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6/9/2009 12:51:57 AM
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Guide to Canon in the Halo Universe

This is version 1.03 and is also available in several formats including: [url=http://nathybabe.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/guide-to-canon-in-the-halo-universe-final-document.pdf]PDF[/url], [url=http://nathybabe.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/guide-to-canon-in-the-halo-universe-final-document.docx]Docx (Microsoft Word)[/url], and [url=http://nathanpgibson.com/guide-to-canon-in-the-halo-universe/]HTML[/url]. Thanks to Qbix89 for allowing me to hijack his post as the guide is much larger than it was originally. [b]Please do not reproduce this document without my permission[/b]. [b][u]Contents[/b][/u] Introduction and Notes Halo Canon General List of canonical material in ascending order Halo novels are canon Cortana Letters are not canon ILOVEBEES is not canon (disputed) Halo Wars is canon Spartan 458 - Nicole (from Dead or Alive 4) is not canon IRIS and other Halo 3 PR and Marketing Halo Legends is Canon Halo: Reach and problems associated with it Conclusion, thanks and acknowledgements Links [u][b]Introduction and Notes[/b][/u] This is a pretty definitive post that specifies exactly what is considered canon in the Halo universe. It has been put together using quotes and posts from various Bungie and Microsoft employees, as well as some external people such as Eric Nylund. Sources have been listed where appropriate and possible. The sources listed in this document include the following people: - Joseph Staten: Bungie's Director of Cinematics and Lead Writer - Peter Parsons: Executive Producer of Halo 2, current Studio Manager - Frank (Frankie) O'Connor: Former Content Manager/Bungie.net Team. - Eric Nylund: Author of Halo novels, including Fall of Reach, First Strike and Ghosts of Onyx. - Chad Armstrong (a.k.a.Shishka): Ex-contract worker and former Playlist Designer. Halo was originally developed by Bungie Studios and is owned solely by the Microsoft Corporation. Ensemble Studios developed Halo Wars while a number of authors have written novels. Graphic novels have been created by Marvel Comics and a DVD of anime shorts has also been produced. The Halo universe is now overseen by 343 Industries, an in-house studio set up by Microsoft to control and manage all things Halo. Frank O'Connor has a key role at 343 Industries. [b]Version: 1.03:[/b] Updated structure and content to take into account Halo: Reach and other recently released materials. Updates may be made to this document in the future. Please visit the Bungie.net thread above to get the latest version. [b][u]Halo Canon General Information[/b][/u] [quote][i]"Halo 'canon' can quite easily be viewed in a similar way as the kind of canon system in place with Star Wars. A certain hierarchy of priority. In other words, different levels of canon where the higher levels will override the lower ones whenever there is a contradiction. Everything that Bungie has ever approved is canonical. But even then, certain things trump others. In order of canonical influence: - The games rank first - Published materials (books, comics, soundtrack liner notes etc.) rank second - Marketing and PR materials third And there's one codicil: the more recent items trump the older ones. So, for example, if some aspect of Halo 3's fiction contradicted Halo 2's, Halo 3's would be the gold standard. Bungie doesn't like to retcon (i.e., deliberately change previously established facts), but sometimes it's necessary. Take for example the issue of the number of human worlds. The truth about the "800+" number? That was made up by a non-Bungie employee and never approved by us before the Halo: CE promotional website went live. As for some of the other issues raised, chiefly Jenkins' age and UNSC foot-dragging on fielding the BR55? I will only say that some marines have spent a very long time in cryo-sleep and that putting an entirely new weapon into service during a war -- especially a war that spans multiple star systems -- is no small order. That being said, I'm constantly impressed by how close attention you all pay to the details. Don't ever stop keeping us honest! And we'll do our best to keep you reliably entertained :-) - Joseph"[/i][/quote] Halo.Bungie.Org | Joseph Staten's Post ([url=http://forums.bungie.org/halo/archive28.pl?read=847640]http://forums.bungie.org/halo/archive28.pl?read=847640[/url]) The important information to take from this post by Joseph Staten is the order of canonical material. This goes in order: 1. The games 2. Published materials (books, comics, soundtrack liner notes etc.) 3. Marketing and PR materials Also of note is that the more recent the item the more canonical it is. So Halo: Reach would be considered above Halo 3. So if something in Halo: Reach contradicts something that is said in Halo 3 then the Halo: Reach information comes