict differently, and that’s the beauty of it. Once you create a world and conflict with real intentions and issues, the lines become non-existent.

And I believe that’s the real gem of Titanfall 2. Real purpose.

And from now on, I will wait eagerly for everything Titanfall related. And hope for more like this.


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Now, let’s mention something else I wanted to talk about, in this short, but sweet post I have prepared for you all.

The dialogue options, and how clever it is to truly make you the character of this story while still retaining the personality of Rifleman, J. Cooper. And I can’t help but think that every FPS should innovate in this if we hope for the FPS genre to become a true and tried storytelling format that allows immersion and enjoyment of the story.

Halo 4 comes to mind in this regard, a true masterpiece of storytelling, that indeed sacrificed some of its immersion for some people to accommodate storytelling.

Imagine if we had these options in future Halo titles, and just like Titanfall 2, allow the time to run out between choices, allows you time to either respond or remain quiet. And that is very clever in what could be a great Halo title with storytelling such as Titanfall 2.

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There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain in this regard. And if Halo should borrow anything from Titanfall 2, it should be exactly this. And only this.


Author’s Notes:

However, I believe that’s all I should talk about this for now. If you wish to see more thorough thoughts from me in regards to the story of Titanfall 2 once I finish the game, please express your interest in it.

I am still, however, undergoing my journey through Destiny, but collecting enough notes, needless to say, my reception and thoughts of the story aren’t the best, though, I do have several good thoughts about it, and I am in the middle of reading through Grimoire to both benefit my understanding. . . And benefit you in how much the game is missing lore wise.

I am also, of course playing through BiA as well, I have plenty of thoughts about it and praise that I can’t wait to dump on you all.

But that’ll be all for today, and as always, live a good life, play Halo, and be safe.

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A Vanilla Experience – A Retrospective on Destiny.

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You can be a legend. . . For a couple bucks, I guess. 


So, I have been struggling a bit to think of how to start this, I even thought this would quite possibly be better suited for a video, possibly a 20-minute video at that. But I wouldn’t be any good at narrating this, so. . .

But I wouldn’t be any good at narrating this, so. . . Why don’t we start at the beginning? The beginning of my experience with Destiny Year 3, as a vanilla player.

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I am taken to the exact same page everyone is taken when they start their adventure, the character selection page. And of course, I already knew what I wanted, so I didn’t waste any time at getting at it.

I picked a Hunter, and I began from there, a Human Hunter. Very much representative of my past experiences with this game. Waiting to obtain great riches and hoping to obtain my own legend, using my enhanced mobility to my advantage.

I hit finish and I create my character, and then I was taken to that same old intro cutscene, the beautiful visuals of the men walking across the empty vast regions of Mars, up until arriving face first to where the Traveler laid low.

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Everything was going well, I get to the part where I begin my adventure. And the game crashes.

. . . I should’ve guessed this would be my experience with this, however.

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Connectivity issues aside, being either on Bungie’s end or mine, I restarted my game and began my adventure again. I rewatched the beautiful cutscenes and then, I woke up in the middle of this desolate land, with this. . . Obnoxiously voiced new Ghost by Nolan North.

Let’s say I liked Dinklebot’s grim, and sombre tone of voice more. It made him sound more knowledgeable, better than Nolan’s innocent and oblivious tone. But, here I was, beginning my experience with the game, from a vanilla copy. No DLC. No advantages.

I started my grind from zero. . . Granted, as being a resident of the third world country; Venezuela. I don’t have the capacity to take out $30 and waste them in a paid level boost.

However, I made my way inside the dark halls of the wall…  Peering my view inside as my Ghost’s light shined bright before me and illuminated the area in front of me, just barely. I made my way up and I found myself staring at a vast, dark space. And my ghost left my side, venturing deeper into the dark metallic chasm of this mysterious wall.

And then, the lights flutter to life, and I am found surrounded by this enemy all around me.

And, then conveniently a gun was in front of me after going through a door. Where did it come from? We don’t ask these things.

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Having played this mission before, I easily boosted through it, running like a mad man past enemies, bunny hopping my way to the outside world and then to the level 2 trigger once the ship is reached, having played through all of it before I knew exactly all that happened and it’s inner workings.

However, my journey didn’t end there, I was taken to the Tower, and once again that beautiful cutscene where we see the tower for the first time ensued. The atmosphere being grandiosely beautiful as the chills of seeing that scene again after a while, returned in kind.

