“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of the infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.”
Imagine that you are now apart of a massive war, endless conflict that has continued for hundreds of thousands of years. Not war in the sense of human nature, or our own history being rife with conflict, but one of interstellar travel where time is a far more horrific enemy that the physical forms you fight. Returning home in this war, is far worse than any injury of psychological toll.
Everyone you know will be dead, cities will have fallen and risen in your absence. Perhaps, entire continents have shifted. Maybe by some stretch of luck, the war will have ended when you return. Not likey. It takes you and your army hundreds of thousands of years to reach the battlefields of the war which is being waged There is no faster than light travel, there is no slipspace. Physics dictates that those technologies cannot exist within our perception of quantum mechanics, and the universe. You will be frozen, preserved for untold years until you reach your destination. You fight, you win. Another planet has been freed from enemy hands. It doesn't feel like a victory, however. Because the people you have fought for will be long since dead, or will not remember you when you finally return home.
You are William Mandella, the protagonist of Joe Haldeman's masterpiece work of science fiction, The Forever War.
Halo has the oppertunity to become a narrative for all time, for all people. Often times, for this to come to pass, a story needs many threads. Even more so, roads which lead to both interesting, and terryfying realms of thought.
We are a species comprised of various cultures, ideologies, political affiliations and many other factors. We draw borders to segregate ourselves from those who do not share our values, or identity. Often times, these borders are tested, and conflict becomes an inevitable reality. For thousands of years war has been ingrained into our DNA, our very civilization. When armed conflict breaks out, the brave men and women who fight under their identity's flags make the ultimate sacrifice so that their way of life can live on in perpetuity. As the years advance, so does technology. What was once rocks and spears are now magnetically accelerated munitions, what were once fur coats, now hardened battle fatigues.
One aspect of war will never change, however. The people who wage it. The chain of command, the footsloggers and the spotters. The elite operatives and the pilots, high above the clouds. War is an evil act, but soldiers are not. You may not respect their leaders, or their government. But you must at least respect those on the front lines. For they fight for you, for all of humanity. The hardest hit are often times not the soldiers themselves, but their commanders. Who know they possibly sent their most loyal friends, to die. This respect is often times transmuted into our popular media, for better or for worse. Many films such as Black Hawk Down, directed by Ridely Scott, do an admirable job at portraying the brutality and valor that is associated with war. Mr. Scott, as always, did his research and the cast was placed in SOCOM boot camp for weeks to prepare for their roles. Film has grown from a fringe aspect of literature, to a well respected and mature form of art. The games industry, is a mixed bag in this aspect. Some games go above and beyond, while others border on disrespectful and offensive.
Halo is a game which I see falling in-between those two descriptors. It attempts to portray military realism as well as it can, but for the most part the franchise rarely ever gives the player a chance to take in what it truly means to be a war-fighter. To give command of personnel, whom you care for. In Halo, you are never the one to command, but are commanded. There is a detachment from what is expected, and what you know is morally correct. It's time for Halo to give us, the players, the conn.
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.
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