out on top and is considered canon. [b][u]List of canonical material in ascending order[/b][/u] This is a list of all published material from the Halo universe, ordered in terms of the influence each items has on the canon. The list is in ascending order so the higher the item the more influence it has over the Halo canon. If two items have competing or contradictory information regarding something in the Halo universe then a general rule of thumb would be to take as canon the information from the item that is highest in the list. 1. Halo Reach 2. Halo 3: ODST 3. Halo 3 4. Halo 2 5. Halo: CE 6. Halo Wars 7. Halo Legends 8. Halo: Evolutions 9. Halo: The Cole Protocol 10. Halo: Contact Harvest 11. Halo: Uprising 12. Halo: Ghosts of Onyx 13. Halo Graphic Novel 14. Halo: First Strike 15. Halo: The Flood 16. Halo: The Fall of Reach 17. Birth of a Spartan (Marketing) 18. ONI Candidate Assessment Program V5.02A (Marketing) 19. Superintendent Viral Campaign 20. Iris (Marketing) 21. I Love Bees Please be aware that this list may be incomplete and its accuracy will be contended by some members of the Halo community. I have created this list using the information available to me from various sources and as such it is not a definitive list. However for simplicity you can use it as a general rule of thumb if you come across contradictions or inconsistencies between two published works. Halo Wars has been listed as 6, although it was released after the Halo trilogy of games. This was simply because it was created largely outside of Bungie's control. Some may dispute that it should be higher or lower than it is listed. [u][b]Halo Novels are Canon[/b][/u] [quote][b]GameSpy: [/b][i] When you were writing the game's script, did you want to tie the whole universe together, including stuff that was in the two books?[/i] [b]Joe Staten: [/b] The books are full of wonderful, complex elements that would be hugely problematic if we included them in Halo 2 in any meaningful way (e.g. the existence of other Spartans). That being said, I did my best to be take the books into account as I wrote, and there are definitely common themes and characters. The opposite is true as well; Eric Nylund and I spoke often as he gathered his thoughts for the third Halo novel, "First Strike."[/quote] Gamespy | Interview with Joseph Staten ([url=http://uk.xbox.gamespy.com/xbox/halo-2/562962p2.html]http://uk.xbox.gamespy.com/xbox/halo-2/562962p2.html[/url]) [quote][b]How Stuff Works:[/b] [i]Was the "Halo" story fully realized and segmented into different games, or did you take the story as far as "Halo 1" and when it came time for a sequel, build the story from the ground up?[/i] [b]Pete Parsons: [/b]The "Halo" universe has an overarching story that is well thought out and was well thought out before "Halo 2." We have roughly 600 years worth of "Halo" fiction, and we know what happens inside of that universe at any given time. The ["Halo 2"] story itself only existed as notes and was really fleshed out. We know ultimately, at least in the "Halo" universe, where humanity came from, where it's going to, at what point in time it comes in contact with The Covenant [the villains in "Halo"] and what happens well beyond that. "Halo 2" picks up literally right after "Halo 1." But there is still plenty of story in and around that. And you can see some of that in the three novels we have. [b]How Stuff Works: [/b] [i]The novelization of a video game is, well ... novel. Where does Eric Nyland get the background for his books?[/i] [b]Pete Parsons: [/b]We work closely with him on all the stories. So what we do is we have these story arcs of the "Halo" universe, and Eric goes in and says, "Well that's a really good piece to take and here is in a microcosm what I think that story will look like." [b]How Stuff Works:[/b][i] Are you guys very conscious to make sure that everything fits together -- that the books and games don't contradict one another -- so that everyone can look to any source and say, "This is very consistent, fully realized world"?[/i] [b]Pete Parsons: [/b]Yes, but not in the marketing kind of way. We do it because we want the "Halo" universe to be manifold. You can certainly probably pull out some inconsistencies, but as a general rule we really try to keep it manifold. Because we think that ultimately we are doing this for ourselves. And after that, we're doing it for our fans, and we want them to really believe in this place that is the Halo universe. I think the reason Halo has captured so many imaginations is because we care a lot about what's going on in that universe and how believable that universe is. We have this high level myth that we understand very well.[/quote] How Stuff Works | Interview with Pete Parsons ([url=http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/halo1.htm]http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/halo1.htm[/url]) [b][u][Continued on next post...][/u][/b] [Edited on 06.25.2011 8:35 AM PDT]

