Greetings Halo fans! It has been a while since I’ve made a post here on Halsey’s Journal, but you’d be surprised how little time working towards a teaching credential leaves me. Still, I’ve managed to read/listen to Halo: Fractures on Audible and through the Kindle app and perused Halo: Mythos and all of its glory. However, I’m not here to talk about those things but rather something that came to my mind recently. Kevin Grace, managing editor and franchise director at 343, said in a recent interview with Forbes that,
“We’ve definitely taken back fan feedback from the recent games, Halo 4 and Halo 5 in particular, and specifically around the complexity of the story. We need to have a deep story. We need to reward fans who have been in the universe for a long time, and have read all the books, and played all the previous games, and know what’s going on on that deep level. But we also need to make sure that the story can stand completely on it’s own. If you come in and haven’t played [[insert all Halo games here]] that you can completely enjoy and understand the story that’s right in front of you.”
While I remain skeptical about the effectiveness at trying to please two sides of a diametrically opposite coin regarding the story, I get Grace’s point. This leads to me wonder if a possible solution has already been put into practice by 343 Industries and could be used again. What I am referring to is the Hunt the Truth audio drama. Those who caught each new episode of Hunt the Truth were treated to an intense and highly personal Halo story following journalist Benjamin Giraud uncovering the truth of the Spartan-II Program while falling into a conspiracy spearheaded by ONI that essentially paints the actual truth of the S-II Program as your run-of-the-mill kooky conspiracy theory and discredits Ben’s career. Giraud would later be imprisoned in ONI’s Midnight Facility prison and broken on a mental level. ONI agent/rebel leader impersonator Maya Sankar would lead in the second season of Hunt the Truth which built up to the release of Halo 5: Guardians.
While still outside lore material, Hunt the Truth was accessed by many people who weren’t just devoted consumers of the Halo lore across the Halo community. It’s relevance to Halo 5 is still debated, but I think at the core this form of presentation of the lore may be a good way to bridge the lore gap. You can have important story information presented in small chunks and in a manner more approachable than the books and comics are. With the new status quo of the Halo universe involving the Created, the potential for podcast-style stories present plenty of ways to show this new galactic reality in multiple genres. You can have stories billed as news reporting on a Created-run colony, personal diaries of people living under the Created, philosophical musings of AIs debating going to the Created, the sky is the limit. Benjamin Giraud could even return to the story after being released from Midnight Facility and track how he reacts to the new normal. We could even have characters like Governor Sloan come back to see how they are holding up.
One stumbling block that I see with this is time and resources. I’m sure Hunt the Truth took a lot of time to make with voice actors needing to be scheduled, sound effects produced, and the story needing to be written. Money is probably another issue, but 343 Industries may be in a situation that can address this issue. If REQ Packs are here to stay, why not use some of the funds generated from that to help fund these podcasts? I also would not be opposed to a paid-subscription service for these podcasts either. I actually contribute monthly to a program called The Thomas Jefferson Hour and I feel that is money well-spent on entertainment I enjoy. Just something to consider.
“When the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.”