Twenty Years of Halo: Where To Even Start?

Artwork by Usbaia

The Halo franchise is owned by Xbox Game Studios

It’s finally 2021 which means it’s time for trying new things and making new goals for ourselves, and coincidentally this is ALSO the 20th anniversary of one of gaming’s most iconic franchises; Halo!  The series has always been something of interest to me as it was one of the big NEW franchises to come up during my generation, though my relationship with it has been off and on to say the least.  I am aware of certain things in the Halo universe and the first and third games are two of my favorite shooters of all time, but honestly that was about it.  I never played the second game, I didn’t get far in ODST, and I remember buying Halo 4 for about five bucks yet never got around to playing it so the whole series just kind of faded to the background despite how much I enjoyed the parts of it I played.  I was mostly content to leave it at that but a little over a year ago I managed to pick up a few of the novels on a whim without even any real plans to read them anytime soon, and it dawned on me at that moment just how much Halo stuff there is out there, and looking into it further revealed an astonishing amount of books, comics, lore guides, and even a few movies that slipped under my radar!  So with all that and the 20th anniversary being right around the corner, I figure it’d be fun and interesting to try and unravel this franchise that has always been at arms-length, and perhaps it will give me a renewed appreciation for the games that I already enjoyed!

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Halo Is About Rings, Right?

The biggest hurdle for me has always been the narrative which never stuck for me.  I always found the story to be confusing and I completely ignored it whenever I played the games, which is weird because I’m usually the last person to do something like that as I tend to follow things in order and dread the idea of getting lost in an ongoing story, but with Halo that just never was a problem.  To this day, I’ve never played the second Halo game, and yet it didn’t stop me from playing Halo 3 because the gameplay and moment to moment action was so perfect that I could just roll with it; ignoring the story beats and just assume that I was kicking butt and winning the war!  To that point though, this is definitely going to be a “Newcomer” perspective to the series as I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who’ve followed this franchise from the beginning and can give you a more comprehensive and detailed examination; and will probably be doing so for the twentieth anniversary as well.  It’s also going to be a bit new for me to be reviewing straight up books as my closest experience has been reviewing comics, but I relish the challenge and frankly I could do with a bit more reading on books without pictures in them; even if they are sci-fi pulp novels. 

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The Mission Objective!

For this series I’ll be covering as much official (and a few unofficial) pieces of media in the franchise, from the games and books all the way to some of its more esoteric entries like the podcasts and augmented reality games.  The list, frankly, is daunting as I will pretty much have to cover two to three entries every week if I want this to be a twentieth anniversary retrospective and not bleed into a twenty-first anniversary as well, but hopefully it will all be worth it and I can at least make this strange little journey a little bit entertaining!  The first post will be out next Saturday and I hope you all will follow me on this journey!