Sci-Fi Author: Halo Full Of "Bull**** Archetypal Characters"

You might like Halo. You might not. Crysis 2 lead writer and sci-fi novelist Richard Morgan says he doesn't like Halo at all.

"I don't like the Halo series at all," says Morgan, best known for his dystopian novel Altered Carbon. "Okay Halo is not actually bad, it's just, you know, average."

Average? Do explain!

"The reason that its fiction doesn't work has nothing to do with the fact that you don't get to see Master Chief's face, it's because of lines like 'Okay... I'm gonna get up there and kill those guys'," says Morgan. "Halo is full of these bullshit archetypal characters and there's no real emotional effect."

When Neil Blomkamp, the director of District 9, was attached to the Halo film, he mentioned that the plan was to have the film focus on those around Master Chief. That certainly does give a degree of gravitas to what Morgan is saying.

Of course, Crysis 2, a first-person shooter, is expected to be out later this year. So is first-person shooter Halo: Reach.

Crysis 2: Richard Morgan Q&A [Now Gamer][Pic]


    While I understand that Halo isn't exactly the zenith of writing and that this guy may be smart and experienced... he's being a bit too 'high and mighty.'

    I mean he's ragging on just about everyone. Lets just wait and see how good Crysis 2's writing is hey Mr. Morgan?

    Uh, yeah, isn't that the whole point of silent/semi-silent protagonists, like Master Chief and Gordon Freeman? To allow players to put themselves in the character's shoes?

    Besides, since when was Halo about the emotion?

    I think he means stereotypical, rather than archetypal. The latter are projections which arise time and again in storytelling because they contain something which continually resonates, while the former are lazy distillations drawn directly from the cultural milieu and are little more than caricatures.

    For someone who professes to be a writer, he doesn't seem to have a firm grasp on the theoretical elements...

      I'd say he knew what word he was using. The characters are so often used for a reason.

        Hear hear.

      Umm... yeah... what he said...

    i dont blame this guy. i hate halo as well. its just so slow and boring. i dont know what people see in it, and why people are tossing each other off in anticipation of another halo game

      Yeah but before he goes slagging off about other peoples games, perhaps he should take a look at the shithouse writing for Crysis...

        If I had to guess, I'd say that's exactly why EA hired an award winning sci-fi novelist to write the sequel. Funny that.

        I'm no good at learning enough code to make a game at this point, but I am more than capable of critically bashing bad games whilst being backed up with logical points.

        You do not need to be a better writer to judge another writer's work. Ignoring who the guy is, I agree with most of what he says. Sure some of you know this is just another action game that somehow got you hooked, but most people are somehow compelled in thinking that the fiction is very strong. It isn't, and that won't be changing any time soon.

        I hope Halo: Reach tells a story better than it's previous installments though, but with the MW2 ghost-like spartan with a skull helmet as part of your team, I'll remain skeptical thank you.

        He didn't write Crysis, he wrote the story for Crysis 2

          My bad, I misread it earlier. I made an error.

          However, I will withhold judgement until I play Crysis 2. He does have a point about Halo 3 being full of boring characters though. Halo 1 and 2 had some interesting ones I can remember, especially part 1, but I cannot for the life of me remember ANYONE from part 3?

    He does make some valid points, but it's pretty apparent he isn't familiar with the Halo fiction at all. He's probably seen one or two cutscenes and that's all he's basing his hate off. In other words, he's just one of those typical haters who are trying to sound like they know something. And oh yes, I'm eager to see how much better Crysis 2's writing is. At least the first one was exactly how he described Halo: full of archetypal, one-dimensional characters talking about kicking some ass. And full of plot holes.

      "In other words, he’s just one of those typical haters who are trying to sound like they know something."

      OH, THE IRONY.

    Bah, Halo's the tip of the iceberg when talking of bad writing in popular games. Good writing these days just means 'less worse than the others'. Meh, end rant.