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  • I believe it should be older canon first unless specifically retconned or changed by Bungie or 343. For example, hunters were considered "whole" creatures rather than colonies of worms, however Bungie retconned that in Halo 3 and Halo 3's manual. An example of where older lore trumps newer lore is when Halsey hacked a contendor class AI in Escalation, that shouldn't be possible, not even the Forerunners could do that.

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  • Cannon overrides [i]piss me off[/i]. This cannon stuff [i]pisses me off[/i]. [Edited on 09.20.2011 3:50 PM PDT]

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] UrethaPoptarts [quote] Everything that Bungie has ever approved is canonical.[/quote] So this means that Nicole 458 is canon?[/quote] so you think that dead or alive happened in the halo universe?

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  • Thanks, bro! Thread-Saved!...

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  • Canon, canon, canon. So bored of that word now.

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] grey101 I know which is why i asked, still i think it would be good to expand this over to the 343i forums until(and if) this changes.[/quote] The only problem is that this guide deals primarily (pretty much exclusively) on what Bungie employees think. Now that they are no longer in charge it would seem odd to post this over at 343. My point really is that what can and cannot be considered canon now is totally up to 343. Therefore a collection of quotes from Bungie employees doesn't really bare much weight on what 343i think about canon. This is the main reason why I haven't updated and don't plan to update this thread anymore.

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  • I know which is why i asked, still i think it would be good to expand this over to the 343i forums until(and if) this changes.

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  • I don't want anyone to reproduce this document without my express permission. If people think it would be useful or necessary to post it over at 343i then I will do so at a later date. And don't worry about losing this thread, the forum won't be going anywhere any time soon AND I have copies of the document saved in a variety of formats.

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  • Fear, though it is up for 343i to decide how canon works can you still post this in there forums or let me do it in you name? I don't want something like this to be waste if bungie wipes out this forum. I am actually in the process of looking through old threads and saving much as possible. I sound like the librarian..

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  • Wow! Nice job! Thread saved.

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] OrderedComa [/quote] My understanding of the ranking of canon (and that of various employees) is that simply games rank first, then books/novels/graphic novels, and then marketing materials. Although new items outrank older items I don't think marketing materials can ever outrank books and games. Basically games outrank everything. New games outrank older games. Books/novels etc. outrank marketing materials, and new books outrank older books. Marketing materials are outranked by everything else, but new marketing materials outrank older marketing materials. So basically Halo 2 is a higher authority in terms of canon than any advertisements for Halo: Reach. However unless there are contradictions between different items then you can take that what they say as canon. However if there are contradictions take the games as the highest authority always. Marketing materials are awkward in that they are outsourced to different companies who are given a brief but have a certain degree of creative freedom, so you have to take such things with a grain of salt. The stuff in the ninja's post is all my stuff anyway, I just had to put it there because I ran out of space in my two posts. The points listed are not definitive and I consider starting points for discussions rather than actual definitive errors. See my point below about adding more stuff to this thread. [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] grey101 I am up for helping any community project or any sort, i also have a list of credible contacts that would help also.[/quote] I'm not really planning on updating this particular project any more. Now that Halo is in the hands of 343i it's up to them to decide how they want the canon to work and I'm not really that interested or motivated enough to continually update this. I'm kind of hoping that they will come out and either announce how canon will work or some other sort of announcement. [b]However[/b] if you want to then please feel free to write up some stuff or work with other people to come up with some refinements or improvements then you can post them in here and people can see them, if I do update the original document then I can add stuff like this in later. [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] Clark 714 Dude great work on this. [/quote] Thanks. [Edited on 06.25.2011 5:03 AM PDT]

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  • Dude great work on this.

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  • I am up for helping any community project or any sort, i also have a list of credible contacts that would help also.

