Archives: halo

The voices of Halo – Part 1

„Wake me, when you need me“

A quote, we all are familiar with. A voice, that gives us the chills. A voice, heard so many times we could repeat the lines in our sleep.

The voices of the Halo characters are a big part of the amazing experience we have while playing Halo. In over 14 years we’ve heard so many talented voice actors giving different characters of the Halo universe life and making their voice irreversibly connected to those characters. Here’s an appreciation I think they deserve.

Master Chief:

He has such a distinct, supercool voice. I would recognize it everywhere. And his voice is really all we get. We never see his face (Ok, his eyes in the epilogue of Halo 4…yes, but…), we don’t want to see his face. At least I don’t want to. It would ruin something. So since we don’t have facial impressions, the voice is very important and gives life and character to this massive, green armored „machine“. And of course the Chief doesn’t talk very much. That’s part of his character. I think in Halo 4 we hear the most of him. I just recently played it again and I really like the cut scenes of Chief and Cortana. They are very emotional and couldn’t be done like that in an earlier Halo game. Their relationship is based on efficiency and deep trust. And since neither of them could really express their real feelings towards the other, the dramatic events of Halo 4 push both of them to somewhat romantic and emotional conversations. The upcoming rampancy and therefore the loss of Cortana bring up covered up feelings and a deep rooted fear of loosing each other. The Chief is utterly helpless with the imminent rampancy of Cortana. He is used to getting things fixed with a big bang, but this is something different. But ok I’m rambling on, off topic. Haha, I should write about MC’s and Cortana’s relationship sometime.

Anyway, now that we have established how important the voice of a video game character can be, let’s see who the person behind the Chief’s voice is.

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This is Steve Downes. He is an american voice actor and DJ and has been the voice of Chief since 2001. The second video game he had ever done was Halo: Combat Evolved. Marty O’Donnell, mastermind composer of the soundtrack of the Halo games (Besides Halo 4), did cast him back then. Steve is also famous for hosting the morning radio show 97.1 fm The Drive WDRV in Chicago. He just recently made a big announcement saying he will be ending his 14 year long commitment to hosting that radio show. He is planning on spending more time on traveling, spoiling his grandchildren and improving his golf skills. I say, well deserved Mr. Downes! Furthermore he hosts two nationally known radio programs called „The Wine Experience“ and „The Classics“. Want to know more? Steve Downes

To me his voice is just so sexy. Over the last 14 years I’ve grown to love the Chief and his voice dearly. If 343 should ever decide to cast someone different for the Chief, I would go on strike and harass them. And I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be alone. Let’s just hope that Mr. Downes doesn’t get tired of voicing the most beloved video character ever created.

Cortana:

I love Cortanas voice! To be honest I get the chills when I hear her saying anything. Especially in Halo 4, where she has very long and emotional lines, you truly are embraced by her voice.

Jennifer Lee Taylor gives her voice to Cortana since 2001 and also to Dr. Catherine Halsey in Halo 4.

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She is the new voice assistant for Windows phones and named Cortana there as well. Being the biggest Halo fan it is a shame that I don’t own a windows phone but I’m just so used to my iPhone…ahh, I know there is no excuse. Jen Taylor also voiced Zoey in Left 4 Dead and Princess Peach, Toad and Toadette in various Mario games. It must be extremely difficult to voice an AI who has a lot of lines full of tech blabber. Here is a short compilation of some bloopers:

The Arbiter:

A very expressive voice. Deep and powerful. The actor behind it, is Keith David

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(c) 2010 by Brad Bethell

He is a film, television and voice actor with a stunning career and hundreds of engagements in several video games, as well as acting roles in films and series. His website: Keith David

He will continue to be the Arbiter in the upcoming Halo 5: Guardians. I can’t wait to see the Arbiter back in action and I’m so curious on his role in the new game. Being player 2 in most of the co op adventures with my boyfriend, I have payed a lot of time as the Arbiter in Halo 3. I feel very close to him. Keith David has done an outstanding job on giving him his voice.

Captain Jacobs Keyes:

The cigar smoking, combat experienced captain is voiced by Pete Stacker.

