A Critique of 343i's approach to Halo's Art Direction

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Brian "Panda" Choi interpolator
Aside from the Youtube style of this video, I feel like this gentleman makes pretty decent critiques about 343 Industries Art Direction for the HALO franchise. What do you guys think?


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  • sziada
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    sziada polycounter lvl 5
    I like the new Art Direction, but to be honest, really it all comes down to opinion 
  • Chimp
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    Chimp greentooth
    Skipped through (will watch properly later) but I agree that Halo in general went downhill after 3. Visually they got messier and less iconic on non-forerunner side, and on the forerunner side it became uninspired. design wise they became muddier and it lost the humour that actually made halo special for me -- it wasnt overly srs -- it lost it's character. I miss hilarious australian NPCs, squeaky shrieking fearful grunts and general fun. Just seems like a generic military shooter these days that happens to take place in the Halo universe.

    Handing over an IP to a new team is never going to be easy, I just hope they have the balls to reboot with the right things in mind. It can be done though, as abrams has shown with star wars. So Star wars this shit, because right now it feels like the prequels we suffered there.
  • Ryusaki
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    Ryusaki triangle
    I disagree with your comparsion with J J's Star Wars.  Aesthetically its fine, but everything else is as generic and dumb as the new style of the Halo Universe.
    Abrams has shown with Star Wars and Star Trek that he is at best a mediocre director who can do flashy blockbusters which work as long as you don't think about the story.
     
  • Cay
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    Cay polycounter lvl 3
    It's a highly subjective thing..  the video should be called "Why I don't like the current Halo Art Style" instead of claiming to be part of the majority.
    The franchise has been around for a while so in order to make it look like a modern game you will have to make changes otherwise it will end up looking like starship troopers in higher resolution.
    He's welcome to try being an Art Director.. it's easy to critique if you are not involved.
  • Michael_Ingrassia
    I've worked on the inside there. It's amazing how they can take extraordinary talents and bring them to mediocrity. It all stems from poor management, staff afraid to speak their minds and fat paychecks. Another words shut up and get paid, or speak up and get gone. Microsoft has never known how to manage creatives and never will the way their internal corporate/political structure is.
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher polycounter lvl 8
    Having played all the halo games, I personally like the series but it has never blown my socks off in terms of innovation.

    In terms of art style, I much prefer the new asthetics to the halo 1-3 art style, which was super cartoony and hard to take seriously. case in point the grunt design and shreiky little voices in the older games. Hard not to feel like a 17 year old living in your parents basement when playing that. 

    I feel a lot of the older art style was basically due to limitations, it was super generic and mostly just 45 degree angle chamfers and random insets. super basic modeling and shapes. It looked ok for the time it came out, but even compared to other games it still had a pretty uninspired generic look.

    I think the series has moved a lot more towards functional design in a lot of their non forerunner environments, I remember seeing all the pipes and wires inlaid into wall panels in halo 4, more complex and thought out shapes to things, panels that actually looked like they served a purpose than being random 45 degree insets into the walls. a lot more rounded, industrial design style shapes that made places feel somewhat functional even in a scifi corridor context. Even the armor designs become more functional, with seperate plates and a mesh undersuit, much like batman's armor in the dark knight. 

    I do agree about the horrible re-design of the unsc soldier he points out though...jesus christ that looks bad. But then again that also is partly because it looks cartoony. which is how the old halo games looked.

    I found the comments about never wanting to look like killzone pretty funny, as the art in those games has always been gorgeous, but that's personal preference. It also has the functional feel to those worlds, thanks in part to a heavy industrial design influence.

    Pretty much comes down to personal preference and taste, which is not really something you can quantify as being right or wrong. I dig the new art style and designs, but then again I am not a super fan of the franchise, more of a casual player every now and then. 
  • RyanB
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    RyanB Polycount Sponsor
    Having played all the halo games, I personally like the series but it has never blown my socks off in terms of innovation.

    In terms of art style, I much prefer the new asthetics to the halo 1-3 art style, which was super cartoony and hard to take seriously. case in point the grunt design and shreiky little voices in the older games. Hard not to feel like a 17 year old living in your parents basement when playing that. 

    The first Halo game came out for the original Xbox 15 years ago and it was amazing.  It's hard to judge the original now because of the huge advances in hardware and tools.
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher polycounter lvl 8
    RyanB said:
    The first Halo game came out for the original Xbox 15 years ago and it was amazing.  It's hard to judge the original now because of the huge advances in hardware and tools.
    true, although the remaster of halo 1 and 2 retained a close look to the original. Don't get me wrong, i think the difference is quite staggering but the visual design language is pretty similar when compared to 4 and 5. 

    I think one of the biggest benefits of it was blowing open the fps genre in the console market. Goldeneye took the 1st step and was super popular, but i think halo solidified the genre on consoles.
  • DEElekgolo
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    DEElekgolo polycounter lvl 8
    My complaint:

    Halo 3:

    Halo 5:

    It's like they just dump a muddy zbrush sculpt and bake it right into the game. A lot of the new Covenant art direction is taking the "muddy zbrush sculpt" route that Warframe has done a few times.

    If you saw this you most likely would not think it was Covenant at all.


  • gfelton
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    gfelton polycounter lvl 3
    As far as the video goes, he did little more than voice his opinion about how where he feels the art direction is going. Personally, I rather liked how Reach tried to go for a more detailed approach with its art direction. I felt it fit into the canon without just grabbing the concepts and running. There's nothing wrong with innovation, even if it is in regards to the art style. With that said, I feel like they sort of messed up with Halo 5. They took existing concepts and canon and...didn't even run away with them. They got on a plane and flew away with them. They tried to push the envelope a bit too hard with a lot of the designs like the grunt and the UNSC marines like he mentioned. The spartans even feel a bit alien-ish with their redesign, as it seems they want a Warframe vibe with Halo now.
  • fdfxd2
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    fdfxd2 polycounter lvl 2
    I honestly think his criticisms of reach are... wrong...
    But anyway
    It's his opinion
    the rest of the video I agree with.


  • melli06
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    melli06 polycounter lvl 2
    I pretty much associate halo with Reach or ODST, it seems like the recent spartan designs are more on the side of Gundam or vanquish than the industrial and simple forms of the old school designs. Kind of a shame in my opinion, but I guess they are just trying to show their take on halo and I am certain many people prefer the new halo designs over the old ones. Also I completely agree with the point on how it looks like they just ran their highpoly models through zbrush. I really do not like that style personally but oh well. 
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