But. . . That wouldn’t prepare me for the reality of Vanilla Destiny that hit the moment I stepped on the tower.

From this simple, obnoxiously simple book that continues to bleep giving out some sense of urgency and then once you go in to take that notification off, you’re met by the fact that you have to buy the DLC to actually make it stop.

To, the entire weekly raid selection being locked off to you from the start under the DLC, these are things that make the vanilla player’s experience diminishing. The game asks of you to whip out money to enjoy the fullest extent of it’s content, and while I understand it for things like the story missions and such.

Why is gear, weeklies and weapons locked off to you from the start except for a handful of things that are according to your vanilla status, but the rest is entirely locked off to you, in the fullest regard.

All of this is taking away the core experience of the game from you if you’re unlucky enough to own a standard copy of the game.

But, at the end of the day, to distract me from this, I did what any sane man can do. I played with friends. . .

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And, of course, it was a ton of fun to play with friends, we did patrols, missions and they helped me level up to 10 in one night and I was already halfway through the story, but of course, they being level 40, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I was being carried through the entirety of it.

So we decided to try out a higher difficulty. And what came next, really didn’t shock me. Being a Halo player I am used to going in missions with paramount odds against me when playing Legendary, I wanted this experience with them, something that made my time worth it and my agility and speed came into play like it has before in many playthroughs of Year 1.

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It started to get old at this point, it’s an unnecessary lock to something that is not going to benefit a vanilla player like me who’s still mounting up the ranks, at the end of the day outside of a feeling of accomplishment and adventure, I want that from this game. I want to be challenged and I want to use my character’s ability to the fullest exchange, but, just like everything else in this game. It’s entirely locked out from you.

I want to be challenged and I want to use my character’s ability to the fullest exchange, but, just like everything else in this game. It’s entirely locked out from you.

So, we just carried on, not looking back and focused on having fun. At least to an extent as the reminders that you have a game that is entirely locked off from every core experience and benefit is very apparent every second you play this game.

Well, we finished every mission on Earth, and then, we played Devil’s, Lair. . .

And we finished the mission in less than twenty minutes, Sepkis Prime being the easiest takedown I have ever experienced in this game while playing with two level 40s, there were no stakes involved in it, no urgency for you.

I can carry on retelling the story of Destiny Vanilla through my eyes and my experiences as I carried on upon my ‘legend’ or dare I say, my ‘destiny’. But there’s really nothing good I can say about it, the good of the game came from the gameplay, and my friends jerking around with me.

I can legitimately say, that I only died in this game five times, three of which were through falling off the map unaware. The stakes in everything are so diminished it’s almost non-existent, and if you want a challenge, you’re not gonna get it unless you waste your money on this.

And keyword being; waste’, this is the most critically acclaimed scam I have ever experienced, all the fun it can offer and all the good times with friends that it can give you are just not enough justification to waste your money on a half-baked franchise.

From discussions with my friends, I have learned that there’s more to the story outside the game than I could ever imagine. A game, advertise for the story and a huge world where you can play with your friends, has legitimately no story whatsoever unless you read the Grimoire cards, and that’s another issue, however, that’s an issue I will tackle more in-depth at a later time.

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Just to not keep running on a tangent, I will briefly mention some of the things I noticed myself, from the reef being barely of any substance, looking at that horizon, I can just see the failed promises that this game had, from trading to exploring the derelict ship Cassini.

Many things of which caused me to want to fall in love with the game, and I want to, I really do. However, I don’t feel any urgency to. This game fails to captivate me and others at every turn, there’s no Cairo Station, no Scarab Battle, no Truth assassination. There’s nothing for me to feel compelled to love this game.

And the answer to make me love this universe lies within the Grimoires, then I am thoroughly disappointed.

Nothing good comes from this game in its end game. If you’re a vanilla player, you’re left out of things that potentially make the game for others or things that are part of the core experience of this game.

And this is an awful practice that has plagued the industry in the last couple of years, whoever has the bigger wallet, shamefully wins. And this game is, sadly, no different.

However, let’s put aside what it does wrong, and let’s focus on what it achieves, despite locking you of half the experience of what it legitimately does good.

Social play, I have never experienced such a fun game to play with friends before, this was also true for Day 1 and Year 1, My friends kept me coming back and gripping the edge of my seat to see what we do next today.