    I think you guys should put down your internet-pitch forks. While obviously this is marketing trash-talking, as an award-winning science fiction author, Morgan probably has more professional experience and skill with writing science fiction stories than say, the average video game story writer or video game fans.

    And Brasidaeon, he had nothing to do with the first game, and Crytek/EA probably brought him on because they realised the first Crysis' story was a bit crap.

      You're assuming, however, that the medium of storytelling is exactly the same between video games and books. They are written in entirely different ways, and for good reason.

      His blasting at Master Chief, for instance, would make sense if the Chief was the main character in a book. But here's the thing: he isn't. And unless you added more personality, he couldn't be.

      That said, I think he's a brilliant video game character because, as cliched as it sounds, you get to be him a bit. You become the badass, which is needed because that's what video games are for: you are the character.

    Halo is a great and epic sci/fi universe, emotion someone needs to go watch halo legends. Halo has a huge fan base its not just little 13 year olds wanking off to it. alot of mature people play halo and play halo for its amazing story telling. look underneath the bang bang kill kill story you play in the games and read the books or pay attenstion to the story theres so much going on in the halo universe you can loose yourself in it.. PISS OFF HALO HATERS you dont see me ragging on crysis that needs a super computer from space to run it -.-

      I love sci-fi stuff, but I can't stand Halo. :(
      The Overall story really makes me want to like Halo, but the lower down story telling is shit. So unfortunately it's not enough.
      I've also heard snippets from some of the novels and I'm not sure if I've ever laughed so hard in my life.

      Too many things about it make me cringe when I hear\read 'Halo'

      Multi-player is the only part I think is good (I've only played a few games and see that - it's not even my style of multi-player game)

      Campaign side - I've tried many times to get into the campaigns and they are just shit - for a whole lot of reasons.

      He might be a smug git, but he's right about Halo — it's bullshit. The amount of fans Halo has means little. Just look at 'Twilight.'

    The Star Wars movies had piss poor writing as well, but that didn't stop the series from being awesome and practically shaping a generation.

      Yeah what he said.

      Just because you win a couple of sci-fi literary awards doesn't make you gods gift to the genre.

    everything halo did well, half life 1 had done well a decade before that. and i totally agree with this guy, despite the massive success and huge budgets of the halo series, the storyline has remained pedestrian, and the majority of the dialogue in halo 3 is shit. fight me.

    Yeah, cool Richard Morgan. Let's see if you can manage to make a story with enough potential to fill five games, two graphic novels, seven books and an anime series (not that I agree they're all good). The Halo universe is full of incredibly rich stories if you're willing to delve in deep enough. One word, terminals.

    Personally, I loved being a kiss-ass super soldier and was more than happy with the overall backstory and depth of Halo. For someone who plays a lot of other games, Bungie actually stands out from the crowd storytelling wise. I just think it's a little stupid for the Crysis 2 writer to criticise the writing in a game like Halo. Especially since he's writing CRYSIS 2.

    Ive never read any of it so I wouldnt know personally..but doesnt Halo have a wide range of books and other literature to go with it?
    I heard at least a lot of this was actually rather good, competant sci fi.
    Also.. this guys making the sequel to CRYSIS, which as we all know had an intriguing and award winning plot line.
    Im pretty sure it was all the rage at Cannes.
    Oh wait, thats right, it was pretty much as bad as Halo.
    Glass houses and rocks much?

    I always thought that Halo's use of cliche was one of its greatest strengths, its just good old fashioned stupid fun, like a Michael Bay film (wow some halo fans are going to hate that).

    But thats just the appeal the halo universe has for me.

    That said, if you wanted to write an excellent sci-fi epic I'd have to agree with this Morgan bloke, in a genre where the only limit is your imagination surely we can do better than this.

    Not saying im against old fashioned fun, but if he's purely talking about kicking up sci-fi writing a notch I'm all for that.

    Haha, but all this means nothing till we see his new game I guess!

    I'll leave you to your emotional crying while I go kill some baddies.

