Halo has been around for nearly 15 years now, and nobody could argue that it’s made a long-lasting impact on popular culture. Beyond the popularization of the space marine trope, though, Halo has touched many individuals on a profound level and is dearly loved by many fans. Halo is a game that (for me, at least) revolutionized the way that video games are perceived. It’s a franchise that kicked the video game medium out of the trenches of pointless, juvenile entertainment and proved to the mainstream that it’s entirely possible to create a fun, competitive game while still fostering a grand and carefully constructed narrative.
In celebration of the die-hard fans that make up the beating heart of Halo, Microsoft released “The Halo 5 Effect,” a small retrospective of this storied franchise and a spotlight on some of the dedicated fans that make it so special.
The piece gives out some attention to the 405th Infantry Division, a group of mind-blowingly talented individuals who have made a hobby out of Halo cosplay. After looking at some in-progress shots of the armor that they’ve been crafting, we get a chance to hear from Danielle Yuan (Commanding Officer in the 405th Pacific Regiment) about expectations from Halo 5. Danielle simply remarked that “No parts of the game can just be good, everything has to be great. It’s ‘Halo,’ after all.”
This is not an uncommon standard for Halo fans, and it’s easy to understand why. Halo is a franchise that means quite a bit too many people and has something for everyone. Whether you fell in love with Halo because of its smooth first-person gameplay, its unique flavor of science fiction visuals, or its distinctive and fleshed-out narrative, you want the next installment of this franchise to be the best Halo yet.
The people working at 343 are acutely aware that all eyes are on them to make Halo 5 a masterpiece, and while that may concern other companies, they “relished the challenge.” Tons of 343’s design decisions are informed by feedback from the fans, whether it be feedback from previous games, or even tweaks that need to be made from beta feedback.
343 Community Manager (previously a competitive Halo player and coach) Andy “Bravo” Dudynsky was quoted as saying “We also do a ton of social listening and forum reading. If the fans don’t like a certain map or a certain weapon, we hear about it and get feedback to design, developers and management to put into action.”
When it comes down to it, 343 industries has taken up a very beloved franchise and celebrates its fans just as much as Bungie did before it. Instead of lambasting the talented cosplayers and other community content creators as “a bunch of teenagers with nothing better to do,” they engage with them and give them the respect they deserve. “The Halo 5 Effect” is a great read, whether you want to know what all the fuss is about with Halo or if you’re a fan who wants to know you’re appreciated. With Halo 5: Guardians on the verge of release, it’s a good time to look back at the nearly 15 years the community has had together, and look forward to 15 more.Further reading: Halo 5, Xbox One