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Halo: Reach

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#21 UltimateDogg

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 12:48 PM

Ah. Still, doesn't that feel a little... cheap? I mean, no offense to the 343 guys, but it IS Bungie's story. Having somebody else come in and patch up a bunch of loose ends is... eh, I dunno. Guess we'll see when Halo 4 hits.

bungie says it all fits though, and they wouldnt say that unless it did. That said we are obviously missing something. There may be no hard canon break (ie master chief is at two places at the same time) due to retconning, but just the way they act and the tone they use at the end of FoR and in Halo 1 is very different then how they should act if you take Halo:Reach into account.

#22 Slightly Live

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 03:39 PM

Me and the Forward staff have been discussing this for sometime. It came to the forefront when we started throwing around ideas for a Halo timeline project and since then it's been spun off as a separate discussion. We've had some backwards and forewords regarding things, and I've talked to many folks over Live about the issue and had some interesting points raised.

Halo: Reach readjusts existing facts within the Halo universe.

Halo: Reach conflicts strongly with older canon.

This is the issue at heart. Anyone following Halo could not have played through Reach without noting a few inconsistencies here and there. The truth of the matter is there are quite a number of inconsistencies, ranging from the minor - such as the use of certain weapons or the look of certain characters, to the major - such almost everything about the inclusion of the Pillar of Autumn. No other Halo title or product has had such a high number of conflicts with established canon.

Now, I'm all for small changes being made if need they need to be. Halo is a large multimedia franchise so it's only natural that you would expect to find a number of conflicts popping up here and there on occasion. However, I think the general consensus from fans, at least from the anecdotal evidence I can provide, is unanimous. Reach goes too far. All the smaller, and bigger, conflicts add up and it has an actual, tangible impact on the enjoyment of the final product. Now I know it's easy to write off the vocal minority. Hardcore fans are usually a small percentage of the overall audience. However, the conflicts present in Reach impact the this hardcore niche more so than any other subset of the audience.

I've been thinking about the issue for some time, and thanks to getting spoiled about the game's story before it came out, even before it was released.

Expanded universe fiction always takes the backseat to main entries in a franchise. It's the same across many different properties such as Star Wars, Trek as well as Halo. That doesn't mean mean that that expanded universe material is of lesser value to the fans though, particularly the more dedication fanbase.

Halo Wars was heavily criticised by Halo's dedicated fanbase because of the apparent conflicts to pre-existing canon and right now I'm willing to say Reach equals or breaks existing canon more than Halo Wars does.


Dave has prepared an article addressing some of the issues Reach has brought up and I find myself now wanting to add my voice to his in order to make sure the message is full, complete and really gets across the various points that he and I want to get across.

Initially I wanted to wait until the Fall of Reach comic adaptation was completely published and using a comparison of the them to explore the various conflicts about this period in Halo's history but there's been a sense of growing urgency to address the issue which is kind of hard to explain.

Anyways, right now I'm putting together the companion piece and wanted to see what the views here are. I've yet to find anyone within my circle of friends fully happy about the situation, if such a person exists. Any dissenting opinions present?

#23 deftech

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 02:09 AM

It's clear whoever wrote the story for Reach did not read the books. Seems like a whole lot of 'hey you know what would be cool' moments were thrown in to try to link this game to the rest of the series.