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  • I've taken some flak for stating that the advertising information released with Reach currently has more authority over things stated by characters or in narration in other books. What do you think about it? How would you rank [i]new[/i] marketing material for a [i]new[/i] game, would you say that until a new book or game comes along and contradicts it that the marketing material would be part of the golden standard? That's my take on it anyway, because if [i]all[/i] marketing materials are subject to the books and games no matter what then why would Bungie put any effort to explain some things in them like they did with Reach? Also, I think you should create a section for Reach in your list, the Ninja who posted a section on Reach raises a couple good points, but I think his points 2, 3, and 4 should be altered or struck out because they're not entirely accurate. I would suggest altering 4 and 3 because they [i]can[/i] have plausible reasons of explanation worked out based on previous sources. I think having that link to Caboose's thread on the issues brought about by Reach is a good idea, but it should not be treated as if everything listed in there is a contradiction with previous materials, some of the issues Caboose and others in there listed actually [i]have[/i] been addressed and resolved by Bungie in both the marketing materials for Reach and Halsey's Journal. This is a very good thread you have here, I think we can do a lot with this by trying to hammer seeming conflicts and the like out and coming up with some more definitive picture of what we actually know. I have a list of people who can help oversee all of this if you think you need the aid while you catch up on current releases to Halo's story or something. If you want help with all this I'd suggest approaching, Grey101, Anton1792, Cmdr DaeFaron, Decepticon Cobra, and I'd be willing to lend a hand in whatever way I can too. There're probably a lot more people who'd be good help and willing to lend a hand too if they were approached, but those four are the main ones I'd suggest.

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] Narcogen I'd just like to point out that the above quote-- starting off with preferring Staten's word over Frankie's-- isn't a post by Louis Wu, but a post by myself. On the subject of ILB itself I think Wu and I mostly agree, but I'm betting there are a few choice words in that post that he'd be unhappy to have put in his mouth :) At least the ILB questions are now mostly ignored in favor of discussion about how Halo needs to be protected against Bungie's ruinous retconning by 343i (sarcasm detector activated). Came back to this thread for reference in a canon discussion at HBO, glad to see it was still here :)[/quote] Thanks for pointing that out, must have misread the HBO forums. I'll make sure to change when/if there is another revision of this document. Glad to see the thread is still useful. [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] RagedSycokiller i want to know how johnson wasn't infected with by the flood. [/quote] This isn't really the thread to discuss this, but if you do a search for said character on google I'm sure you'll find plenty of information on that subject.

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] grey101 2.I don't find any excuse as to why we don't see a MAC inspace at all in the game. The first place of LNoS takes place on one side of the planet and the next part on another. so i don't get why we don't see not a single platform not even in the distance[/quote] Doesn't look like they went to the other side of Reach.

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  • i want to know how johnson wasn't infected with by the flood.

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  • 0
    Narcogen
    Narcogen

    Sane Inventory: Vault Advanced - old

    [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] Maimum FEAR [quote]I'm sorry, I'll taken Staten's word over Frankie's on the Halo story any day of the week. Meaning no respect to Frankie, he came on after Halo 1 and left for MS to follow the Halo IP, whereas Staten is a Bungie guy through and through and was there since before Halo started. That Frankie contradicted him two years later and that Staten backpedaled ever so slightly after that isn't particularly significant to me. [/quote] The [url=http://forums.bungie.org/halo/archive30.pl?read=902585]first post[/url] and [url=http://forums.bungie.org/halo/archive30.pl?read=902691]the second[/url] post by Louis Wu outline very clearly why although not completely decisive it it fairly appropriate and suitable to say that I Love Bees is not canon. I'm not going to change the original thread but I will link to your post and my reply. Thanks for posting your criticism nevertheless as no doubt other people will have had the same criticism and its been addressed. Thanks, if you want to discuss it further feel free to do so in the thread or give me a PM. [/quote] I'd just like to point out that the above quote-- starting off with preferring Staten's word over Frankie's-- isn't a post by Louis Wu, but a post by myself. On the subject of ILB itself I think Wu and I mostly agree, but I'm betting there are a few choice words in that post that he'd be unhappy to have put in his mouth :) At least the ILB questions are now mostly ignored in favor of discussion about how Halo needs to be protected against Bungie's ruinous retconning by 343i (sarcasm detector activated). Came back to this thread for reference in a canon discussion at HBO, glad to see it was still here :) [Edited on 05.26.2011 3:23 AM PDT]

