Oh Xeawn, why you always gotta talk controversy? I dunno man, s’just my steez! Why you always gotta be hatin’ on my steez!
I’m sorry, I was just watching Adventure Time and Bob’s Burgers.
So yes, I’m going to talk about Halo and Race and Race and Halo today. Little known secret; I’m not a big fan of Halo. I mean, I respect the crap out of the franchise, clearly if millions a year are buying it then it’s a pretty good game. Honestly I have no idea why Halo is more popular than, say, Timesplitters or Red Faction or…um…Doom? I’m running out of shooters that I know. But, y’know, it’s not bad.
Like, segway real quick here, I know why Call of Duty is so popular, and I probably wouldn’t buy it but I respect it. It’s not my thing, I mean I’m decent at story mode but despite being an army brat I’m not one of those guys who knows all there is to know about firearms and stuff. So, in multiplayer I generally die really quickly. A lot. Many times. But, I understand why it’s so popular. It controls well, it plays tight, it’s a very compelling fantasy adventure that strums all the right patriotism chords, and it’s a visual treat to experience.
It’s just not my kind of game.
But, back to Halo. I don’t like Halo. Part of my one hundred and ten percent distaste for the series stems from how my introduction and time was spent with it before I had an Xbox, part of it is that I just didn’t like the weird floaty physics, and part of it was that I’m not a jock and I don’t go for the “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! SPACE MARINES!!!” thing.
Interestingly enough however, I loved ODST and I adore Reach. Y’know, the two games where you’re not Chief. I loved ODST because you were considerably less invincible, and I loved Reach because, well, you weren’t Chief.
But, Halo 4 came and went, and I played it for a review but didn’t review it because it’s Halo 4 and it’s going to sell millions whether I say I liked it or not. I’ll still review it eventually, because that’s the joy of getting to write whatever you feel like writing about, but I can at least say the game is horrendously pretty. Possibly the prettiest game I’ve played on a console. I disliked that every encounter felt like someone stuck a portion of a multiplayer arena into story mode and sent waves of enemies after you, and every firefight felt like it lasted two waves two long, but, yeah, respectable effort.
One thing in particular did bother me though. I guess if you read the Halo books then it’s no secret that John is Master Chief and by extension you know his race, but for some reason I never quite made the correlation (I only read one and a half books). But, everyone with internet should know he’s got dem baby blues and is either a blonde or a brunette. Also he’s white.
This bothered me really for only one reason; you’re supposed to be Master Chief right? I mean, that was the whole point of him not talking much and them always teasing but never showing his face, right? And the developers always said they always teased but never revealed because they wanted you to fully assume the persona of Chief…but…there’s a bit of a problem.
Yeah, see, I’m not a white guy with sapphire eyes. I’m a (mostly black) mutt with eyes somewhere between chocolate and tawny. I’m also not a brunette, I’ve got black-ish (they start turning crimson in the summer) dreads down to my waist. And, the moment 343 Industries decided to be like “Just in case you were wondering, BAM!”, I lost what little interest I had left in the franchise.
I loved ODST because of the challenge of being one of the less invincible unsung heroes of the war, and I loved Reach because I got to be my own Spartan. Many people don’t think it’s an issue that the overwhelming majority of protagonists are white males with the next group being white females, but for us, it’s a problem. This isn’t meant to be one of those articles where I make you squirm and get all uncomfortable about your world view, just a quick jaunt to say that perhaps 343 would’ve been on to something if the just left it as is. Honestly, how many Halo fans even read the books anyways? I’m not trying to insult anyone, it’s just…people who are going to read five to seven four hundred page novels…they’re…they’re kinda not your target demographic guys…
Honestly, Chief doesn’t even have to be black. It would’ve been awesome if he took off the mask and he was Native, or Indian, or Arabic, or some other minority I didn’t name yet. Of course, no big money studio wants to deal with the hate they would get if suddenly Chief was revealed black or some other minority. Just like when Captain America was black FOR ALL OF FOUR ISSUES OF A MINI-SERIES (it might have been a bit longer) everyone flipped the crap out. Just like if Batman was black or if Superman was black or if Wonder Woman were black or if Chief was Athabaskan or if Samus was Arabic, or if…
You get my point. I’m just saying, what little piece of Halo I could get into died when they put a face to the soldier.