The Art of Halo
by Eric S. Trautmann
Review by Steve Sawicki
Del Rey Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 0345475860
Date: 09 November, 2004 List Price $21.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The Art of Halo is a big book full of big pictures all about a video game. There's something surreal about producing a book of still pictures and sketches about a moving medium. For those of you who don't know, Halo is a video game that came out in 2001. It's a first person shooter more or less which means that you control the main character and see things primarily through that perspective. You can watch third person as well. Recently, as in last month, Halo 2 came out.
With this book you get to meet the brains behind the images, the people who decide what the grunts look like and how the aliens sound. And, lucky for you, they're willing to share all this. The book is broken into sections covering character design, environments, weapons and gear, vehicles and, I think, the most interesting part, The Art Of Game Design. While it's certainly of interest to some how the characters ended up looking the way they did, I'm not sure everyone really wants to see all 58 iterations of the Elites. It?s the same for vehicles. Do you really want to know why the jeep looks the way it does? Perhaps you do. For me I found the game design comments and information much more intriguing. Sure, I looked at the pretty pictures as well and skimmed through each section but the real meat for me was the final section on how the whole thing comes together.
Video games are more than the sum of their parts. You need the pretty pictures and the sound and the motion and, if you are to be successful, you need to have some story that draws the gamer in, otherwise there's no coming back over and over again. Halo, which dealt with humans battling aliens, was a huge draw because of the way the story was told. Yes, it was backed up with stunning graphics, dynamic game play and plenty of pretty pictures along with a rocking sound track but the nut of the whole thing was the vivid tale that captured the imagination.