How Master Chief Changed the Video Game Industry
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The Halo franchise is practically the face of the Xbox line of consoles and, while it doesn’t get as much lip service today as it did in year’s past, it is worth remembering just how much of an iconic piece of gaming history this franchise has been. I can’t possibly predict what would have happened if Halo never came out, obviously, but it’s fun to look back at the ways in which Halo shaped gaming.

The most obvious example is how it served as a console seller for the original Xbox. The future of that platform was unclear, despite being a technologically impressive piece of hardware. But once Halo showed up in magazines and ads, things changed. Console players had never seen something quite so beautiful. It was a game that handled well, had an arena combat feel, stunning graphics, a uniquely extraordinary soundtrack, an exciting story and a design that encouraged LAN parties.

Halo directly led to many things. For one, it had its own novel series and created a very enthusiastic fanbase. More importantly, it led to Halo 2 which was a huge moment in gaming. Sure, some changes in the arsenal caused a little debate, but the game’s ability to be played over Xbox Live gave online gaming a ton of momentum. Bungie would eventually track player stats in a fairly comprehensive way and ended up building a community around their game. People formed guilds. People found their competitive streak. This isn’t completely unique to Halo, but for a large part of a generation of kids, Halo 2 was the beginning.

There was more on the cultural side of things, too. The folks at Rooster Teeth found success filming a comedy series using in-game footage. This series, called Red versus Blue, wasn’t the first machinima to be produced but its production value and quality writing helped popularize the genre. Rooster Teeth also developed a large presence in gaming as a result, and they are arguably a pretty influential force in the industry and culture, too. Would we have RWBY without Halo? Hard to say.

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Halo 3’s forge mode, which was an incredibly impressive console mapmaker, deserves some respect, too. Players could accomplish amazing things with these creative tools, including new game modes. It is impressive when you see a game nurture that creative spirit. Also, grifball, was created in this mode and grifball rules. Of course, that’s also a creation of the folks at Rooster Teeth, so I guess this is yet another paragraph paying props to them.

At this point, Halo has been around for a long time. It’s hard to imagine it going away, too. It has stumbled a few times but, overall, it remains a quality series that continues to churn out stellar games and media to this day. I can’t wait for another opportunity to play through a Halo campaign with some close friends. It has become a gaming tradition for me.

Benjamin Maltbie
Benjamin Maltbie

Writing Team Lead
Date: 08/04/2020

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