    I know good writing when I see it. I'm a writer, myself. However, I would never be a douche like this guy. I don't bash games I haven't even seen enough of to make a proper judgment.

    This guy needs to shove it. The Halo games have an amazing universe surrounding them. The games may not have a novel's worth of storytelling in them (By the way, read the novels. All are for The Flood) but too much story in a game can make things confusing and boring. You have to balance it.

    Last Comment makes total sence, if they made the halo games all emotional and alot more story whats the point, your ment to be some bad arse super soilder not mr peom writing super soilder. The games are like the action parts while the books are all the backstory leading up to the badarse battles. make sence?

      Sorry but since when did good writing suddenly mean being a poet? Are people that filled with the desire to run around killing things that they desire the most pedestrian (thanks Elephant) story to go with it? Uncharted 2 has great writing, but never ceased from killing oodles of people.

    I tend to agree with him, but i didnt play it for the story, I played it for the badass gameplay. Though a lack of story did make me loose interest in the series after Halo 2. I never bothered to play Halo 3 because i wasnt interested in what happens to Chief. I'll still re-pay through the first one occasionally. Fun. Awesome. Badass.-

    Holy shit, where did I miss that Richard Morgan was writing for this? I could care less what he said about halo really, but this game just jumped a dozen notches on my hype-o-meter. Anyone else who has gotten to this point in the comments threads needs to go out and grab themselves a copy of Altered Carbon, right the hell now.

    Having actually met Richard Morgan (he was in Australia around Easter Last year and was in Perth for Swancon), he's a *huge* FPS gamer and back then told us he was going to be writing for a few games.

    If you are familiar with his work you can see why "Archetypes" is the right word as his work is *all about* taking conventions and turning them on their head and it's pretty obvious why he doesn't like Halo.

    As far as writing goes, he certainly has the chops and he's written a LOT about future military special-ops types. The only worry I'd have is that it *is* Crysis :)

    The God of War series has terrible writing and its full of Archetypal characters ripped straight from Greek Mythology... doesnt make it a bad game tho...

    He's right.

    There's an amazing amount of butthurt going on from the Halo fans in these comments which fits the unfortunate, though highly accurate, stereotype for any (largely internet-based) fandom.

    I have nothing against this man's statements - I like Halo but think his words are true after all - but after working on getting scripts and stories working in games and knowing exactly what processes and obstacles he'll encounter, I'm taking a "let's wait and see" attitude to how well his writing translates into videogames.

    I suspect he'll be eating his words.

    Unless, of course, EA and Crytek are going to completely and radically change the fundamental way of doing business in the videogames industry...

      Lol, agreed. I mean, let's have a look:

      A borderline mute super-soldier fighting aliens in a bid to defend Earth...

      It all seems a little too familiar...

      At least in Halo you played in locales derived from the story and not in the most overused sandbox in gaming history.

    Well, good luck on him making the story of Crysis 2, about a guy in a cyborg suit, better than Halo - which is about a human, named a Spartan cause of the suit he wears.

    Which one is more successful and which one has achieved an iconic status within the gaming industry? Hmmmmm

    Not saying Halo has the storyline worthy of an Oscar - but i don't think Crysis 2 would be either. Crysis is really only known for its graphics 'ON PC' for that matter. And judging by the new trailer for it, yes it looks interesting, but marines and some monsters and a Cyborg/Really touch guy in a cool suit - isn't very original. Okay - he may be referring to the characters, but overall, he is kinda just waiting to be proved wrong - cause i predict Crysis 2 will still just be known for "its graphics".

    Lots of Halo fanboys missing the point in here.

    He said he dislikes the cardboard cut-out characterisation. He's pretty much spot on. Halo didn't do ANYTHING new or original. It didn't do ANYTHING better than any other game had done 5 or more years before it. The only thing that pushed the success of the middle of the road shooter was that it was on a console and didn't control like a retarded monkey in a gimp mask. It brought generic, bland sci-fi FPS gaming to consoles. It isn't bad, but it belongs in the "fun to play budget titles" genre of PC gaming.

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