Feedback on Serial Narrative

I’ll admit, it wasn’t much of a surprise to have a very disappointing narrative showing yesterday.

What I really don’t understand is why do narrative at all if it is going to be this sort of half--Yoink!- serial narrative stuff?

The first season had minimal narrative that connected to infinte’s campaign in a very unclear way. Season two is even worse… it’s based around this cheesy idea of lone wolf Spartans, and does basically nothing to explain to us where they are, what’s happening, or how it connects to the campaign. The narrative itself doesn’t even make sense, they are trying to force a PVE narrative onto PVP content and it is hilariously blatant… “I need you and as many Spartan’s as possible to hit the sim…”

Does this content appeal to any of you? Would it appeal to you if there was actual PVE content with it? Personally I am dying for a bit of story and PVE content in each season, but when it’s just some poorly written stuff in a weak attempt to take a seasonal theme designed solely to sell cosmetics and somehow tie it to Halo’s narrative.

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The intro cutscene for S2 is rather interesting and it seems to tie into the campaign, but without PvE content to tie it together it’s just a little underwhelming.

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Like Spartan Ops with Halo 4, I’m getting the distinct impression that the only way I’m going to be able to stomach the serial narrative (what we’ve seen so far isn’t very gripping IMO) is if it’s tied to a quality PvE experience. I liked Infinite’s campaign, but both the first Academy intro snippet and what we got yesterday left me feeling immensely underwhelmed.

If the stated goal is to make, “You, the player” feel like the main character of some epic multiplayer oddysey, that isn’t working out too great as of yet.

Can’t imagine how someone’s supposed to feel substantively involved or at all important in the events portrayed in the S2 intro cinematic… Just feels like you’re the Spartan who happened to be there at the moment.

Ultimately, I suspect I’ll be a lot happier if 343i manages to give us a PvE mode that let’s me interact with the game’s AI and weapons sandbox without having to deal with a vapid narrative frame (Classic style Firefight, please!).

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I hated this same kind of stuff in Modern Warfare 2019/Black Ops Cold War too. It’s really hard to get engaged in a narrative that I am not shown participating in and the narrative is just a 3 minute exposition cutscene.

I do have to throw them a bone though and note that having our MP Spartan be in the cutscene for a bit was kind of cool.

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Yeah… I don’t know how much credit is really appropriate for the inclusion of our MP Spartan, since they basically didn’t do anything at all. But it is at least cool to be able to see your setup on a Spartan that isn’t just standing in a victory stance or a customization menu, I suppose.

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What parts did you find interesting, and In what ways do you feel it ties to the campaign? I think they aren’t on Zeta Halo, and it sounds like they have the ability to plan missions that take them to other systems.

It feels like the custscene is much moreso designed to sell cosmetics than it is to actually create a narrative. And true, having the MP Spartan in the cutscene is cool, but it feels like they haven’t done the legwork to create a world where narrative with our MP characters is even possible… like, what would other characters refer to them as?

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The way I see it, these ‘Lone Wolf’ Spartans were on some sort of recon mission. They returned with a Banished asset and information on Banished operations.

This Intel could be given to Chief for a potential tie-in, and it could very well set up the next chapter in Chiefs journey.

If there is no story tie-in, I question why 343 would even bother with cutscenes.

But I don’t think it actually could be given to Chief, because the cutscene was not set on Zeta Halo (as far as I can tell.)

It does sort of feel like a waste as long as MP isn’t canon based.

I view the storyline being introduced with the serial narrative as a way to keep the universe moving between Chief’s showings and novelizations in the EU. Small tidbits to fill in the world/universe as a backdrop to the campaign(s) and EU, to flesh out 343’s canonization of MP that’s been ongoing since H4.

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I am a little confused.

The original video talked about how they were looking for the Infinity and Chief. Agryna went off and said she would be back with news.

That’s kind of been forgotten about? Which is a new record for dropped story beats. :smile:

They also mention something in the text intro about Cortanas Dominion being over but this isn’t addressed in the cutscene. You’d think they would be, you know, celebrating, getting in touch with the UNSC and Earth. To roll straight into the Banished threat seems a little odd and means the context is very unclear. Why are the Banished a problem or priority right now. You have basically a sentence to go on.

For example, I know from having had many a chat with people on this forum that the notion of the Banished sweeping across the Galaxy like the First Order is a bit off from that small band of freedom fighters everybody thinks they are. Like yeah, the UNSC never realised there was a Galactic Super Power in the wings to conquer the Galaxy. :smile:

343 has actually never established in game that the Banished are a Galactic Power. They’ve always come across as this pirate faction with an inflated sense of their own skills and power. So it does just come out of nowhere. Maybe it’s hyperbole and not the whole truth. But that’s sure what it reads like.

I don’t know. The Banished AI reveal did fall a little flat as people had thought it would be more significant.

I think they could have done with something like the training mission with more ambient dialogue to provide a bit more exposition. Because, the main game did not provide this information and I feel like they’re acting as if we’re all clued in now.

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This event screams Firefight to me. Like, get in there and make this Banished AI go crazy by killing as many Banished as possible in Firefight training sims. If I were an AI that hates Spartans and the UNSC, I would be getting the virtual popcorn out to watch them kill each other over and over again.