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We can hear him as Captain Jacob Keyes in Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo: Reach (The end). Pete Stacker also voices a UNSC Marine Sergeant named after himself: Markus P. Stacker. His character can be heard in Halo: CE, Halo: 2, Halo: 3 and Halo: Reach. Fun fact: The IWHBYD skull (I would have been your Daddy) is named after Pete Stacker. He was improvising during a scene on Halo: CE/Assault on the Control Room saying „Who’s your Daddy? Who’s your Daddy?“ And then he said „I would have been your Daddy but the dog beat me over the fence.“ It’s not Pete as Captain Keyes, but him as Sgt. Stacker and it’s very rare to hear. I never heard it so far. Listen yourself:

(copyright by Bungie /  http://nikon.bungie.org/misc/dialogue/sarges/idhavebeenyourdaddy_stack.mp3)

If you google the line „I would have been your Daddy, but…“ you see a lot of people saying it’s a line of Sgt. Avery Johnson, but as you know now, that’s not true. Would suit Johnson for sure though.

Pete Stacker is also involved in a comedy show which is called Real Men of Genius.

To learn more:  Pete Stacker

And finally, please take your time to watch this video. It’s from Halofest 2011 from a panel of the voice actors of Halo. This covers some of Pete Stackers work (not only on Halo) and some hilariously funny outtakes. I couldn’t stop laughing!

Toy review: I did it! I built my Mega Bloks Forward unto Dawn.

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I got my FuD as a christmas present from my boyfriend in 2013. I was beyond excited about it, since it’s one of the biggest builds Mega Bloks has to offer and of course because she’s such a majestic spaceship. Roughly 3 feet long, you need to seriously sort out a spot for display. It’s the first build in the Halo Signature Series and costs around 250 $. It has 2,877 pieces! Those come in 4 big boxes with a chart of the pieces within. Inside the boxes you have several bags with parts. What I found really annoying was the fact, that you had to open every bag in order to start your build. The parts are all mixed within the bags. That makes it extremely hard to work fluently on it. I spend so many minutes searching for one certain piece and since I couldn’t fit all the parts on my worktable I had to get up and sit, get up and sit…and so forth. Another thing I wasn’t too happy about was that the stickers don’t adhere very well. They were coming loose on the edges even while on the original sticker surface.

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The other slight problem I had was to differentiate between the colors of the parts. They come in black, light grey and dark grey. You need the best lightning you can get to safely see the difference.

But! But! It’s worth it, I promise. I had a lot of fun assembling this beauty. It has a soothing nearly meditative touch to build something from scratch. I listened to the awesome Drunken Halo podcast while building it.

The figures that come along are very well made. The Chief has his cryo tube and a Battle Rifle. Cortana stands on a platform and lights up if you press her down on the platform.

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Then you have an Elite with a Plasma Rifle, a Marine and a UNSC officer.

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There’s a fully stocked armory inside the FuD with 5 AR’s, a Sticky Detonator, 3 Pistols, 3 SMG’s and 3 frags.

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The really cool part is that you can simulate the breaking of the FuD like in the ending of Halo 3. You just have to lift the ceiling and split the ship in two, which is shown in the user manual. In the end of Halo 3 when the FuD attempts to make the jump through the slipspace portal, the Arbiter runs to the command bridge while the Chief stays aft with Cortana. As they try to make the jump, Halo’s pulse hits the portal and lets it collapse, severing the FuD in half. The Arbiter returns safely to earth, while the Chief and Cortana are cast out into unknown space.

Overall I can absolutely recommend this build to everyone who has the spare money and enjoys building stuff. It took me over 15 hours to build it and I didn’t rush it at all.

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Halo 2 map Relic is coming back to Halo 2: Anniversary in fancy new clothes

343 and Certain Affinity are currently working on reimagining the legendary Halo 2 map Relic. It’s a 12-16 player map and was very popular in the community. According to the latest Bulletin on waypoint, Certain Affinity have begun developing the remake. We will be updated on the progress throughout the next months. Until then we have these 2 amazing pictures of concept art.

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How to read the Halo books…

ATTENTION: There is an updated version of this article. Please click HERE.

…put on a self-knitted wool sweater, pour yourself a steaming cup of chamomile tea, find your favorite spot on the couch…nah, of course, I’m not talking about that kind of how to. When I bought my first Halo books 3 years ago, I wasn’t really sure which book to start first. I had no idea if there was a chronological order or not. All I knew was, that Fall of Reach was the most popular.

