Halo 2 and the Art of Storytelling

The Source Material

HSW: 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?

Pete Parsons: 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.

HSW: There is tons of fan fiction and tons of speculation. If you look on the Web, there are a lot of fan-generated theories about the origins of the Flood and The Covenant and the Forerunner, Guilty Spark, the Halo and everything. Did you guys pay attention to that when you were building the story of "Halo 2"?

Pete Parsons: Here's a conversation that never happened: "Oh, what are the fans saying? I read this piece of fan fiction -- we should change the universe in this kind of way." We never do that. We don't do it for our fiction; we don't do it for our games. We certainly look at what they're interested in, and in cases where they may be interested in one particular aspect or asking questions about another aspect, we certainly may flesh out more of the story because of that. But I can't think of times where we look at fan stuff and say, "Oh we should pick up on that and do it." And it's not because we don't love our fans and care about them. It's because we, as a group, have our own very specific ideas about what happens and how it happens.