#24 JCTucker

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 07:32 AM

It's not so much the "they didn't read the books" that I have problems with. It's the complete and utter disregard for the EU fiction that makes it so damn disconcerting to me. Here's what it boils down to, for me. It makes the whole thing seem like exactly what it is - a heartless, business-based money grab. We all like to think that there's more to it, that it's about the art, the story, the journey... That's just not the case, and when someone throws out a story that has been around since before the 2nd game came out, before the phenomenon that is Halo took off with online multiplayer in Halo 2, the game that proved FPS wasn't solely the domain of PCs... Well, that pisses off the people who actually CARE enough about the fiction you've created to spend more than the 5-10 hours every other year playing the game. As Yahtzee put it, the term Reach in Halo was always a point of reference for "where a lot of bad shit went down." Now, I'd say that less than 1% of the people who have played Halo have actually bothered reading the books, but those are the people who actually care about the story enough to invest the time. These are the same people who view the franchise as more than a revenue stream. So, you just piss all over those people. But, hey, it's less than 1% of the ten million or so Halo players, and they'll buy your product anyway, right? Keep in mind, I was a Star Wars EU reader from Heir to the Empire. I finally gave up on Star Wars EU after their last series. It had nothing to do with the quality of the stories, which had been gradually declining. I had trudged through everything after Star by Star, when they killed off my favorite character. However, with their latest series, they decided to go to a hardback only for all 9 books in the series. I haven't read a single one of them, and I won't when they're released in paperback. That blatant money grab by Rostoni and Shapiro (our readership is declining, so let's gouge those that still buy our crappy stories) killed all interest in, not only EU, but anything Star Wars for me. I haven't watched or read a single thing SW related since Invincible was published. It was barely 200 pages, a hardback, and I paid $25 for it. Read it in a few hours over 2 days. Don't get me wrong, Reach hasn't done that for me. Now if the next thing in Halo is a remake of H:CE to explain the inconsistencies, then that'll probably do it... But I don't think that's the way things will go. I've said since ODST was announced that I want the story to move forward. Now, Halo EU? I'm not going to be reading that any more. Karen Traviss killed Star Wars EU. Like, she's personally responsible, I'm not exaggerating. She decided to spend her 3 books in the last series playing with her precious Mandalorians. To the point that in order to battle her fallen twin, the hero had to go train with Boba Fett. Boba Fett, who couldn't see that pike coming from a blind Han while missing an exposed Luke with blaster fire... Yeah, he's going to know how to fight Sith. And the other authors completely ignored her storylines in the end, which rendered her 3 books completely meaningless.

#25 deftech

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 09:48 AM

Now, Halo EU? I'm not going to be reading that any more. Karen Traviss killed Star Wars EU. Like, she's personally responsible, I'm not exaggerating. She decided to spend her 3 books in the last series playing with her precious Mandalorians. To the point that in order to battle her fallen twin, the hero had to go train with Boba Fett. Boba Fett, who couldn't see that pike coming from a blind Han while missing an exposed Luke with blaster fire... Yeah, he's going to know how to fight Sith. And the other authors completely ignored her storylines in the end, which rendered her 3 books completely meaningless.


hahahahahahaha. Boba Fett? He who has problems with Jedi since they killed his father? This lady sounds like a real winner.

Edited by deftech, 28 October 2010 - 09:48 AM.


#26 UltimateDogg

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 03:04 PM

i keep a halo timeline of events on my own to keep some halo comic makers i know informed, and ever since reach came out I havent had the heart to try and wade through the poor work that was put into keeping halo reach and halo FoR in sync. Its a mess and its going to require a new rewrite of FoR at the least (and they just did that in amoney grap ironically).

hahahahahahaha. Boba Fett? He who has problems with Jedi since they killed his father? This lady sounds like a real winner.

guess what, shes writing a trilogy of halo books :P

#27 Postmortem

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 04:14 PM

i keep a halo timeline of events on my own to keep some halo comic makers i know informed, and ever since reach came out I havent had the heart to try and wade through the poor work that was put into keeping halo reach and halo FoR in sync. Its a mess and its going to require a new rewrite of FoR at the least (and they just did that in amoney grap ironically).


guess what, shes writing a trilogy of halo books :P


Admittedly though, her short story in Evolutions had to be my favorite. Her quality of work and writing style I find to be fine. Nervous about what she's going to do with the canon after hearing all these other stories about her writing, but my fingers are crossed that everyone else over at 343i is keeping close tabs on her.
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#28 JCTucker

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 06:27 AM

I left out the best part... The most stable Mandalorians in her last books, the ones who are most caring and dedicated and loyal... They're husband and husband... Let's see how that'll go over with the Halo crowd... My guess is that the Traviss books will turn Spartans into incompetent douches who are constantly being bailed out by the Helljumpers. Two of which will spend half the book nuzzling their beaks together. Just a guess, though.

#29 Blaze

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 09:24 AM

How did this bitch even get contracted to do a Halo trilogy?

#30 Postmortem

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 09:55 AM

I say give her a chance. Maybe she's going to change her ways for Halo, or be working under very close observation. I say tear it apart once the published work turns out to be shit.
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#31 JCTucker

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 10:43 AM

How did this bitch even get contracted to do a Halo trilogy?


She's also one of those "I hate war, but I support our troops" types. Has a link on her blog to all the UK soldiers who've been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That's the kind of story she writes, from the perspective of the grunts on the ground. She included several blatant references to the War on Terror throughout her books. Jacen interrogated a prisoner (Boba Fett's daughter, no less) to death. A "Homeland Security" department was setup (creatively called "GAG"). She actually uses the term "war on terror" in her first book.

Here's a pretty damn accurate summary of her first book:

http://jedifreac.liv...com/531251.html

And her 2nd:

http://jedifreac.liv...com/675227.html

Happy reading.

