As I mentioned earlier this week, I spent Tuesday and Wednesday at Bungie Studios hanging out with Frank O'Connor and crew and playing through Halo 3 (in Heroic). I can't talk about that yet, but I can talk a bit about the advertising campaign that Microsoft kicked off yesterday.
They showed us most of the ads that they plan on running for the campaign and I had a chance to sit down and talk to Frankie about them. While I suppose some could view the ads as tasteless, I didn't really find them offensive. If you haven't seen them, the concept is drawn from the same sort of evocative documentaries that have been made about real wars. There is, in the teaser ad, a lone man, a veteran, standing in an empty and mostly darkened museum talking about his experiences in the war. The difference, of course, is that the battle he speaks of is totally fictional.
War is a serious thing, and real veterans should be honored for their sacrifice, but using that subject matter in a fictional account doesn't lessen what happened and is happening in the real word. If anything these ads are, as Fahey says, inspiring.
After watching a string of the ads, I was surprisingly drawn into the fiction. It left me with chills, listening to the descriptions and seeing the diorama. I'm not allowed to talk about specifics about the ads yet to be aired, but let me just say they're all top notch and as moving as the first.
I asked Frankie about the concept, if they were worried about the reaction it would get from fans of the game. If people might think the ads are spoilers. He said that the ads were created by a marketing team who had no idea how the game ends and that it is not meant to be part of the game's canon. Instead the ads, specifically that 1200-square-foot diorama created for them, is meant to be a generic representation of a series of battles, perhaps a level's worth in Halo 3.
Frankie says the diorama, which stands 12 feet tall and is peopled with 8 to 19-inch hand-crafted figures, is currently being taken apart with plans to perhaps have it tour the country, stopping at Halo events and maybe even a few museums.