Instead, we got a BR style game mode that’s kinda just… Here, I guess? It doesn’t feel like the narrative angle of this event was tied into the gameplay angle of this event at all.

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The thing that makes me wonder is if these cutscenes are self-contained to the multiplayer or not. Just because it’s canon that spartans train in a simulation at a specific place doesn’t make it meaningful. Halo 4 and Halo 5 did that and I don’t remember it ever mattering outside of itself. It barely mattered to itself. It seems to matter more to 343i as a rule or theme than it does to some larger plan.

The multiplayer being canon has always had the weight of a spin-off that doesn’t get acknowledged by the main series. It’s exactly like filler in a TV show. If 343i is going to make this story matter then they need to actually tell a story with it instead of dropping it off.

When I look it up apparently the War Games as a storyline was started in Halo 4 and then retconned to fit into all mentions of Spartans training in previous games. There’s a 1 minute cutscene in Halo Infinite where “Laconia Station” is mentioned but otherwise I’m not finding evidence this stuff was actually used. The wiki cites whole books but has no mention of what is actually in the books.

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Unless it’s just there to introduce the Banished AI, but even that does open up some possible story arcs with the Banished and the Created.

That being said, if they don’t do anything with it then it’s a waste of resources in my book.

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Pretty disappointing really. The exposition leaves much vague in terms of where/when this is exactly. They say they’re running from an attack; which I assume is guardian related? They also drop a couple weird bombs like the infinity and the ring are just gone? Maybe they meant no one can be contacted, but I took it as the ring has been moved; which would be huge. Other than confirming Cortana’s domain is over we don’t get much info in season 2. Just a lot of vagueness and not much connective tissue between things.

The idea of a banished ai is pretty cool as ai is something all the covie races were far behind humanity; so seeing the banished of all factions come up with an ai that’s comparable is interesting.

Maybe I need more time with them but I’m still meh on the new Spartans, maybe they can make a new firefight mode with ai help and they’ll be voiced and you can lick characters such as them, Palmer, arbiter etc? Idk, just spitballing ways to get these characters fleshed out a bit more.

I do wish they’d stop shoving agryna’s face in the camera like they’re showing off a next generation tech demo and they’re super proud how advanced the face looks; like I get they’re trying to make it an immersive pov shot the whole time but it makes the cutscenes samey when’s it predominantly face to face with the same character most of the time instead of interesting cinematography.

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Agreed, it seems like there is a lot of stuff left hanging in the narrative right now. Also, as a foe, the banished are a weird substitution for the covenant (it seems obvious that it’s just a reason to have the same enemy combatants that made Halo fun, without getting tangled in the fall of the covenant or doing “covenant remnants” like 4 and 5 did.

Overall I think the most lacking thing about the Banished is that their aesthetic isn’t really all that different from the human aesthetic. In Infinite it feels like everything that isn’t grass and pine trees is just hunks of gray metal, with very little to differentiate human from banished from forerunner. One thing that made CE so good was the contrast between the gritty industrial human military aesthetic, the smooth purple covenant, and the mysteriously empty forerunner structures.

Then again, I really think the way to address this would have been to not make Halo 4 and 5, and to make prequels after Halo 3, then come back eventually to the post war and come up with some interestingway to bring the covenant back together or something.

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Just like you, I’ve got many many questions. It feels like every part of the universe is on pause while the war on Zeta Halo happens… I’m sure they have plans to mix in the spirit of fire and explore the infinity crash site, etc., but it just feels really weak that all of that content is missing right now. In some ways, the campaign leaves me excited to see what will happen next, and where everyone else is, but the lack of human characters in the campaign just makes it feel super empty, which is sad considering the potential for environmental storytelling and unique characters in the open world.

It leaves so many questions, like where is the pilot getting UNSC equipment from to deliver to you? When you go back to outpost tremonious, there are dozens of marines there… but who is in command? Why are all these random marines tied up and being held in the wilderness? and most of all, why are the UNSC forward operating bases all the exact same, and all terribly undefensible positions? It would have been so lovely to be immersed in this world if it felt more complete.

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I was absorbing this content at face value with the sole intention of hearing it out, and I will say that this content is appealing to me. It’s not written out enough for me to give it fair judgement, so I won’t offer a take on objective/subjective quality, but I will say that there’s potential for an interesting story.

I’m a bit biased in that regard-- full disclosure-- as I’ve always backed the idea of a multiplayer narrative in the first place, but yeah. That’s my two bits.

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It’s strange. I could understand if the characters were saying stuff like “we don’t know what’s out there.” “Galaxy has gone dark” etc etc.

But instead it’s presented to you as if we should be able to go with what’s given to us in the campaign. So they feel they have already explained the relevant information regarding the war. Which if 343 think that they’re very off the mark. The campaign did not even say the Banished and humanity were at war, much less that they had conquered the Galaxy and essentially replaced the Created as the boot on humanities neck.

It’s a lot like the Sequel trilogy where they didn’t bother explaining how the New Republic got destroyed and they fast tracked to the story they wanted to tell with the Reisistance fighting the monolithic First Order who appear out of nowhere.

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Oh also.

It’s a trap!

That AI wanted to be caught and the Banished are going to follow it to the Academy. :scream:

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