#32 SharpeWolfe

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 11:29 AM

There needs to be an intervention of some kind.
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#33 JCTucker

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 12:36 PM

Man, I have really pressed X all over this thread. Sorry, guys. I'm shutting up about my Karen Traviss hate. As to how she got contracted, she's apparently got an agent that's good on selling her to gullible videogame publishers. She got her start in Star Wars doing the book tie-in for that Republic Commando game (hence her love of clones and Mandos), and she's doing the Gears of War 3 book. But... If you think she's going to break from her traditional way of telling stories, well, just read this from her blog announcing it. ---------------------- Halo asked me to write some books for them, and because I have the breaking strain of a warm Mars Bar when it comes to top game IPs and nice cheques, I said yes. Believe it or not, I really have found the backbone to turn down other series featuring heavily armoured, unfeasibly cannoned-up chaps struggling to find their place in an unfriendly world. I'm not a soft touch for any old bloke with a codpiece, people. But this is Halo. There's an awkward and upsetting moral dilemma at the heart of the story, and if there's something I can't resist more than money, it's exploring moral dilemmas. (With big weapons, naturally.) You haven't spotted it? Pay attention at the back, there. There is a story. ----------------------- Hmm, "awkward and upsetting moral dilemma at the heart of the story"... Yep, we better get ready to understand the Covenant, only it'll be more like Jiralqaeda than Jiralhanae... Or how those poor Spartans were taken from their mommy and daddy... For realz. I'm done now.

Edited by JCTucker, 29 October 2010 - 12:44 PM.


#34 Postmortem

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 01:31 PM

I don't agree that that approach is wrong. But I'll stop now too.
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#35 UltimateDogg

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 04:07 PM

i guess im somewhere in the middle - i am not too impressed with her desire to shoehorn current themes into a plot that already has its own insurrectionists and morally questionable things, but since i havent read any of her halo stuff besides evolutions it is hard to tell if she is gonna shoehorn in. That said she wrote a decent piece in evolutions - she managed to make it human without making it too cheesy or forced. Ill reserve judgement, but frankly im more exicted by the forerunner trilogy :D ps. after the debacle of canonicty that is reach I dont think we can hate too much on her if she goes wild :P

Edited by UltimateDogg, 29 October 2010 - 04:09 PM.


#36 DangerousDave

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 07:23 AM

It's not so much the "they didn't read the books" that I have problems with. It's the complete and utter disregard for the EU fiction that makes it so damn disconcerting to me.

Here's what it boils down to, for me. It makes the whole thing seem like exactly what it is - a heartless, business-based money grab. We all like to think that there's more to it, that it's about the art, the story, the journey... That's just not the case, and when someone throws out a story that has been around since before the 2nd game came out, before the phenomenon that is Halo took off with online multiplayer in Halo 2, the game that proved FPS wasn't solely the domain of PCs... Well, that pisses off the people who actually CARE enough about the fiction you've created to spend more than the 5-10 hours every other year playing the game.

As Yahtzee put it, the term Reach in Halo was always a point of reference for "where a lot of bad shit went down." Now, I'd say that less than 1% of the people who have played Halo have actually bothered reading the books, but those are the people who actually care about the story enough to invest the time. These are the same people who view the franchise as more than a revenue stream. So, you just piss all over those people. But, hey, it's less than 1% of the ten million or so Halo players, and they'll buy your product anyway, right?

Keep in mind, I was a Star Wars EU reader from Heir to the Empire. I finally gave up on Star Wars EU after their last series. It had nothing to do with the quality of the stories, which had been gradually declining. I had trudged through everything after Star by Star, when they killed off my favorite character.

However, with their latest series, they decided to go to a hardback only for all 9 books in the series. I haven't read a single one of them, and I won't when they're released in paperback. That blatant money grab by Rostoni and Shapiro (our readership is declining, so let's gouge those that still buy our crappy stories) killed all interest in, not only EU, but anything Star Wars for me. I haven't watched or read a single thing SW related since Invincible was published. It was barely 200 pages, a hardback, and I paid $25 for it. Read it in a few hours over 2 days.

Don't get me wrong, Reach hasn't done that for me. Now if the next thing in Halo is a remake of H:CE to explain the inconsistencies, then that'll probably do it... But I don't think that's the way things will go. I've said since ODST was announced that I want the story to move forward.

Now, Halo EU? I'm not going to be reading that any more. Karen Traviss killed Star Wars EU. Like, she's personally responsible, I'm not exaggerating. She decided to spend her 3 books in the last series playing with her precious Mandalorians. To the point that in order to battle her fallen twin, the hero had to go train with Boba Fett. Boba Fett, who couldn't see that pike coming from a blind Han while missing an exposed Luke with blaster fire... Yeah, he's going to know how to fight Sith. And the other authors completely ignored her storylines in the end, which rendered her 3 books completely meaningless.


