The games depict the last survivor of a group of supersoldiers inside of a powered exoskeleton in an interstellar war between human space marines and the technologically superior devoutly religious collective of alien species engaged in religious war against them, often set on one of the series of mysterious astronomically engineered megastructures for which the series is named.
- The guns on the [Halo 1] Ghost were balanced by making them really inaccurate. If you aim at something in Halo 1 with the Ghost and shoot at it, your shots are going all over the place. That balances the weapon, because it’s not overpowered. But it wasn’t balanced in a way that was empowering for the player.
“I think one of the ways that I describe that is that every object, every player-facing verb, needs to be a power fantasy in some way. And so the Ghost was correctly balanced numerically, but it wasn’t that fun. It didn’t make you feel awesome. It wasn’t something you jumped on and thought you were going to tear the place up with.
- I think the great tragedy of Halo is that for years and years it provided wonderful single-player and co-op content, and we provided people with almost no fun incentives or excuses, almost no reason besides their own enjoyment, to go back and replay it. So Halo 1 built these 10 labor of love missions, and only if you decided to go back and replay them was there any incentive to do so.
- Jason Jones, "BUNGIE CO-FOUNDER, HALO AND DESTINY CREATOR JASON JONES BREAKS 11-YEAR SILENCE" by Ryan McCaffrey, IGN, (8 July, 2013).
- Somewhat ironically, Halo began from a strategic position, rather than being mapped from the outset as a shooter. The project evolved spiritually as a kind of outcropping from the clotted battlefields of Bungie’s 1997 tactical game Myth, trading a Braveheart aesthetic for more of a Starship Troopers vibe, and then rendering everything in anthill 3D. Even as a primitive vehicular prototype, emphasizing the physicality of the terrain, there wasn’t really anything that looked quite like it.
- Bungie followed the unlikely lead of Argonaut Games’ Alien Resurrection, which mapped moving and aiming onto separate analog sticks over a year before the Xbox launched. That precedent aside, though, the Bellevue-based studio set the standards for the modern shooter genre almost singlehandedly.
- Steve Haske, “The Complete, Untold History of Halo”, VICE, (May 30 2017).
- The Halo series is, obviously, not an allegory for America’s involvement in Iraq, or the war on terror, where America is the UNSC, the Covenant is radical Islam, and the Brutes and Elites are the Sunni and the Shi’a (or vice versa, it would be idiotic and wrong to try to map one onto the other anyway). It’s a ridiculous idea that breaks down in any number of flagrant ways. Obviously the first Halo came out long before we invaded Iraq, and was conceived and planned even further back (I think it came out November 2001). And unlike the Iraqi insurgents, the Covenant have, or at least had, technological superiority, and they don’t go in for terrorist tactics — they’re toe-to-toe fighters. And they’re aliens. And they’re obsessed with purple things. And on and on.
- Lev Grossman, "Is Halo 3 a Geopolitical Allegory?", TIME, (Sept. 26, 2007).