Sunday, December 30, 2012

Why Halo?

The moment I first played Halo at a friend's house all the way back in 2001, I knew that I had to own it for myself.  I didn't care that I didn't have the money for it or that I already owned a GameCube and not an Xbox.  I needed this game.

I eventually managed to get my hands on both a console and a copy of Halo, and let me tell you, it was more than worth it.  I played the hell out of that game.  Single player, multiplayer, LAN parties, it didn't matter.  For a few years, I lived and breathed Halo, always wanting more.  I was in love.

It definitely helped that the game had a pretty intriguing story going on.  Every aspect of that ring world hinted at something more, something deeper.  Like the game itself, I thirsted for more, and soon enough, tie-in novels started popping up on bookshelves.  They were the perfect compliment to the game, and I devoured them, reading these books until their spines gave out and beyond.  While the gameplay is what brought me in, the story is what kept me interested.

However, this was a romance born of youth, and it was not made to last.  As I got older, my intense devotion to the game began to wane.  I was still there for Halo 2 (sinking far more evenings into its online multiplayer than I care to count), but by the time Halo 3 rolled around, my heart wasn't in it anymore.  I didn't even buy, let alone play, Halo: ODST or Halo: Reach.

But while my zeal for playing these games was not what it once was, I still loved the world Bungie had created so long ago.  I missed it.  Quite dearly, in fact.  And the siren call Master Chief, Cortana, and company still reached my ears on occasion.

With Halo 4, I could resist it no more.

Alas, you truly can't go home again.  I was excited to return to the world that I loved so dearly, but it wasn't the same.  It never could have been.  Admittedly, it didn't help that the game's story simply made no sense.  Without mincing words, it was awful, plain and simple.  On the other hand, the gameplay that initially caught my attention so many years ago remained.  Especially in multiplayer.

So why Halo?  Because even though the series and my passion for it aren't what they once were, like an old flame, Halo will always hold a special place in my heart.


  1. Shame you missed out on Reach. I haven't played 4 yet beyond a couple multiplayer matches with my brothers, but out of the others I have played I'd call Reach my favorite by far.

  2. Halo - Aftermath - Elliott Finn


    1. Two lone, distant silhouettes are walking in a barren, ruined wasteland. The sky is filled with wispy clouds that are lit up by the massive red disk of the sun. It’s sunrise. Rubble and bodies are littered everywhere, but the ground is smooth and shiny – it’s been glassed.

    The end of a war is always messy.

    2. Close-up of the two figures. They are wearing thick black armour head to toe, including helmets with reflective silver wraparound visors. One of them is carrying a Battle Rifle, the other an Assault Rifle. They are ODSTs. They appear to the scanning the ground beneath them.

    For the ONI spooks, it hasn’t ended at all. Subversion and infiltration are the new rules of the game.

    3. While his partner moves on, one of the ODSTs (the one with the Battle Rifle) bends down, inspecting a body on the glassed floor. It’s a Marine, wearing green body armour, but his face has been mangled – a giant purple needle from a Needler or Needle Rifle is sticking out of his eye.

    For the rest of us, it’s time to rebuild, mourn and collect the dead.

    4: The ODST looks up from the body, seeing another silhouette on the horizon. This one is very tall and slightly hunched over – it’s clearly not human. The creature appears to be carrying something, but it’s not clear what it is from this distance.

    But nearly thirty years of genocide is hard to forget.

    5. The ODST raises his Battle Rifle and fires a three shot burst. The muzzle flash reflects in his visor.

    And alliances are fragile.

    6: He runs over to the fallen alien, everything around him a blur of movement.

    You never know if they’re going to shoot at you…

    7: He stands over the dead body. It’s a Sangheili. The alien is only wearing minimal armour. The dead Sangheili is cradling another blackened corpse – a fallen comrade.

    …or if they are just doing the same thing you are.

    1. A very moody piece that works pretty darn well. I really like the slow build of these two ODSTs exploring the desolation of this glassed area, and the reveal of the Elite doing pretty much the same thing works for me.

      However, I don't know if the caption from panel 2 is really necessary to the story you're telling here. As a big fan of the Halo Expanded Universe, I can imagine what you're up to, but it doesn't really impact what's actually going on and the page would be just as effective without it in my mind.

      Just my two cents. Either way, welcome to Thought Balloons! I hope you'll stick around and post up some more scripts as time goes by.

    2. This is a good effort for someone with not much experience in the comic scripting field.

      The only thing I'd say (and I might be being pedantic here) is that there isn't a way to show Panel 5 in one panel.

      A burst of gunfire can be shown, but a three shot burst would require more than one panel.

      Great script all in all though!

    3. Could a 3-shot burst of gunfire not be illustrated by having a "ghost" of the gun move position within the panel - similar to those multi-images shot of Spider-Man bouncing round a room which are all done in the same panel?

    4. I actually just imagined seeing one muzzle flash, but "braka-aka-aka" in sfx to represent the burst.

    5. A really moody piece as Grant pointed out, panel 3's caption is particular haunting. You capture a real and sad aspect of war in one page which is very impressive.

      Dan makes a fair point about the three shot burst, it would have been nice to have a note to the artist or description of how you'd like to see it. I really like Rol's idea of ghosting the gun to show the movement during the shots, that would also add a nice slowed aspect to the page bringing focus to it even more.

      Overall really nice page, I'd love to see more comic scripts from you this first page shows a lot of potential.

    6. Thanks, everyone! Really great comments. Much appreciated. I guess I just didn't think about how the three-shot burst would be expressed visually. I'm still adapting to the comic script medium. The ghosting of the gun sounds like a great idea. I'll keep stuff like that in mind if/when I write future scripts.

      Thanks again!

  3. Thanks a lot! I see what you mean about the panel 2 caption - I wanted to make the story feel connected in some way with what's going on post-Halo 3 (i.e. the events of "Glasslands" and "The Thursday War") but maybe it was a little forced and unnecessary. Still, thanks for the comments! This is my first ever comic script and I'm pretty pleased with it.

    It's good to be here. I've been aware of you guys for a while (I'm a friend of Shaun), but once he told me that Halo was the topic this week I just couldn't resist. It's my favourite game series, I've been playing it since CE came out and I've read all the books, so the opportunity was too good to pass up.

    Thanks again!

    1. Your first comic script? Sounds like fun. I presume you've done other writing in the past, though?

    2. Yeah, but I mainly write prose. Short stories/novelettes mostly, although I have aspirations to write novels.


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