"Questions... Morphology? Longevity? Incept dates?"
"Don't know, I don't know such stuff."
Last week in my article on the almost perfect story that was Prototype, and the characterization of Ghost, I spoke of narrative craftsmanship. I've actually talked about this subject quite a few times, but never had a an issue of Full Circe dedicated to the discussion of narrative longevity and what makes or breaks a universe on the verge of cultural revolution. No longer, because this week I'm going to be laying out some hard truths. Truths that may, depending on your vestment into the franchise, be difficult to read. But this has to be said, if not for the fanbase of Halo, then for the talented folks at 343 Industries. We can no longer pretend that Halo does not have a major flaw, a crippling fault within its foundation.
Imagine for a moment a perfect structure, an edifice of monolithic proportions that towers over the skyline. Windows shimmering with pearlescence, and a spire that reaches upwards in defiance of gravity. Millions of people come and go from the building, enjoying the offerings held within its staggered floors. All is not well, however. From the exterior, the structure seems a work of perfection; the interior a luxurious landscape. But deep within the foundation and skeleton of the structure are faults, cracks and weakened supports. The designers say this building, this monolith, will last hundreds of years. But the engineers the architects hired to erect the structure, did not have the insight, nor knowledge, of how to build such a massive skyscraper. They were accustomed to constructing smaller, less intricate facilities, but nothing like this. Over time, their lack of knowledge began to have an impact. Creaks in the walls and cracks in the foundation made their way to the streets and walkways. They had no capacity to maintain the structure, to ensure its longevity.
One day, when the foundation could take no more, it collapsed. The promise of a hundred year structure, lost and never fulfilled. If only those who built it had the knowledge and experience to craft such a monolith, and the future planning needed to maintain it.
Building a massive structure, is much like building an intricate and complex narrative universe. You construct it properly and maintain it, and it will last for generations. Because if you do not, it will most certainly crumble away.
What makes us, as a species, so successful and unique within Earth's long and storied biological history? Most would say it is due to our cranial lobes being slightly larger than other mammals, and in turn being able to hold more complex brains. After all, this biological evolution led to our species being the first to settle down and invent agriculture. No longer did our species need to hunt and gather, now we could stay in one place and develop language, culture, art and society. Most folks I ask this question to say it is that, or our technology which has led us to build an entire society around the notion of the betterment of all mankind.
I don't think that is what makes us so unique, and while I certainly find the above an indicator as to why we are so successful, I do not see it as the set of traits which makes us, human. Instead, I see our ability to develop abstract thoughts and emotions such as compassion, intellectualism, philosophy and to realize self change. Yes, these things can all be attributed to a larger cranium, but the choice to come to a self realization and act on that notion is not something an electrically operated biological organ can do on its own.
To see something, react and change your entire person around that realization is something unique to humans. The ability to change who we are, psychologically, is at the apex of our achievement.
And this leads to one of the least talked about characters within the Halo universe. Which is ironic, being that he is perhaps the most staggeringly accurate representation of what is truly means to be human, within the entirety of the franchise.
During the winter nights, my home cities of Seattle, Washington and San Diego, California have almost pristine skys. Miles away from the city lights, the cloudless weather gives way to the Milky Way dust cloud, inhabited by billions of stars and other galaxies. Across the sky, light years away I always ponder if there is a civilization, like our own, wondering where everyone is. Because filling the void of time and space is nothing but background radiation, and silence.
Surely, in our own galaxy or other's there are advanced civilizations in contact with one another. Perhaps they share a common biological lineage, tracing their origins back to a comet, planet hopping across their galaxy depositing the seeds of life. Or, perhaps they are the culmination of a million years of research, and were the end result of an even more advanced civilization who decided to try their hand at the ultimate form of technological expression. The creation of life.
We trace our own biology back billions of years, when Earth was but a super heated ball of rock and gases. The first microbes formed, and then life exploded. But where did the life come from, what are the origins to our own creation? And more importantly, why are we so isolated from the rest of the galaxy?
Halo has a diverse universe of cultures, races and species. Although Humanity is at the center stage of Halo's fiction, the other races within the galaxy have a rich lineage. For better or for worse, they are all connected to one another. Not by the chance of biology, but by a civilization unlike any other, The Precursors.
To understand how Halo's various races are connected, and where their biological evolutionary lineage diverges we need to look at how our own galaxy could have been seeded with life. And why we may be living in a galaxy teaming with biology. It's a great journey worth taking.
.The growing pains of a space-faring species are a long and bloody affair. Look at our own civilization for example. Since the day our species learned to fashion sticks of wood into spears, or chisel obsidian into arrow tips; we have found new ways to viciously kill one another. Over thousands of years our weapons became more and more advanced, but the battlefields remained the same. Urban cities, endless fields, farmlands, river valleys, heat scorched deserts and frozen tundra. Humanity has waged war on itself across the planet, and in the future, possibly in other star systems or alien worlds.
But there is one environment which every soldier dreads, the forest. Behind every sky reaching tree and overgrown foliage the enemy may lie in wait. Underneath the moss covered ground may lie a booby trap or mine. And on top of it all, the air is thick with humidity and the heat unbearable. Your sweat sticks to you, trapping in more and more heat.
During the Vietnam War, which lasted almost two decades in the jungles of Vietnam, United State's army soldiers aptly named it "The Suck." And yes, it did indeed suck. Interestingly enough, Halo had its own version of jungle warfare. From 2162 to 2163 various nations fought in the forests of South America, and like all battles, it lead to an all out conflict lasting well over a decade.
A Halo fan since the beginning, 2001. Also a games industry consultant, writer, and educator. These are my thoughts, praise and advice concerning the past, present and future narrative of the Halo franchise.
Halo, all assets within, characters and merchandise are property of the Microsoft Corporation and is developed by its subsidiary 343 Industries.
I do not own, claim to own or retain any rights to the Halo franchise. This is a fan based work, and is strictly non-profit.
All other images, articles linked, materials and franchises that are not strictly specified as my own are property of their respective owners.
A More Complete Look At The Halo Franchise
Written, Researched, Produced And Published By Halo-Nation member "Synth Samurai"
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