Why do you think breaking canon was a money-grab, exactly? Do you think Bungie's bottom line is improved by tweaking the story, especially when only a small portion of consumers care that much?

#37 JCTucker

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 05:09 AM

Why do you think breaking canon was a money-grab, exactly? Do you think Bungie's bottom line is improved by tweaking the story, especially when only a small portion of consumers care that much?


Halo: Reach is not the money-grab. It's Bungie's universe, they can tell whatever story they want.

No, the production of the media other than the primary venue (in this case, books instead of videogames) was the "moneygrab." When you let someone else tell a story, though, then go back 9 years later and throw it out the window... I'm sorry, that's crass.

My point is that the people who give you that extra $6 (or I guess paperbacks are around $8 now) per book are the several hundred thousand of your most hardcore, dedicated fans. I'm sorry, but the stoner who plays Reach every other weekend to "mess with the kiddies" isn't the one buying the books. It's the fans who discuss aspects of its story months after release, who actually know what the term "shield world" means. And you drop a deuce in their mouth by saying "thanks for investing more than the $60 every couple of years in our product, now pay $60 to get the story WE want to tell." Which is fine, it's their sandbox. I'm just not going to play in the side sandboxes anymore.

I'm interested in the Bear stuff, though. I might read that. But anything taking place in the current Halo timeline? I'm not going to waste my time if it's going to be overruled eventually. The Traviss stuff that takes place after Halo 3? Not going to touch it, for obvious reasons.

#38 Slightly Live

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 02:16 PM

I'm interested in the Bear stuff, though. I might read that. But anything taking place in the current Halo timeline? I'm not going to waste my time if it's going to be overruled eventually. The Traviss stuff that takes place after Halo 3? Not going to touch it, for obvious reasons.


This must be the most unwanted reaction they were expecting. By going ahead the way they did, there are people now, such as yourself, that don't have the confidence in the Expanded Universe any more and thus won't read (buy) those products in future. And sadly, it's an entirely justifiable position to take. You have the right to decide where you will invest your time and money and by by taking a stand with your wallet, you make your feelings known.

However I don't think that is the remedy to the situation. 343I are responsible for Halo now. It's their responsibility to make things work and tie in together as a unified franchise, not Bungie's. If Bungie decided to go against established canon with their own game, it's their decision. I doubt anyone at 343i had any direct input over the story at all. In the aftermath though, 343i need to make amends for a situation they didn't create but simply inherited.

When I look at 343's efforts thus far in terms of the Expanded Universe I am confident they wouldn't repeat the canon situation. I honestly doubt if they would have done it that way to begin with.

It's no secret that many folks at Bungie didn't view the Halo EU in high regard at the same time it is also no secret that 343i do. Therefore I will patiently wait to see what 343i do with their first Halo title but in the meantime, I have full confidence in the products they work on, such as the novels, knowing full well they are diligently doing their best.

Edited by Slightly Live, 02 November 2010 - 04:57 PM.


#39 Postmortem

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 04:55 PM

When I look at 343 efforts thus far in terms of the Expanded Universe I am confident they wouldn't repeat the canon situation. I honestly doubt if they would have done it that way to begin with.

It's no secret that many folks at Bungie didn't view the Halo EU in high regard at the same time it is also no secret that 343i do. Therefore I will patiently wait to see what 343i do with their first Halo title but in the meantime, I have full confidence in the products they work on, such as the novels, knowing full well they are diligently doing their best.


Amen.
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#40 Syracuse022

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 05:25 PM

When I look at 343's efforts thus far in terms of the Expanded Universe I am confident they wouldn't repeat the canon situation. I honestly doubt if they would have done it that way to begin with.

It's no secret that many folks at Bungie didn't view the Halo EU in high regard at the same time it is also no secret that 343i do. Therefore I will patiently wait to see what 343i do with their first Halo title but in the meantime, I have full confidence in the products they work on, such as the novels, knowing full well they are diligently doing their best.

I agree wholeheartedly with this post... but M$ and Bungie have long since alienated me as a consumer of the EU. I stopped right after the marginal effort that was the Halo Graphic Novel. Oh well. For what it's worth, this position also lets me sit back and enjoy how great Reach's gameplay turned out, in spite of these glaring EU canon affronts. Game is mad good, yo, and since I'm not interested in any spin-off books or DVDs anymore, I have more time to play it.



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