Campaign Storytelling Methods and Mediums

To kick it off, this thread is not intended for the sole purpose of speculating content. It is simply to converse and debate on what style of storytelling you would like to see and why you would like to see it that way, as well as for who you would like to to be told by/with.

In film, literature, and video games, there are many ways of telling the story. From the scene changing swipes in Star Wars to the recurring involvement of Prydery in the Mabinogion, there are a lot of “signatures” in these forms of media as well. The Halo series has experienced change in every installment in both storytelling and signature, while still maintaining the tell all “Halo feeling.” How is that? Music certainly plays a pivotal roll in this, but even that has completely changed. From monks, to solo sax, to thunderous bass, the core aspects are always evolving.

Now, on to the meat and potatoes: What do you want to see? Do you propose a new method to usher in this new installment, or do you want to see a return of a stance from the past? Is there a specific way you want to see the story delivered? Who do you want to deliver it?

My wish? I would love to see a H2-esque approach. To elaborate, I want alternating, parallel storylines that become increasingly intertwined as the pace quickens and the plot thickens. The roleplay group you might have seen in the Halo Universe forums, IP, have been blowing up our Skype chat room with speculation and wish lists since the newest data drop. With some input, I have come to the conclusion for what I would like to see. I want the alternating story, but I also want distinct players 2-4 like Halo 3.

I propose that the story be told from the perspective of this new, unknown Spartan-IV (whom I feel is likely the new character from the digital feature, Marlowe, or somebody with close ties to him. Moving on!). The “Reclaimer Saga” could potentially be the last (forward progressing) story of John-117. With that in mind, a new hero needs to be established. Hence, the man positioned above John. It is apparent (to me at least) that he is equipped in MJOLNIR Mk. VII Gen-II armor. Chief is still portrayed in the same suit of Mk. VI that he has had since Halo 2 (canonically) and Blue Team are depicted as having the same armor as well, only with retrofits . The only other people we have seen wearing Gen-II MJOLNIR are Spartan-IVs.

I know I said no speculating, but I must establish this to set the stage for my next point: I want this new character to be you. Looking at the armor, I get a very… default… vibe. It reminds me heavily of Noble Six. While Noble Six had an identifiable suit of armor, for the storytelling, whatever your armor was was the armor he had. You are Noble Six. Your friends (players 2-4) had their own armor as well, even though they were not technically canon. I want to see a return of this storytelling mechanic. A return of the player being the core character. I am in no way, shape, or form dissing on the fleshing out of John. That was something I dreamed of since I read The Fall of Reach. I feel that this new character should follow this route. Anonymity at first, then slowly becoming more fleshed out as more games develop him. For players 2-4, your friends should have their own custom armor for the portions where you are playing as the new Spartan. You could be members of the same fireteam, whom I shall dub “Guardian” when referencing here on out.

“But who will players two through four play as when the Chief is the playable character?” I feel that the best way to supplement Chief’s story could not be done any better than by adding in Blue Team. Their appearance in a game is long overdue, and their story is still unknown to many who have never read the literature. “What about the Spartan-IIIs on Blue Team?” Ghosts of Onyx was my favorite book and I have no hate for the IIIs, but I don’t think they should be playable. I still would like their story to be told though. I propose they be AI, like Noble Team was in Reach. At different points, Blue Team should split up. “What does this have to do with storytelling?” Well, patience! I say they should split up because that adds another parallel story arc that is being told. While they are separate, you could hear radio checks with them that raise new questions and help drive the suspense of the game. Now there are two to three stories being told simultaneously. 343I have said already that they are looking at a larger scale for this game. This kind of interwoven storylines with increasing complexity could add sufficiently more scope to the story. You start with one character, then are thrust into the armor of a second, then you witness the arc of a third set of characters… so on so forth. It eases you into it so that you don’t get lost or overwhelmed and have time to process the events you just witnessed… or maybe not? With how much 343I are pushing story, I am eagerly awaiting this next installment and all the new canon that it ushers in.

Now it’s your turn. What methods do you want? What mediums do you want it told through? What is your ideal approach to telling the tale of Halo 5: Guardians?

So, I actually believe Greenskull might be on to something…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4ipqE_7fBw&index=1&list=UU-UXMS9Q-apozW8jALP5UZw

This could very well be the future of Halo… and it scares me.

  1. Classic space opera. I want a complex story, full of twists and with plenty of characters. Videogame stories in general have been far too simple to date.

  2. Chief, Thel and the mystery ONI Spartan as the protagonists we spend most of our time playing as, along with a few secondary characters.

  3. Non-chronological storytelling. Slumdog Millionaire’s style of watching flashbacks that draw closer and closer to some central event is a favourite of mine, although 343 would have to mix it up somehow as Black Ops and Battlefield 3 have both already done it. Also good is the technique used by many mystery books, in which we initially see some event take place, then later on see it again through the eyes of another character and realize we’ve jumped to completely the wrong conclusion.

