news culture Halo the series: After 2 episodes, is the adaptation faithful to the video games?
The adaptations of Halo for the small screen are, casually, already quite numerous. After Halo Legends (2010), Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn (2012) or Halo: The Fall of Reach (2015), this time Paramount+ and Amblin take up arms to narrate the crazy adventures of the Master Chief, this super soldier capable of repelling armies of belligerent aliens without batting an eyelid. Now that the first two episodes have been broadcast on Canal+, it’s time to ask the famous question: is this beginning of the series faithful to the universe initially established by Bungie and then taken over by 343 Industries?
- A global universe that matches the Halos we know
- The plot takes place in another timeline
- Roles changed, characters added
- Dismemberments and nudity in a Halo?
A global universe that matches the Halos we know
In general, the Halo universe is carefully transcribed in the series. Spartan armor, military vehicles, alien design, UNSC gear, weapons, and representation of different planets are true to what we know, though Reach may look more like Arcadia than the planet Reach as shown in Halo Reach. The proportions are also generally respected, with gigantic Elites (about 2.50 meters) and a Master Chief who is around 2 meters. Rare passages of the first episode expose the action in first person view, as in the game, surely for the wink. The interface visible during these moments is different from that of the games, although we find the motion detector and the level of charge of the protective shield. As for the Prophets, they too are in the game and speak the Sangheilie language well, which seems more realistic than the human language used in Halo 2. At the moment, no music from the original work is used in the series. The theme of the credits, although inspired by the famous anthem, is not that of Halo.
The plot takes place in another timeline
Let’s be clear: Halo the series is not “cannon”. The plot of the program is different from that of the titles published by Microsoft. For now, the Master Chief is helping young Kwan Ha and searching for answers to visions that occurred after he came into contact with a mysterious artifact. Unlike the games, the first two episodes of the series do not take place on a large ring-shaped structure, or in a space station, or on Earth. They take place mainly on Madrigal, one of the outer colonies of the UEG, and in The Rubble, a rebel base installed in a chain of asteroids. These two places are not playable in the Halo video games but do exist in the license encyclopedia. Another freedom taken by the series, Madrigal has not been vitrified by the Covenant since the creatures seek to learn more about a Forerunner relic. Reach and Great Bounty, respectively the UNSC headquarters and the Covenant capital, are also present. The action takes place in 2552 but Reach has not fallen, the Covenant have not yet found a ring world, and the Flood is not a threat. Yes, the Halo series takes place in another timeline than that of the game.
Roles changed, characters added
Adaptation obliges, some of the key characters of the games have a different treatment. We find important characters such as Captain Keyes and his daughter Miranda Keyes (who is pursuing a military career other than that described in Halo 2), but also protagonists developed in the extended universe of the franchise, such as Margaret Parangosky. Sergeant Johnson is currently absent. Dr. Halsey, on the other hand, displays a more ambiguous personality than was briefly presented in the games. The role of John-117 is obviously quite different from that of the original works. From a simple killing machine that can release deadly replies, he becomes a protagonist who discusses (at length) before acting, plagued by doubts, which seems quite normal for a show focusing on the political aspect of the various conflicts. The fact that John removes his helmet at the end of episode 1 and hardly puts it back on in episode 2 does not help to find the Spartan that we are used to controlling. Also, the Master Chief learns that the Spartans’ emotions are suppressed by a chip located at the bottom of their spine, a chip that does not exist in the games. Finally, in this timeline, only a few humans have the power to activate Forerunner technology. John is one of them as well as the mysterious Makee, a character never seen in a Halo but who seems to have a great importance in the television series. It should be noted that the plot of these first two episodes revolves around Kwan Ha, a new character in the Halo universe who comes from Madrigal.
Dismemberments and nudity in a Halo?
Although Halo video games are FPS not recommended for children under 16, they remain relatively measured in the representation of violence. There is blood, yes, but that’s about all. The series is much more demonstrative in its gory effects. In the first episode, it is not uncommon to see dismembered bodies, horribly mutilated bodies on the battlefield, and heads exploding under the impact of bullets. Halo the series has chosen to show rather than suggest. Unlike the games and previous adaptations, the series even ventures down the paths of nudity. Without going into the assumed voyeurism of a Game of Thrones, the end of episode 2 reveals the naked body of a female character. Nothing exceptional in the universe of television series, but a sequence that we would not have thought to see in a work stamped “Halo”.
In France, the Halo series is broadcast on Canal+ every Thursday evening in two episodes. Paramount+ should arrive in France later this year. As of this writing, no DVD/Blu-Ray release has been officially announced. But old Paramount+ programs have already been released in physical format, so there is hope. These first two episodes received the average of 61/100 on Metacritic and 69% on Rotten Tomatoes.
By CarnbeeJournalist jeuxvideo.com