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Worst Halo line since "were it so easy" (Destiny)

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Friday, April 08, 2022, 11:00 (48 days ago) @ EffortlessFury
edited by Kermit, Friday, April 08, 2022, 11:04

We played the game, writers. We all heard her say that to him once. Ugh.


The line also serves another purpose, you know? It may still be just as clunky, but it also signifies that the Chief is actually now reflecting on that statement.


Wouldn't we assume the latter regardless? If we remember that Cortana said that to him, then the Chief does. The problem is the 343 writers didn't trust us to recognize a callback when we heard one. That's how it felt to me. Looking back at the old thread, ibeechu made the point I think you're making, which is that the Chief has never been that reflective, and the line makes it clear that now he is. I thought we got the same through body language, but it's a fair point.


I agree that the body language did a great job of communicating that; at the same time, I think folks give "the audience" too much credit. There's plenty of overt stuff people seem to miss as well.

Welp, you've triggered me here. I’m tempted to go on an extended riff on the dangers of condescending to an audience, how it erodes trust, and leads to a downward spiral culturally and socially, but I'll keep the focus on storytelling. Experiencing a story is not a one-way transference of information. Storytelling must engage the imagination--the audience is a participant and good stories allow imaginative space for the audience to fill in the gaps for themselves. it's the difference between a mundane and a great story. I can have a new epiphany in my 50s about a story I first read as a teenager because the story is that rich, and what makes the story rich? It has layers of meaning, and works its magic when the audience is permitted to uncover those layers on their own. It’s the hard part, though, of creating good stuff—giving the audience enough info but not too much. To me it’s a much bigger sin to give them too much than too little, but 343 erred on both sides with Halo 4.


I think punctuating that the Chief is reflecting for seemingly the first time in the games was important, even if it felt heavy handed. I try my best to forgive smaller issues like this because I understand that they're compromises made for the sake of the wider audience.

It’s a creative work, and neither of us is wrong, but again my criticism here is part of a larger criticism. 343 had a big challenge ahead of them, trying to expand a popular universe, not alienate fans, not retread what had been done, and attract new fans, all in a game, which requires intense work just to make it fun. On the too much/too little challenge, I think they failed by nearly requiring you to be a hard-core, Greg-Bear-reading fan to understand the larger plot, while failing at smaller moments like the one we’ve been discussing, where less would’ve been more. Breitzen recently reminded me of the Serenity movie, which faced similar challenges, but superbly got new viewers up to speed while adding new depth to familiar characters. Where 343 knocked it out of the park, as far as i’m concerned, is in focusing on the John and Cortana relationship at the heart of Halo.


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