Friends are the sole reason why you play this game, not for the game itself. And that’s something that Bungie should hope to capitalise on its fun factor and expand the game enough so that both factors are continually making you come back to their game and enjoy it.

Patrol missions are excuse enough to play with your friends – Though, I’d suggest adding a six-player fireteam cap to it – the public events and the random events that happen in select areas causing the NPCs to fight each other like the Taken Corruption are really, really fun.

There’s no way to describe the laughter I had when my console almost overheated with the number of enemies that appeared on the screen. It was ridiculously fun and good.

They’re so close to creating the perfect game, a game you keep installed forever and keeps you coming back every single day, this is what they can achieve, but greed is apparently too. . . Tempting, and oh, so strong.

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However, from the fun times to the disappointments I had with Destiny, I can conclude that it is, of course, not a bad game it does a lot of good in its experience, but it’s execution and handling is a scam.

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No amount of fun times, clever gameplay, beautiful visuals or even the experiences you can make with your friends along the way; really excuses the scam that is Destiny.

And as such, Destiny 2 must mark an improvement, a step away from setups like it’s predecessor. Doing so would open the game up to more than those who have a big wallet… Destiny 2 should strive to include everyone, not just those who buy the DLC, Day-1 players are important too, Vanilla players.

You gotta give us an excuse to care and want to come back if you lock us out, there’s little to no reason to want to do anything.

So at the end of the day, the journey really only ended. . . Back at the beginning. 

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Author’s Notes:

Now that this post has come to an end, I’d like to give a quick announcement/promotion towards Pictorial Hand at the HaloArchive, if you’re a Halo fan, if you’ve done anything that you’d like showcased and promoted, be it music, art, fan fiction, amongst others. Feel free to tweet at us at @HaloArchive, @AdvJones and @HaruspexOfHell and we’ll find a space for each piece!

We’re working hard on incentivising community creations, so if you have created something you’d like to show off, hit us up!

Also, be on the lookout for other posts from me, I will be going through the story fidelity of Destiny later on, from Vanilla to Rise of Iron in Story Fidelity – Analysing the Story of Destiny.

And I will be accounting some of the events that led up to Halo 5: Guardians’ ultimate objective failures, in Halo 5: Guardians – A Stolen Marvel. 

A Roman in Blue Chapter 4; City of Fire is also coming in nicely, 3,000 words and counting.

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Be sure to join us at the Halo Archive Forums! You’ll be sure to find a good time there and friends!

Also, the ProgressiveHalo Discord has been open for a while! Here’s a link to it; https://discord.gg/nzJThck

We’ve got plenty of cool stuff coming in, so be on the lookout for that as well. And as always, be sure to be safe, live your life, and play Halo. . . And other games, but especially Halo.

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)

Reimagining the Fall – A Halo: Reach Retcon.

 

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You know the end, this is the beginning.


Now, I know what you’re saying, we’ve been over this whole thing a thousand times over, what can you bring to the table this time over?

Well, my answer is simple, I’m not aiming to yell at you how this is a piece of trash that needs to be removed from existence, rather the opposite actually, I want this story to remain with us for the years to come, I want it to become better than it is, and having watched Rogue One literally yesterday, I seem to have a new appreciation for this game’s story and desire for it to be the better game in the series.

But how do we do that? Well, the short answer is that we must retcon this story or portions of it, redo this from scratch, that way it fits in the overarching story of the universe and makes sense.

Now, I am not yearning for a retcon of Noble Team, actually, I want them to be the best characters we’ve had to date, how do we do that, though? We expand their characters in-game, and we make Levi’s bloody comic canon for god’s sake. 

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We build on the characters that Levi built, the way Levi wrote Noble Team is ten times better than anything Bungie did with this game, which I seem to recall a certain cave scene in the middle of the first arc of the game, which I don’t really see much wrong with it, it just needed more character in there, more development, about as close as it gets to being genuine is through Jorge-052, our gentle giant.

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Now, let’s retcon most of the first half. Let’s start our story elsewhere, through the eyes of SPARTAN-B312, a first mission before we get thrown into the howling dark of Reach and its impending doom.

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Our new story starts here, with Noble Six, in the middle of an ongoing strike operation against an HVT (High-Valuable Target.) We don’t play it at first rather instead we see the sheer skill of Six through a silent, first cutscene where he sneaks into an insurrectionist camp in an outer colony, we’ve got nothing but an M6C/SOCOM in our hands, the game gives us control and we move through the retrofitted UNSC base with URF logos painted over the once scratched UNSC logos.