Since then I have made some research on how to read them best.

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To date, we have 13 Halo novels. Halo: The Broken Circle written by John Shirley is the newest addition released in November 2014. In this book, we learn more about the time before the Covenant was created. A time were Elites and Prophets were at war over different interpretations on how to use or not use old Forerunner relics.

This topic puts the book at the beginning of the chronological order, right after the Forerunner Saga and before Halo: Contact Harvest.

But first we will start with a list of the books in order of their release date:

  • 2001: The Fall of Reach by Eric Nylund
  • 2003 (Apr): The Flood by William C.Dietz
  • 2003 (Dec): First Strike by Eric Nylund
  • 2006: Ghosts of Onyx by Eric Nylund
  • 2007: Contact Harvest by Joseph Staten
  • 2008: The Cole Protocol by Tobias Buckell
  • 2009: Evolutions (Collection of short stories from Traviss, Nylund, Buckell or Frank O’Connor)
  • 2011(Jan): Cryptum by Greg Bear (Book 1 Forerunner Saga)
  • 2011(Oct): Glasslands by Karen Traviss (Book 1 Kilo Five Trilogy)
  • 2012 (Jan): Primordium by Greg Bear (Book 2 Forerunner Saga)
  • 2012 (Oct): Thursday War by Karen Traviss (Book 2 Kilo Five Trilogy)
  • 2013: Silentium by Greg Bear (Book 3 Forerunner Saga)
  • 2014 (Jan): Mortal Didacta by Karen Traviss (Book 3 Kilo Five Trilogy)
  • 2014 (Nov): The Broken Circle by John Shirley

The first 3 were published by Del Rey, the other ones are all published at Tor Books. The latest one The Broken Circle came out at Gallery Books. If you are a die-hard Halo fan who read all the books when they came out, you’re definitely a very cool person. If you are like me, a die-hard fan as well, but slowly exploring and discovering the Halo universe, you should consider reading or re-reading the novels in the following order:

  1. Cryptum
  2. Primordium
  3. Silentium
  4. The Broken Circle
  5. Contact Harvest
  6. Fall of Reach
  7. Cole Protocol
  8. The Flood
  9. First Strike
  10. Ghosts of Onyx
  11. Glasslands
  12. Thursday War
  13. Mortal Didacta
  14. Evolutions (You can read these short stories at any point really. I choose to read them last.)

That is at least the order I’m going to read it in. Right now I’m at Fall of Reach. Gotta read it again since it’s been too long. And of course, I haven’t read The Broken Circle yet. I still need to purchase that book.

I began with The Forerunner Saga two years ago I think. I was very confused at first. The Saga is very different from the other books and it takes some effort to really get into the story. For me, not being a native speaker and reading it in English was very hard. All the specific terms and what not had my head spinning. But all in all, I enjoyed the books. Gives you a detailed look into the mysterious Forerunners, who of course had their grand appearance in the game Halo 4. So if you want to know more about the Didact and his wife, the Librarian and the story of the Forerunners, you should definitely read the Saga.

I also really enjoyed Contact Harvest, which tells you the story of Sgt. Avery Johnson and the first human encounter with the Covenant on planet Harvest. It gives you insight on the Covenant, on how the different races live together in High Charity. You learn more about the Prophets (How Truth plotted to become the leader), about the Grunts and Jackals and the Brutes. I loved this book!

So you have books like The Flood by William C. Dietz, that follows the story of an actual Halo game. In this case, Halo Combat Evolved. And you have others, most of them, who give you background info on events of one of the games or just general background info on the Halo universe. You learn so much more about the rich and fantastic story of Halo and lets you understand the games even more. You should definitely replay the games if you read all the books. Or! Or! You could be a real crazy nerdy ass nerd and follow this particular chronological order I found here: halodiehards.net

That, of course, includes all the games at the right point. So you would read a few books, some not even completely, play a game in-between and then go back to the books.

I would looooove to talk to one person who has done it that way. I really would. If you are one of them, please leave a comment.

Important: Support your local bookstore. If they don’t have your book in stock they can order it for you. With the following links you can quickly find a local bookstore in the US and UK:

USA

UK

And now pick up a Halo book and start reading!

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