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] grey101 [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] Maimum FEAR Basically ranking works the same regardless of the author. The ranking list for all canon material is in the OP.[/quote] Can you explain that though? Because when it comes to that i feel it should be just as "pure canon" as any game.[/quote] As far as I can see it that's just the way it works. Probably due to the fact that when a game is made, there are multiple writers, producers, directors and project leads all making sure everything work and fits together. A game is very much a group effort and is more representative of Bungie. A novel, although there will be multiple people involved, is always going to be more of an individual effort. Even if the author is a Bungie writer its still his own stuff rather than that of Bungie.

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] Maimum FEAR Basically ranking works the same regardless of the author. The ranking list for all canon material is in the OP.[/quote] Can you explain that though? Because when it comes to that i feel it should be just as "pure canon" as any game.

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  • Basically ranking works the same regardless of the author. The ranking list for all canon material is in the OP.

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  • We're only supposed to go by game>books if theres a inconsistensy. Unless I'm mistaken the original Bungie quote said that the canon hierarchy only comes into play "in case of contradictions." If theres no problems games=books. [Edited on 04.13.2011 4:46 PM PDT]

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  • I have a question. If we are suppose to go by the motion that Games > Books what do we do if a book is written directly by a person that does the games? Example being contact harvest. Is it magically more accurate due to the fact a developer wrote it?

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] BINARYGOD [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] Maimum FEAR I'm not entirely sure about stuff like the terminals and data pads, though as they are part of the game and story they can probably be considered canon. When I say Heroic is the canon difficulty I'm talking about damage, movement and weapon effect etc. rather than plot devices like the data pads. The data pads are probably all considered canon regardless of the difficulty, they will just be placed in different difficulties to make it more of a challenge to obtain them. I doubt any of them rank above others.[/quote] FYI those new novels coming out about the Forerunner-Flood war are based, at least partially, on the terminals in halo 3.[/quote] I've got a huge backlog of books to read at the moment, and I stupidly keep buying more, so I probably won't get to read them till long after they are out. I haven't even read Evolutions 1 yet. Other people will have to do the hard work and see how they fit in with the rest of the universe.

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] Maimum FEAR I'm not entirely sure about stuff like the terminals and data pads, though as they are part of the game and story they can probably be considered canon. When I say Heroic is the canon difficulty I'm talking about damage, movement and weapon effect etc. rather than plot devices like the data pads. The data pads are probably all considered canon regardless of the difficulty, they will just be placed in different difficulties to make it more of a challenge to obtain them. I doubt any of them rank above others.[/quote] FYI those new novels coming out about the Forerunner-Flood war are based, at least partially, on the terminals in halo 3.

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] BINARYGOD [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] Maimum FEAR [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] ODST ROOKIE 1911 [/quote] I will say this, technically Heroic difficulty is the closest to the Halo Universe Canon[/quote] The general consensus has mostly been that Heroic is the "canon" difficulty setting. I've seen Bungie employees say stuff to that effect at least. Like I said though, that kind of stuff doesn't matter [i]all[/i] that much, story/plot generally don't change or alter with difficulty changes.[/quote] I think people are curious because when it comes to hidden data pads or journals or console's or whatyamacallit's from the Legendary difficulty, people want to know if those count as cannon or not. The data pads from the Halo: Reach tell the story of pre-cortana-like AI's conspiring behind humanities back for their own self interest's - including what I believe is an effort, prior to running into the covenant, to shying us away from discovering forerunner tech. If you think about that, that probably did more harm than good, considering the covie war... but anyway, I think people want to know how stuff like that, or odst sadie's story, fit into the grand fiction.[/quote] I'm not entirely sure about stuff like the terminals and data pads, though as they are part of the game and story they can probably be considered canon. When I say Heroic is the canon difficulty I'm talking about damage, movement and weapon effect etc. rather than plot devices like the data pads. The data pads are probably all considered canon regardless of the difficulty, they will just be placed in different difficulties to make it more of a challenge to obtain them. I doubt any of them rank above others.

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