The first song I heard from Christine and the Queens was over the radio. I was mesmerized by it. I think she is an outstanding artist. She has one full-length album out yet which is called Chaleur Humaine. And yeah, she is from France.
Another year, another Halo Interview. This time I have asked a long time acquaintance from Instagram who goes by the name of Knightinwhite. She is a Halo/Skyrim photographer and car enthusiast. She met her husband through Halo while playing Reach. That alone is the best story. Let’s see what she has to say about Halo. Enjoy!
1. When did you start playing Halo?
I started playing Halo later than most people, I got my first Xbox when I was 15, and started playing Halo CE, but I had no internet at the time and only played the campaign. Shortly after finishing CE, I got Halo 3 and Halo Reach.
2. If you could choose to be one character of the Halo universe, who would you be?
I would probably want to be Noble 6. Although he dies, he was a nameless hero, an underdog, he was the new guy, the guy no one thought would have so much meaning to his existence. When all was lost, he completed his mission, putting Noble team’s name on the board.
3. Do you have a favorite Halo quote?
„Wake me, when you need me…“ It’s such a classic, and also the username of the guy I fell in love with.
4. What do you love most about Halo?
Halo, for a very long time, was the only Xbox game I owned. I had little interest in other games for a while. What I love most about the game (Up until about Halo 5) was the in-depth story. The beautiful connection between Bungie and players. (and even the new connection with 343i during Halo 4) The Halo storyline was unmatched by any other game or even book. See you star side, Bungie.
Back in January 2015, I wrote an article about how to read the Halo books in a chronological order. 3 years later, I wanted to put out a revised article because we have seen 10 more books come out in that time span.
Currently, there are 25 Halo books on the market. Out of the 25, 21 are novels, another 2 are collections of short stories and 2 are digital only media. Saint’s Testimony is a digital short story and Shadow of Intent is a digital novella. Smoke and Shadow by Kelly Gay was also digitally released in November 2016 but the paper version (My version!) just came out in January 2018. It is a novella as well and part of it was already printed in the short story collection ‚Fractures‘. The Halo books have 2 trilogies to offer. One being the Forerunner Saga by Greg the Bear and the Kilo-Five trilogy by Karen Traviss.
In this article, I will not include the comics and games. Just so you know. It is wholly about da books.
The first 3 Halo books were published by Del Rey (now Unbound Worlds), another 10 by Tor and the rest was and is published by Gallery Books. 343 announced that they partnered up with Gallery Books in 2014. Tor was the publisher from 2006 until 2014.
But let’s head into the interesting part. How do I start the „project Halo books“? How can I become a Halo lore expert? Well, I have the answer…
First off, you begin your journey with a trilogy. Not just one trilogy. THE trilogy. The Forerunner Saga by Greg Bear. No other Halo book compares to this Saga. It is completely different to the rest of them. But that is a good thing. Not because I don’t like the other Halo books. On the contrary, I love almost all of them. But because it suits the topic. After all, the Greg Bear books are about the Forerunners. A species we had next to no knowledge about before the books came out. Because it is such a mysterious topic, the writing style of Greg Bear suits it so well. It is strange and sometimes cryptic but it makes sense to me because we read about this ancient time and this ancient race full of mystery. But yes, to be brutally honest with you, you most likely will have a tough time reading the books. From my experience, it is totally worth it though. I will link you to 2 podcasts who have in-depth discussions about the books and that I highly recommend once you finished the books. It helped me a lot to fully understand everything.
So now to the actual list of Halo books in chronological order:
- Cryptum by Greg Bear
- Primordium by Greg Bear
- Silentium by Greg Bear
- Broken Circle by John Shirley
- Contact Harvest by Joseph Staten
- The Cole Protocol by Tobias Buckell
- The Fall of Reach by Eric Nylund
- The Flood by William C. Dietz
- First Strike by Eric Nylund
- Ghost of Onyx by Eric Nylund
- Glasslands by Karen Traviss
- The Thursday War by Karen Traviss
- Mortal Dictata by Karen Traviss
- Last Light by Troy Denning
- Retribution by Troy Denning
- Shadow of Intent by Joseph Staten
- Hunters in the Dark by Peter David
- Smoke and Shadow by Kelly Gay
- New Blood by Matt Forbeck
- Saint’s Testimony by Frank O’Connor
- Envoy by Tobias Buckell
- Legacy of Onyx by Matt Forbeck
- Bad Blood by Matt Forbeck
Because the collections of short stories ‚Evolutions‘ and ‚Fractures‘ have such a widespread timeline due to the many various stories in it, I think it is safe to say: read them whenever you like.