  4. If a character ‘dies’ only to come back later, leave some clues. When we see them again, we should think “oh, that’s how they did it”, as opposed to “what a cheap retcon”. In short, don’t do a Moffat.

  5. Have a satisfying finale, not “Chief fought through all the bad guys and pressed the button to save the day”.

> 1) Classic space opera. I want a complex story, full of twists and with plenty of characters. Videogame stories in general have been far too simple to date.
>
> 2) Chief, Thel and the mystery ONI Spartan as the protagonists we spend most of our time playing as, along with a few secondary characters.
>
> 3) Non-chronological storytelling. Slumdog Millionaire’s style of watching flashbacks that draw closer and closer to some central event is a favourite of mine, although 343 would have to mix it up somehow as Black Ops and Battlefield 3 have both already done it. Also good is the technique used by many mystery books, in which we initially see some event take place, then later on see it again through the eyes of another character and realize we’ve jumped to completely the wrong conclusion.
>
> 4) If a character ‘dies’ only to come back later, leave some clues. When we see them again, we should think “oh, that’s how they did it”, as opposed to “what a cheap retcon”. In short, don’t do a Moffat.
>
> 5) Have a satisfying finale, not “Chief fought through all the bad guys and pressed the button to save the day”.

When you say non-chronological, do you include ODST within that classification? I thoroughly enjoyed the storytelling in that game and consider it at the very least on-par with the main series.

> > 1) Classic space opera. I want a complex story, full of twists and with plenty of characters. Videogame stories in general have been far too simple to date.
> >
> > 2) Chief, Thel and the mystery ONI Spartan as the protagonists we spend most of our time playing as, along with a few secondary characters.
> >
> > 3) Non-chronological storytelling. Slumdog Millionaire’s style of watching flashbacks that draw closer and closer to some central event is a favourite of mine, although 343 would have to mix it up somehow as Black Ops and Battlefield 3 have both already done it. Also good is the technique used by many mystery books, in which we initially see some event take place, then later on see it again through the eyes of another character and realize we’ve jumped to completely the wrong conclusion.
> >
> > 4) If a character ‘dies’ only to come back later, leave some clues. When we see them again, we should think “oh, that’s how they did it”, as opposed to “what a cheap retcon”. In short, don’t do a Moffat.
> >
> > 5) Have a satisfying finale, not “Chief fought through all the bad guys and pressed the button to save the day”.
>
> When you say non-chronological, do you include ODST within that classification? I thoroughly enjoyed the storytelling in that game and consider it at the very least on-par with the main series.

Yup. ODST and Slumdog have the same basic structure. Admittedly I didn’t really like ODST, but that had more to do with level ambiance than anything else.

Twists aren’t a bad thing if done right. I liked that about Halo CE. I wouldn’t mind playing as two perspectives either, again provided its done right. I’m not picky so long as the story is good.

I’d rather not have flashbacks explaining how I got up to the current point though. It’s just not a preference of mine. For one it instantly spoils ‘the current point’. Imagine if Halo 4 started with chief and the didact throwing disses at each other on the bridge, then it flashbacked through all the events of Halo 4 between dialogue. It would just feel wrong.

> Twists aren’t a bad thing if done right. I liked that about Halo CE. I wouldn’t mind playing as two perspectives either, again provided its done right. I’m not picky so long as the story is good.
>
> I’d rather not have flashbacks explaining how I got up to the current point though. It’s just not a preference of mine. For one it instantly spoils ‘the current point’. Imagine if Halo 4 started with chief and the didact throwing disses at each other on the bridge, then it flashbacked through all the events of Halo 4 between dialogue. It would just feel wrong.

Saying you wouldn’t like one example of non-chronological storytelling is hardly a sound argument against the entire plot device.

I hadn’t considered the concept of flashbacks, but if you could imagine starting the game with a scene where John, the ONI Spartan and the Didact are all fighting in support of each other against a horde of incoming flood . . . and then the story starts with at least two of those characters as playable . . . it would be interesting, if only to try and work out how all three characters end up on the same team (at least for a while).

As long as its good, I don’t mind.

Though I did like the flashback story telling of Halo 3: ODST.

Honestly, I liked playing through Reach with Noble Team. It was nice burning through waves of Covenant with some other Spartans without them screaming and killing each other over weapons or vehicles.

> Honestly, I liked playing through Reach with Noble Team. It was nice burning through waves of Covenant with some other Spartans without them screaming and killing each other over weapons or vehicles.

Until Kat runs you off a cliff or Jun shoots through you with a sniper to kill a grunt…

> > Honestly, I liked playing through Reach with Noble Team. It was nice burning through waves of Covenant with some other Spartans without them screaming and killing each other over weapons or vehicles.
>
> Until Kat runs you off a cliff or Jun shoots through you with a sniper to kill a grunt…

Ahh… good times :wink: Then there’s the times where Emile gets knocked off the level and then flies out of the sky in a perpetual loop of quantum teleportation…