I may have mentioned once or twice before that I’m a fan of the game and the storyline of Halo, the single most successful franchise in video game history. The basic storyline through three (soon to be four) video games is a interstellar war between humans and aliens as played through John 117, a genetically-enhanced super-soldier known simply as Master Chief, along with his companion artificial intelligence (AI) Cortona (three other games in the franchise follow different characters).
Gamers play as Master Chief in the single-player campaigns, and adopt a persona of their own in online multiplayer games.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the Halo franchise to me is the storytelling that goes into the series, and the care that the games designers and developers take into getting the details “just right.”
The “behind the scenes” video at the top of the post fascinates me for just that very reason, as in the eighth game of the franchise (Halo 1-4, Halo CE: Anniversary, Halo Reach, Halo ODST, and Halo Wars), the team is dramatically breathing life into an ultra-advanced ancient alien race mostly only alluded to before now or through their ruins, know as the Forerunners.
It is a chance to thrust the most successful video game franchise in history, worth billions of dollars, in an entirely new direction… or a chance to dramatically screw up the franchise like Obama did the economy. No pressure there.
The story of designers behind multi-billion-dollar franchise like Halo was fascinating to me, and so I borrowed a bit of that life to help develop a key character in my first novel (in development), a bit of post-apocalyptic fiction called The Long Way Home. The main character in the book has a high-stress career as the lead game content designer for another massively popular online multi-player gaming franchise, and the “behind the scenes” videos like those provided by the Halo development team that give a hint into what real-life game designers have to consider.
One of the subplots of my novel is the difference between the artificial worlds of war the character creates for a living prior to his society’s collapse, and the jarring and far more terrifying conflict he faces as he fights for his family’s survival afterward.
I’m looking forward to more of these “behind the scenes” videos, and hope to maybe get a chance to talk to some local video game designers (there are major game studios in the area, including Epic and Red Storm) as I flesh out this lead character going forward.