We mow through the Innies, killing them one by one, or striking them head-on, however, you’d like to proceed with the mission, and we meet up with our HVT, cut to black, cutscene start playing and we see the true nature of Six in this moment, the lone wolf hunting his prey, this moment the man frantic and scared, reaches for the nearest weapon to him, raises and fires at Six, which is deflected by the energy shield.

To which Six responds with raising his pistol and putting a bullet in between his target’s eyes without any hint of remorse as he then clips his magnum into his magnetic holster and proceeds to leave the scene, and here we cut to black once more and we begin to listen to a certain familiar melody, we hear the drums hitting hard, as the screen shows us “Reach” written on it on a white background, and yet another image of Six’s helmet in his own hands as he stares at it on a warthog, the driver attempts to do some small talk that gets quickly shrugged off by six as everything we see we see it through his eyes.

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“Awful big fish needing a glorified cab all the way out here, sir” The marine beside six speaks and six stares at him for a few seconds before pulling on his helmet and the HUD booting up around his visor. “We’re coming in, sir.” 

Two fly birds fly low ahead as Six looks up and the screen changes view, as we see those two falcons flying by as we see the scene with the warthog that we know and love, heading straight for that base which we actually see on the horizon.

It doesn’t take long as we cut to another scene where we see the fly birds landing by the parked warthog, seeing plenty of UNSC Army troopers jogging about the base and Six walks past two landed Falcons, one of which harboured Jun sitting inside it loading his weapon. And we enter a room full of Spartans next, our first team, and we’re being transferred here.

From lone wolf to a team player. 

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I guess you can see where I am going here, subtle changes, enhancing the experience, etcetera. These characters don’t have to be removed, the story doesn’t have to go away. We just need to find a way to fix it and this is the best way I can go about it.

So, welcome, to the new Halo: Reach. Get some coffee, sit down, boot up Overture from the Halo: Reach soundtrack and read.

Reimagining the fall. . .

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At first glance there’s quite a bit wrong with this game, at least, if you know stuff from The Fall of Reach, or any other piece of media set on this beautiful rock called Reach and at a first glance you could think I hate this story too, but the truth is that I don’t I have probably spent more hours on this game than Halo 3, though less than ODST that’s for sure.

I remember the first time I played through Tip of the Spear, the music, the setting, the warthogs ready for battle followed closely by a small contingent of falcons and as that battle ensued you could see the Paris-class frigates dropping in, long story short, it was fairly amazing.

So, what I am seeing is that there’s not much we need to change, and why is that? Because most of it is already perfect, from the sabres to the ONI Sword Base, it was amazing.

What we need to change, however, is the run of the game, how long certain things last, the character development, etcetera. We need more character in this game where most of them quite frankly feel like a piece of bland cookie, their deaths don’t leave anything to most of us and whether we like them or not is left entirely to subjection, and subjectiveness is a two-way blade if used wrong. This entire story and the game uses this wrong.

Mistakes we need to correct:

  • Ignoring The Fall of Reach
  • Characters lacking every sense of development and personality.
  • Lacking explanations on several occasions.
  • Disconnection from the overarching story of the Halo Universe in the long run
  • Start and End cutscenes of the planet glassed and the planet terraformed.
  • The Pillar of Autumn’s presence at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Now, how do we fix these? Well, for the most part, it is easy, let’s give the characters more dialogue, give them good, solid dialogue, something very genuine, we know Emile had an older brother that sacrificed himself for Emile, play with that card a little, give the strong, stoic man a moment of softness, don’t just let him follow the badass trope, give him a genuine characterisation. “I’m ready! How ’bout you!

Jorge, he’s a bloody Spartan-II, take a card from Aiken, make him wiser, but very twisted in mind, caring for those in his world and his everlasting attachment to it due to something he did to someone, maybe he experienced the sight of a mourning child after he himself executed the parent who was a target and a known Innie. “Reach has been good to me, It’s time to return the favour.

Kat, She’s strong, confident, smart, but she’s an insecure little girl, whose confidence boost is knowing things, getting everything she can from different uplinks either covenant or UNSC because she can, she’s frightened by the Covenant and Glassings, build up on that. “I know we’re losing, I want to know if we’ve lost.

