Could Halo Become the Next Star Wars?

Star Wars has been around since May 25, 1977 when Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope entered into theaters for the first time. The franchise then went on to make a fortune the size of a galaxy in its wake with timeless family friendly plotlines, characters and concepts that still have an astronomical effect on pop culture. Its closest rival to date has been Star Trek, but has a new challenger approached the mega-hit space opera to give the franchise a run for its money?

Halo: Combat Evolved burst onto the scene on the original Xbox on November 15, 2001, spawning an Xbox staple series that has been carrying the console’s weight on its shoulders ever since. Master Chief is the face of Xbox, but many in the gaming community are raising the question of if Halo 5 can help Microsoft catch up to Sony this generation. The real story here is how Bonnie Ross, head of 343 Industries, is comparing Halo to Star Wars and how she wants to see the franchise grow into something similar to George Lucas’s creation.

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Ross took the reigns of the space epic Halo in 2009 after Bungie ended the game trilogy and parted ways from Microsoft in order to start development on Destiny as a separate entity. Halo 3 was meant to serve the series as a definitive ending leaving Master Chief in cryo-sleep aboard the severed half of the Pillar of Autumn. This was until 343 Industries became its new development studio. A few key people from Bungie stayed behind, however, one of which being Frank O’Connor, director of the Halo franchise. “Bonnie came in and really surprised everyone, because she’d read all the novels, she was deeply immersed in the fiction, and she’d played all the games,” said O’Connor who was impressed by Ross’s knowledge of the Halo universe. Many fans of the Halo Franchise had felt that the series had come full circle; it had a great trilogy and a meaningful ending to Master Chief’s story arch. But much like Star Wars, even though the story had finished, there was still a lot of lore they could work with and exploit for extra cash. Halo was too much of a hit for Microsoft and company to let slip through their fingers, as where there is a rabid fan base there is a cash mooing cow just around the corner.

There has been a spawn of about eighteen books that chronicled the series from the very beginning to the point at which it resides now, much like Star Wars (before they axed their vast amounts of lore for a definitive one). Halo has a rich background for its story that one cannot find within its spawn of games on the console in which it started. This mirrors Star Wars films that spawned various books, TV shows and games that continue to give insight to its background lore that was not explored in the films. In Star Wars: Battlefront 2 for example, the player gets to understand how the troops who were apart of Order 66 felt when they were betraying the Jedi. It turns out that they were not too happy about it, but they followed through with the order anyways. This gives fans of the Star Wars universe a better understanding of why the clones turned so suddenly on their closest allies. Halo does the same thing as the franchise has a few films out there with many, many books and games. Meaning the set-up for what Ross is looking to do with Halo is there it just needs the right amount of attention to detail to get there.

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Halo 5 puts a new twist on how we as the player view Master Chief, as the story will be told between two viewpoints: Master Chief’s and Spartan Locke’s. Fans of this franchise have come around to 343 continuing Master Chief’s story after the success of Halo 4 and are now strapped in for each new installments to the games continuing story. But if Ross wants to extend to a Star Wars level, she must start to look beyond the game and towards a spawn of films. We don’t mean films like, Forward Unto Dawn, because let’s be honest: it wasn’t that great. We mean we either have to see her explore film roots like Ubisoft is doing with the Assassin’s Creed franchise, or we have to see a Hollywood-esque reboot of the series in the form of TV shows or films starting from the beginning (Halo: Combat Evolved) in order to capture and retain a new, non-gaming audience’s interest, as we introduce them to this strange new world.

Halo has the backbone it needs to support the lore in which Star Wars stands on, but if Ross wants to be like George Lucas, she needs to branch out further than just video games. If done right we could see Halo start to evolve from a simple shooter, into a galaxy that could rival Star Wars and possibly do what Star Trek could not and either surpass Star Wars (which isn’t likely) or settle for being second fiddle, which is an accomplishment in itself. Although if Ross wants to be exactly like Lucas, she has to sell the franchise to a mega-cooperation that plans to milk the series dry for billions, which is in the realm of possibility seeing as Halo is a well-known franchise among pop-culture and is just as popular as any other space epic out there currently.