The Halo franchise is owned by Xbox Game Studios
I Love Bees was created by 4orty2wo Entertainment
Alright, I’m gonna be honest here. We’re one game, three books, and a fan made web series into this retrospective, so I thought I had a good handle on things… but then I started researching this I Love Bees thing, and I’m in WAY over my head. I’ve never participated in an ARG and simply trying to find out what happened after everything has already has been solved has proved to be more than my patience can normally sustain, so I’m not going to be able to give you a full breakdown of this experience or will fully appreciate it the way that many people still do to this day. I can only try and come in here as the layman trying to get a complete picture of the Halo Universe and what makes this series tick, but trying to unravel this mystery and extract the relevant details kind of reminds me why I even felt the need to do this retrospective in the first place. The Halo narrative always washed over me even when I was enjoying the games and some of the other content around it, and in trying to fix that problem I just end up feeling that way all over again with this ARG game that took place prior to the release of Halo 2. I put in the time though and I have what I think is a reasonable approximation of what this was, so let’s take a look and see what this whole I LOVE BEES thing is all about!
One of the things I didn’t want to do when trying to understand this series is to troll the Halo wiki and just get my information there, but I spent about ten minutes perusing the I Love Bees website and just threw my hands up as it’s just a collection of nonsense obscuring tiny fragments of things that may or may not be relevant to the upcoming game, and the Summary on Wikipedia does a good job of telling me what the point of this is. I Love Bees is an ARG game developed by 42 Entertainment as a promotional device for Halo 2 and to expand on the lore of the franchise. The story is that back in the novel First Strike, the big inciting incident to kick off the third act is that The Covenant somehow managed to find out where Earth is and The Masterchief along with the rag tag crew of soldiers who survived both Halo and Reach have to stop them. What I love Bees reveals is HOW The Covenant found Earth via strange messages on the site, cryptic data, and eventually an audio drama which has been collected into a twelve episode series that I listened to from beginning to end. Right around the time of the Fall of Reach, a UNSC shipped called the Apocalypso found an alien artifact and was taking it back to Earth. The artifact is some sort of lost Forerunner tech that the Covenant wanted (from the sound of it, it was a mini-Halo?) and so they sent an EVIL AI called The Seeker to infiltrate the Apocalypso and corrupt it’s AI called Melissa. It seems to have worked because Melissa caused the ship to explode just outside of Earth’s orbit, and Melissa was broken more or less in half; one half found its way to some teenager’s computer named Jersey in New York City who named this fragmented AI Durga, and the other half was sent back in time to the year 2004 along with the remnants of The Seeker. This is where the AR Game comes into play; the part of Melissa in the past (itself getting split into The Sleeping Princess and The Operator) as well as The Seeker are the entities who were running the game and took over the I Love Bees website. Everything we learned from I Love Bees and its related stuff (including phone calls to payphones that players had to be at during specific times on specific dates) are supposedly fragments provided by these two corrupted and fragmented AIs.Continue reading “Twenty Years of Halo: I Love Bees”