Carter, he’s easy going, smart, the best tactician around, he trusts his team and his team trusts him, give him human moments, insecure about orders, let him be wise but caring of his team like any leader is. Not just be ready to go to battle after every single mission. Give him something meaningful to fight after, aspirations that he obtained after he stood there in front of his future armour fresh out of augmentation. “You’re on your own Noble, Carter out.”

Jun, the quiet, smart, caring human of the group, he grows attached to his targets not through love but by compassion, but he still pulls the trigger, he is ever vigilant, attentive, recognises patterns. Perhaps suffers from PTSD from combat against the Covenant. Build upon him with the little seeds spattered across his character from his newest appearances on Initiation and more. “I kill the enemy, but do not hate them.”

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Build up on them throughout the game, either gameplay or cutscenes, this is where I think ‘idle’ missions or lowered weapons missions could work out perfectly if done the right way, alleviates some of the weight from cutscenes and provides a special moment for characters to be built upon before the next mission, and there’s plenty of missions in Reach that could work with these, three of them at the least, the one after Exodus, before Exodus itself, it would have been a great moment to develop Six, the lone wolf lost in the middle of nowhere after he fell from space and saw the loss of Jorge firsthand, first lane to the disappearance of half a bloody ship. That’s a great moment for a mission very much a-la Uncharted 3 with the Sahara Desert.

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Carter’s death, how did he get wounded? Explain this, show the plasma bolts hitting him. Emile’s death is perfect as is, develop him more, make his words carry even more weight you can develop him when he and Six are the last ones standing from the Noble Contingent.

Here we have fixed two main issues, lack of characterisation and lack of explanation, easy fixes, make some of these cutscenes longer, provide more dialogue, etc.

Now, how do we connect to TFoR? Easy, acknowledge the events more, acknowledge Red Team heading down to the generator, acknowledge the fall of Gamma Station, etc, you can easily do this through radio chatter and making the one cutscene at the end of Long Night of Solace longer, showing us the start of the engagement in orbit. Acknowledge the events up until Long Night of Solace happen before TFoR’s engagements.

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That makes it four issues straight out of the way, what’s next? The Intro and Outro cutscenes, don’t show them. Show them at the end of the credits connecting both cutscenes together showing us the glassed and terraformed landscape of Reach, along with Halsey’s speech, give us that sense of hope, after you have taken it all from us in the game, you know the end, this is the beginning remember your own catchphrase? Yeah. Use it literally.

So that leaves one last issue, and this one is a big one, as it can lead and make the story much better and even more memorable.


The Pillar Of Autumn.

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You can argue many things about this point and time in the game, yeah, it is badass, yeah, it is a plot hole, etc.

But the one thing we all fail to see is the sole purpose as to why it was there in the first place, this was Bungie’s sendoff to the series, they wanted that last bit of nostalgia and they wanted us to see such a gracious ship to give us that last sense of goosebumps they could take from us, while still taking more from us at the end of the game, letting us see the Installation 04 and the PoA approaching it slowly as we listen to the original theme once again,

“Cortana all I need to know, is did we lose them.” 

“I think we both know the answer to that.”

As the mood slowly builds up back to Reach’s theme.

This entire moment, was there to serve as a massive sendoff and goodbye from Bungie that quite frankly didn’t work and they ignored their own lore in the process. Though, what if I could tell you that they could’ve made this better and they could’ve made it fit, you’d believe me? Because I have the perfect way to close this game.

Alright, remember this?

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The UNSC Andraste, what if we could use it to make this whole thing better, let’s give it a try.

Instead of the giant bird on the ground, the modified Halcyon-class that we all know and love, what if this was the one bird waiting for us, it is rated for atmosphere, it is quick and it certainly doesn’t interfere with the canon, so let’s do this.

Nothing is changed, we proceed to make a run for the shipyard and graveyard, you race Emile in that last moment as Emile speaks over the radio with you about him, how his brother saved him, etc, something about being alone has made his obsidian armour crack. He’s laughing about some stuff, you listen to him, Six replies a few times and you hear his voice inside your helmet.

But this comes to a stop as you find yourself coming closer to your objective and Emile gets back to business, the closer you get the more enemies you find, Yamn’ee, Unggoy, Sangheili, Jiralhanae, etc.

You reach the launch pad and final destination, you have to help the marines clear it as Emile head up and to the Onager on the platform above, you finish the engagements, a pelican comes down and you’re greeted by an old, worn scruffy officer.