To conclude this article I just want to say, that there are of course many ways to go about the Halo lore business. My list does not claim to be completely correct when it comes to the chronological order of the events. But it makes sense to me. There are a lot of books where timelines collide with other books or there is one section in a book that has a retrospect. If you were to be a smart ass you could argue that you had to read said retrospect and then go to the book that fits in that timeline. Only after that, you could go back to the book with the retrospect. I don’t know if I make any sense at all now. I hope so.
My best advice at the end of this: Have fun with the books! It is a glorious thing to learn more about this amazing Universe. And remember to support your local bookstores. Go, be sociable before returning to your Nerdcave with a grand old Halo book.
The first episode of Life is Strange: Before the Storm came out in late August 2017. There are 3 episodes in total plus a bonus episode which is included only in the Deluxe Edition. Since I enjoyed Life is strange so much, I was looking forward to this prequel. I was a little skeptical about playing as Chloe though. I loved Max as a character and felt ambivalent about Chloe. Her character seemed rude and annoying at times. But I went into this with an open mind and I must say it paid off.
This time Dontnod Entertainment was not involved in creating the game. They are currently working on Life is Strange 2, which is supposed to have a completely new story. They have also signed a publishing contract with Bandai Namco for a brand new story-driven game that we don’t know a lot about yet. I bet it is going to be great. I want story-driven games! Then in early 2018, Vampyr will be released.
But enough of that. Life is Strange: Before the Storm was created by Deck Nine. This American indie developer was founded over 20 years ago. Back then under a different name. Only with the creation and development of Before the Storm, they renamed themselves and started a new direction for the company:
„Meaningful storytelling and rich gameplay“.
The 3 episodes of Before the Storm have just that. A compelling story with deep characters and an entertaining gameplay.
You play as Chloe in the time when Max is still in Seattle. We get to know how painful the separation for Chloe was and how much she tried to stay in contact with Max. You learn that through diary entries which are updated throughout your gaming journey. I recommend doing that because it gives so much more insight into the character of Chloe. The episodes also introduce us to the mysterious character of Rachel Amber. A character we have only heard of in the original Life is Strange. The whole game is about the beginning of their friendship, the many obstacles they encounter and the painful experiences they make. But worry not, I won’t go too deep into the story, in case you haven’t played the game yet.
There are some new elements to the game. One being the Back Talk. In this, you have several clever options to say to some person and you are trying to convince them that you are right. You have to listen carefully to what your opponent says and answer accordingly. I failed one time throughout the first 2 episodes and several times in the third episode. I don’t know if I was less attentively while playing the last one. And to my knowledge, nothing serious happens if you fail the Back Talk. The other new element is the Graffiti option. That is a replacement for the photo mode of the original Life is Strange. Also new and very helpful for all you collectors out there is the collector’s mode which is activated once you finish an episode. You can replay sections of the game to try and find missed Graffiti options. Every Graffiti will get you a nice popping achievement.
One of the Highlights of this game was again the music. Maybe it was even a little better than in the first one, which is astounding in itself because the music was perfectly picked there. Throughout the game, I was in tears 2-3 times and I blame that on the music. The British band Daughter created a whole album for this game and they also recorded music for the original Life is Strange. Watch here to see the process of creating this beautiful Soundtrack.
It feels like Life is Strange is almost like watching a series. And yeah, of course, it’s published in episodes, but also the general feel of it is like watching a good series. Some of the decisions you have to make during the game are damn hard. Especially one in the last episode is super tough and I was thinking about it for a while. And although I am not a teenager anymore I could still relate to the problems and emotions of the characters. The story is really well written and each episode is a good length. I would say 1-2 hours per episode. If you bought or buy the deluxe edition you will have access to the bonus episode ‚Farewell‘ which will see Chloe and Max reunited. You will be able to play as Max for a final time. The episode will release soon, probably around the end of January.
And that’s it. I give Life is Strange: Before the Storm, a big Thumbs Up. Go and experience it yourself.
I thought this was pretty cool. I can’t imagine losing someone that close to me. But I would’ve done the same if that happened to me.