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The Pop Culture Inspirations Behind Halo

This month, the seventh installation in the Halo video game franchise debuted to an opening of roughly $220 million dollars on its first day of sales. The game is also the fourth in an ongoing series featuring Masterchief as the main playable character.

Halo 4 brings several unique storylines and game elements, including an online-only story mode, where players join together in “Spartan Ops” battles through Xbox-Live. The game franchise has created a huge fan following, several web-series spinoffs, and quite probably a movie in the future. Now we’ll take a closer look at some of Halo’s designs that were inspired by popular books and movies, all brought together in the Halo universe to create one of the most epic games of all time.

The Forever War – This 1974 novel written by Joe Haldeman was part of the inspiration for Masterchief’s MJOLNIR armored suit. The book tells the story of a group of soldiers who fight against a mysterious alien enemy. The soldiers wear powerful armored suits with built-in heat packs, HUD visor displays, chameleon-like color changing abilities, and laser fingers for cutting(and killing).

Alien & Aliens – The 1985 and 1986 blockbuster films directed by Ridley Scott and James Cameron have a special spot in fanboy’s hearts, due in part because of the excellent acting by Sigourney Weaver who plays the character Ripley. In the films, spider-like creatures called “facehuggers” skim along the ground and jump through the air attaching to hapless victim’s faces for impregnation. These creatures look eerily similar to the tiny ‘Flood’ monsters introduced in Halo: Combat Evolved.

The next inspiration was Aliens’ Sgt. Al Apone. The black marine is almost entirely filmed with a cigar drooping from his mouth, sports a large mustache, and acts tough as nails. This character is nearly identical to Halo’s ‘Sgt. Johnston’, who leads the fight for the UNSC against the Covenant.

Also featured in the Aliens sequel is a large spaceship, called the “Sulaco”. This was an origin point for Halo’s “The Pillar of Autumn”.

The Thing – The 1982 adaptation of the classic film, ‘The Thing’, will forever live on as one of the creepiest and most gore-filled sci-fi movies of all time. But it has another claim to fame: an early inspiration for Halo’s “Flood” creatures. Whereas Alien 1 & 2 inspired the tiny creatures that transform human and covenant corpses into monsters, The Thing inspired the appearance of the actual beasts.

Hyperion Cantos – Dan Simmon’s ‘Hyperion’ novels are responsible for several pop culture motivations and designs, including the ‘Stargate’ television series, which featured wormhole portals through which a team of soldiers explore the universe. It also gave rise to the ‘Cortana’ character in the Halo game series. Simmons writes about an entire race of A.I.’s who operate machinery, fly spaceships, assist the military, and live on a planet they created.


About Zachary Levi Wall

Editor of Wandering The Universe blog. Author on the side, and contributing Tech & Innovation writer for Blacklemag.


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