The dialogue plays out the same, there are no changes, only that it isn’t Keyes meeting you there. As Keyes would be fending off the Covenant on orbit and making time for John to return and the Frigate to get up there.

Officer: “Good to see you Spartan, Halsey assured me I could count on you”

Six: “Not just me, sir.”

Officer: “They’ll be remembered…” 

Officer: “Cruiser! Adjusting heading for the Andraste, Noble Four I need fire on that cruiser or we’re not getting out of here! Do you copy?”

Emile: “You’ll have your window sir..” 

Officer: “Bridge. This is the Captain we have the package, returning to the autumn, over.”

This is where we’re forced to watch Emile get taken out by the Sangheili sneaking up on the Onager through the Phantom that Emile missed, and we hear the always remembered last words of Emile and Six then going

“Negative, I have the gun.” 

To which the officer replies with “Good luck to you… Spartan.” 

Keyes or not, this takes nothing away from the weight of the scene, only that sense of nostalgia we get seeing the behemoth of a man that is Keyes standing there. Saying his last goodbyes to this group of valiant Spartans.

We all know what happens here, though, we get on the gun, we shoot down a few phantoms in sheer badassery and then we fire at the cruiser’s beam as it prepares to fire and we let the ship escape, the only thing though is that this time it was the Paris-class heavy cruiser, UNSC Andraste 

The ship gets loose from the couplings on the launch station, takes off and it is quickly followed by a small escort of frigates and longswords that took off from the same shipyard as the cruiser moves away, you quickly lose sight of the frigates and we’re left alone, on Reach awaiting impending doom that comes to both you and the planet. Here the screen cuts to black.

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We get another cutscene, we see the frigates run past a blockage of Covenant ships, one instantly goes boom as it rams a covenant cruiser, we see a group of UNSC ships still fighting in the horizon and our objective The Pillar of Autumn fending off a group of Covenant squatters as the cutscene cuts and we are placed in the cockpit of a Longsword fighter commandeering it as a simple Army pilot as the original theme of the Autumn plays in the background and you’re tasked with the defence of the ships, you see them blow up substantially one by one except for the Andraste as it links up with the Autumn a pelican being immediately dispatched once they’re in close enough proximity with the package, and you’re tasked with escorting it as you then see the Andraste blow up in your rear view.

The Pelican makes it to the Autumn’s hangar deck, safely as your pilot yells to the autumn “Autumn, break off! I say again, break off!-” To which is cut short and all you see is a ball of fire as your fighter goes up in flames and your pilot gets ejected straight out of the Longsword’s window and we see the autumn breaking off from orbit and running away from the planet as it started a random jump sequence and we see it jump as your pilot slowly dies and you see everything through his eyes drifting in space among wreckage and cold corpses.

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Thus, we cut back to Noble Six, walking into this big place, looking at the bodies of fellow Spartans scattered across the field as he moves across it slowly paying attention to each and every one of them in a cutscene as he crouches down and checks on the gear of one of them, searching for any identification just to know who laid before him and they were the Spartans of Gauntlet whose last resting place was the same place of their last stand against the Covenant after finishing their mission and staying behind.

Six continues on as he walks upon a platform and looks up into the sky and looks around him as all he can see is red and incoming Covenant forces. hreach_-_lone_wolf_opening

And with no other thing to do, Six performs his last task of business among his brothers and sisters.

Objective: Survive. 

Some glimmer of hope, of survival as you get placed on Six’s boots, grab your weapon and start fending off against unlimited hordes of Covenant forces one by one you drop them as your visor slowly starts to break before you until it finally gives in and you leave your helmet behind as the cutscene starts playing.

And subsequently, Six ends up giving his own life. Dying in battle.

Thus, the screen cuts to black, and we see a last glance into the game, we see a calm sight of Installation 04 and a very familiar sight as we see a Class-3 Bumblebee falling from the sky and crashing nearby, followed by the sight of the Autumn crashing in shortly after. Cut to black with the Halo theme sounding in the background ever so gently. 

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Here’s where we get the credits, connecting directly to Halo: Combat Evolved & Halo: The Fall of Reach perfectly honouring new characters and being the massive send off that Bungie wanted it to be.

It achieves to tell a new story, it achieves to be open to all players and it achieves at being, quite frankly what could be one of the best Halo games by far.

