This may seem mundane or old to some people, but I’ve been giving Halo a lot of thought over the last few days. It’s a game that I periodically come back to and I consider it my all-time favorite franchise. I’ve been thinking about what is needed to restore some of it’s luster. I know everyone has their opinion on what “broke” Halo. For the purposes of this thread, I’m primarily focusing on the story and campaign, and something that I remember Bonnie Ross saying that didn’t sit well with me. She once mentioned the idea that she wanted to get away from numbering the games 1, 2, 3, etc. as well as the trilogy format. I feel this would be a bad move for a couple of reasons.
The first reason I feel Halo needs to maintain a trilogy format is it’s usefulness in framing a story. Stories typically follow three steps: the exposition, the climax, and denouement, and trilogies lend themselves to this structure very well. It allows you to pace the story in a way that is recognizable and satisfactory. It also gives you the ability to regularly bring about a fulfilling conclusion. With the open and close of each trilogy you get the opening of an interesting story and an appealing end. I look at where Halo 4 and 5 have left us and it feel like a chaotic mess, which cannot be sorted out in a satisfactory way, and it feels like it would take a frustrating number of games to complete the arch. It’s exhausting and confusing, and with the advent of Atriox, there does not seem to be that satisfactory end in sight. It’s making Halo seem more like a rapid fire serial comic book where villains are swapping in and out faster than our hero can shoot them down. If Halo campaigns are ever going to be fulfilling, I think it is important that the developers maintain a structured and well-paced story arch.
The second reason for keeping the trilogy format is somewhat cynical, but very important. It gives the developers an interval in which they can effectively wipe the slate clean and start a new story free from the baggage of the previous. I imagine there are more than a couple people reading this who are not particularly in love with the direction of Halo 5 or 4’s story. Could you imagine 343 building on this story arch indefinitely? If 343 can bring this arch to a somewhat satisfactory ending in Halo 6 (and I feel that is a long shot), all could be forgiven in short order, because then Halo 7 would open a new game where they could start afresh free from the baggage of the current games. This would also be useful in reigniting the mystery of the game. Instead of it being a “this then this then this then this” serial, it could be “new enemy, fight, win; new enemy, fight, win”, and with that you could find new ways to wow gamers with an entirely new mystery. Perhaps the biggest thing wearing Halo for me is the sense that I know all that is important to this universe and everything that comes after as a rehashed pile of crap making it’s orbit back around to my part of the galaxy. I miss the sense of mystery and awe that the first game inspired, and I would like for the franchise to find that moment where we wipe all of the current problems off the board and move onto something new.
Those are my thoughts. If you’ve read this far, I appreciate your time. I just felt this was a novel and practical discussion to have. Maybe you disagree or feel I’m misguided somewhere. Either way, let me know what you think.