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How the ‘Halo’ TV series misunderstands the video game’s fans


Whenever you pose a challenging question to Master Chief, the super-solider leader of the “Halo” video game series has a ready response: “I don’t know.” From the beginning of the Paramount+ series, which is based on the sci-fi-inspired computer game space fantasy, the scientifically augmented human doesn’t seem to know much about much of anything.

This is an example of a video game trope.

The Master Chief’s hazy memory is a frequent concept in video games, one that is so overused that it is amazing that it still occurs. Opening an adventure with a hero who has had his memories erased is a narrative shortcut to avoid the disconnect that might occur between the player and the character: Why would we urge someone to seek answers to problems they already know the solutions to?

To desire to use a virtual space cannon on television, we don’t have to see ourselves as Master Chief in order to be motivated to do so. All we have to do now is find anything fascinating about him. Let us hope that this loss of reflection isn’t a permanent fixture, despite the fact that we may believe Master Chief when he claims ignorance — owing to Pablo Schreiber, who, like Pedro Pascal in “The Mandalorian,” is emotionally vulnerable and existentially curious when the mask is off.

There are the so-called nice men of the United Nations Space Command (UNSC), who may not be quite as good as they appear to be at first glance. Dr. Catherine Halsey is the mastermind behind the super-solider programme, and she is everything but subtle in her planning (Natascha McElhone). It turns out that there is an extraterrestrial species called as the Covenant, which was named after a powerful artefact that happens to be giving Master Chief memories. Oh, and there’s a cosmic war going on between the United Nations Security Council and human rebels, with whom we’re clearly supposed to empathize despite the fact that they’re fighting an army of space marines.

It will be interesting to see how the series evolves and what its tone will be. The world of video games is a place where it is perfectly acceptable for a character to flee and hide after taking a few gunshots in order to wait for an energy bar to reload. When it happened in the first episode of the series, replete with the game’s audible whoosh, I was sold — but I speak “Halo,” and I want any interpretation of the term to have a slight whiff of corniness in its presentation. Even more of the latter would be appreciated, and it was a relief when the Covenant leader appeared to be a construct influenced by the Jim Henson model.

There’s a long history of video game adaptations that have attempted to strike a balance between diehard fans and others who are unfamiliar with the source material. It’s difficult not to get the impression that the producers and writers are desperately trying to appeal to those who have already played and watched the definitive “Halo” experience — which is the recently released “Halo Infinite” — as well as those who haven’t played or watched the games but want to see what all the fuss is about in the first place.