So, where do the outro and intro cutscenes fit? At the end of the credits of the game, albeit much movie-like, but it achieves to feel right at home in my opinion if you merge both cutscenes together and Halsey’s speech as well as that sense of emotion that will be incremented by ten through seeing Six’s helmet at the end of everything. It feels right at home, serves its purpose and thus, finishes Bungie’s last submission to the franchise like a huge explosion of nostalgia, emotion and amazing story coupled with amazing missions.

And this, however, is only but one man’s dream and his perfect Halo: Reach. One that never happened, and probably will never happen.

But one can dream, right?


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And this is the end of this chapter, reimagining the Fall, of Reach.

It was quite a ride writing this one, feel free to correct me in some stuff you see worth correcting and feel free to disagree.

But this is my perfect Halo: Reach, and I am sure many can agree that this could be their perfect Reach as well.

And as always, be good, live your life and play Halo all the time, boys.

A Reflection of John-117 – An Incredible Life and a Possible Death.

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We’ve all known the story of John, maybe no the full story in the case of some, as the claims that he was originally birthed as a husk, an empty being, a vessel. Throughout Halo CE, 2 and 3, we only saw but a glimpse of the major character he composes in the universe.

John has been entirely built for the mainstream media with the entire believe that he is this badass being, this demigod, someone who will not die in any way or form, he’s bigger than the world and he’s bigger than the galaxy.

Having defeated countless enemies singlehandedly in the games, we’re led to believe that he’s all that stood between our total annihilation and our victory, that he is the sole reason we won, he and only he.

But that’s not all that he is, and he is so much more than just a soldier behind a mask. He is many things.

The Hero, the Saviour, the Child, the Abductee, the Warrior, the Soldier, the Friend.

From his early beginnings, he’s struggled in his life to overcome hardships, even since he was a kid in that circle he stood on testing his ground and fending off any odds that would come to his doorstep, fighting his way through life, through pain and hardship.

It is at that point that he becomes the man we needed him to be, the warrior. Which would bring him on, to endure many other hardships in the future

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From his first day in boot camp, he knew what to do, when to do it and how to do it, although it would take him some getting used to, he would still endure anything that would be thrown at him, in any way he needed. He would come to become a leader, the rightful alpha of the Spartan-II Program.

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And from his first day, he also knew pain and fear. And as such, Spartans were trained to know pain, and so, to endure it all. Anything that would come their way.

But in all of this, John was forged from incredible hardship, becoming close to the members of a team of the greatest soldiers alive, that only he would lead, and so he did, learning early on what is the cost of sacrifice. The difference between spent lives and those wasted.

Mendez stared at John with his impenetrable black eyes. He glanced at the squad, then back to John. “Walk with me.” He led John to the view screen. He stood and watched as the last of the canisters vanished into the darkness.
“A leader must be ready to send the soldiers under his command to their deaths,” Mendez said without turning to face John. “You do this because your duty to the UNSC supersedes your duty to yourself or even your crew.”
John looked away from the view screen. He couldn’t look at the emptiness anymore. He didn’t want to think of his teammates—friends who were like brothers and sisters to him—forever lost.
“It is acceptable,” Mendez said, “to spend their lives if necessary.” He finally turned and meet John’s gaze. “It is not acceptable, however, to waste those lives. Do you understand the difference?”
“I . . . believe I understand, sir,” John said. “But which was it on this last mission? Lives spent? Or lives wasted?”
Mendez turned back toward the blackness of space and didn’t answer.

Though he would never obtain an answer from Mendez as it was objective at the time, as time passed life answered his own question. The difference between a wasted life and a life spent. This would come with a slap in the face, however, more than the gentle caress of a lover.

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As his best friend, Samuel-034, ultimately sacrificed his own life after his MJOLNIR Mark IV suit was breached by plasma fire. He understood then, what he hadn’t before as his best friend fell to the HAVOK Nuke they had installed just minutes before after boarding an enemy craft.

He would come to endure many hardships of this kind, he knew he would, and so he did, losing almost his entire Company throughout the war, from augmentation, those who became stranded, it is no wonder that John has the weight of the world on his shoulders, as broad as they may be, he’s endured many losses. He carries the weight of every death in his shoulders.

He is broken, immensely so, but yet he remains ever stoic, he remains a husk from his own emotions by choice as he feels his job is greater than anything, but his job is to safeguard his friends, his family, not only acting as the main line of defense to whatever odd comes to the doorstep of humanity.

