One of the stories that gained us quite a bit of traction back in 2015 was talking about how much people hated Halo 5’s story. It wasn’t that the story was absolutely dreadful, but it was that there were a lot of inconsistencies and shallow forms of storytelling in place of what gamers had come to expect from the Halo franchise when the true creators of the series, Bungie, was at the helm. Well, the heads at 343 have acknowledged that the story was pretty disappointing for most die-hard fans who came for Master Chief but got the sub-par Osiris Team instead.
WCCF Tech quoted a segment from an interview that 343 studio head Kiki Wolfkill (which is one of the most badass names I’ve ever heard in my life) and franchise manager Frank O’Connor had with GamesTM Magazine.
O’Connor explained that gamers came for one thing – based on the excellent marketing campaign for Halo 5: Guardians – but they ended up with something else… something they didn’t find themselves all to fond of. O’Connor stated…
“We definitely marketed in a way that we hoped was going to bring surprise, but for some fans and certainly fans of Master Chief, it was a huge disappointment because they wanted more Chief.”
I feel this is a bit of side-step from some of the complaints about Halo 5. It wasn’t just that they wanted Chief, it was that the missions Chief and Blue Team were in were crap. They had to keep fighting that boring piece of crap known as the Warden… over, and over, and over again. I don’t mind repeatedly fighting the same boss, but he better be darn interesting to warrant repeatedly having to beat the crap out of him for eight hours. The Warden was not interesting in the least bit.
The other issue was with Osiris… as O’Connor reluctantly admits, people loved Blue Team but only barely liked Osiris…
“They loved Blue Team, they liked Osiris, but they wanted Chief. And that has been a big learning. […]“
“[…] But people have become attached to him over the last fifteen years and they’ve started to sort of fill in the gaps that the character deliberately has for gameplay reasons with a genuine emotional attachment. We certainly underestimated that with Halo 5.”
I even feel as if 343 failed in representing Blue Team properly. In the books, we grew up with John, Sam, Kelly, Fred and Linda. Having Fred, Linda and Kelly reduced to little more than mannequins who would only occasionally make quips throughout the journey seemed like a real disservice to how they were portrayed in the books.
I was waiting for them to properly give them the characterizations that were so properly highlighted in the novels… but it never came.
Worse yet, 343 had an opportunity to flesh out Lock’s Osiris squad. However, they failed there. Only Buck, an alum from Halo: Reach and Halo: ODST, showed any notable traits of personality. Locke, the leader of the team, acted more stiff than a cardboard cutout. Had he died, there would have been nothing lost either narratively or in terms of characterization, since he didn’t really have much of a character.
Even if they add more of Master Chief in Halo 6 that won’t fix the problem with the story and characters. You need better storytelling vehicles and more honest and mature characterizations to help put the series back in line to where it was previously.
Whether or not 343 Industries has the talent to pull that off with Halo 6 remains to be seen.
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