His life has been entirely given to the service of humanity, of the greater good, and to his family, whatever is left of it. He’s chosen this life that was chosen for him, and he will see it through to the end. Whatever the cost.

“Last time we were here, I asked Sam to trust me to take us home. To follow me. Will you trust me now, will you follow me?”

screenshot-363And as we see, he’s back with Blue Team, his friends, his family, whatever is left of it. Just four people and he stood there, asking if they will follow him once again, a question which we obviously know the answer of; but what of the outcome? What would it be of John? To what measures will he go, to protect the last remainder of his family.

And the answer is simple, he’ll exhaust everything he has in his repertoire, including his life. No matter how lucky, no matter how hard it will be.

And as we’ve seen, he’s endured everything life has thrown at him, everything, whether it was luck, an unwillingness to go quietly into the night, or skill, is debatable. What is for certain is that he did it for them, he saw everything through in the name of his brothers and sisters, those who gave their lives, those who he had forced to be spent, those who were still around, those wasted and those missing.

He gave his everything because he wasn’t ready to die, not in Installation 04, not in Mombasa, not even in the Ark as Thel stood beside him creating a friendship out of the asunder and ashes of the word that Thel bore in his mind as he stood back-to-back with this Sangheili whom John called friend.

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He found that he was not ready to die each and every time, but it wasn’t until he fought the Didact the last time, that he truly realised this in his own mind, he knew it, he wasn’t ready to die. After having lost Cortana, after having lost almost everything.

“I knew someday I would die in battle, but now that it is here… Now that it is my time to die… I find, I am not ready.”

He wasn’t, not at all, especially not with the last remainder of his family in danger of dying to the very same aggressor that held him so tight. But of course something had broken in him, even if he had continued fighting on after this through every odd, he was still, of course, broken and he knew it.

His days would be numbered from this point forward. And a very possible death would set its path onwards from this point, and how do you bring such a behemoth of a character to his final resting place? On a blaze of glory, you’d think. But no, not this way, not in a million years. It would go against everything his character showcases.

He would not want to be elevated above anyone else, given that special death, it would ultimately break his character and the true perception of it. How so? Well, we know it in a narrative that has been pushed all throughout.

“The queen doesn’t sacrifice herself to collect a pawn!”

“At the end of the game, the queen and the pawn go in the same box…”

It has always been there, in plain sight, from Cortana’s birth which these were the following words she uttered when she was activated in Italian.

From this sole quote, said by John after he took the bullet for Sam when they went after Watts. I know the exact death I would give him, and I know, I know this might sound like some kind of heresy or blasphemy. But think about it, it is true, you know it so.

The death I would give to John, and the death he deserves and would want is to die like a dog, in the middle of the battlefield. Just another strategic casualty. Among corpses, his death unknown to everyone and living on as a legend with just his legacy to be simply marked as ‘MIA’ as just another corpse in the wet dirt, covered in plasma, ionised particles and gunpowder residue, a last grand battle for humanity of epic proportions which will be eventually forgotten by history.

In John’s eyes, I believe this would be the rightful death if it meant saving his family… Or be laid to rest among them.

And that is the incredible life and a very possible death Of John-117.


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The Hero, the Saviour, the Child, the Abductee, the Warrior, the Soldier, the Friend… The Dog of War. 

On a last note, before we bring this reflection to a close, he doesn’t need a badass-being-badass death, he doesn’t need to die in blaze of glory of immense proportions alone and surrounded a la Noble Six, because what ultimately makes him badass is his legacy, his complex character, the depth of his emotions that are so scarcely thrown into the screen.

He will live through in his actions as a badass to all of us, his legacy is what makes him badass.

He does not need a death to cement what is already cemented. Both in-universe and out of it, he deserves to live on as a legend and as a monument to his actions through an unfortunate and slow death on the battlefield amongst rattled corpses. As a reminder that war isn’t fair.

And I simply cannot think of a better example, than a real life figure of heroism and valour. who died in battle at Iwo Jima on February the 19th, 1945. Sergeant John Basilone.

Basilone’s Death as Depicted in The Pacific

And on that note, I shall bring this to a close, for any of you to decide whether you support this idea or not. Either way, it is just the thoughts of a man, on a screen about what he thinks would be best for a character so beloved.

As always, keep on keeping on, see you next time. Possibly with a new story.

Cheers!