I mean, it isn't really a strong argument to say that it makes sense for a story to fail in a pretty fundamental way - that being the creation and sustaining of some basic level of tension that keeps people invested in the story. The setting can be as logical as is possible, but if no one really cares about what is going on anymore then why bother? If the setting leads to a state of affairs where the protagonist ends up more powerful than all the antagonists, and where the tension deflates as a result of that, then the setting is itself flawed and should not have been developed that way by the writers. Simply put in this case, the UNSC should not have been allowed to rebuild so quickly from the end of the war, and should not have had all this new technology showered upon it by the writers so soon after the war. In doing so, there's not much point to continuing post-Halo 3.MasterOfWar6615 wrote:I would tend to agree that the current balance of power does undermine the tension, but once again, I think it makes sense. I at least don't want another Disney Wars problem on our hands where the good guys SHOULD be in a position of power, yet somehow aren't. It also wouldn't really make sense for players who thought they defeated the Covenant in Halo 3 only for another, stronger Covenant to show up in 4 that once again poses a massive threat to humanity (again this would be falling in the same trap Disney Wars has). So, 343 turned to the Forerunners to create new big baddies for humanity to fight and be the underdogs again. Based on the reception, this wasn't a great move, but for me it is because I strongly dislike Disney Wars (except for Rogue One) and would hate to see Halo fall down the same path.
All the mechanisms that allowed for this to happen, many of which you covered in your first post in this thread - such as the role ONI is playing in making factions fight each other, to the role that the San-Shyuum played in technology and governance, to the imitativeness of the Covenant, to the fact that some human colonies were spared, to the disappearance of the entire Hurgok species, to the notion of humans being good at using Forerunner technology; all these mechanisms could and should have been addressed differently if 343i wanted to avoid the pre-Created situation of there being nothing in the setting that could ever really pose a threat to the protagonists. All of these mechanisms should have been either downplayed (Such as in the case of Covenant imitativeness, human ingenuity with Forerunner technology, or the role of the San-Shyuum in the Covenant), or simply not introduced (Like the disappearance of the Huragok and ONI's extreme meddling in the affairs of others), so that the Halo universe would have some degree of immersive tension left in it. I'm not particularity immersed in the idea of the Infinity plowing through fleets of Covenant ships. I find that boring after the first or second time. So, basically, the setting should not have found itself in the position in the first place where the most logical situation to develop was also the situation that effectively killed off it's ability to create antagonists that weren't a complete joke to the protagonists. The UNSC becoming the sole superpower should not have ever been the most logical option in the first place, in otherwords (And I disagree that it was the most logical option based on what we know, but I'm not really here to argue that particular topic. I'll just assume it's true for this.)
I do hear your thoughts on the issue of not invalidating the outcome of Halo 3 however, and that is something I also feel quite strongly about. I don't ever want to see a return of the Old Covenant, nor a Human-Covenant War 2.0, in any way. That would completely kill off my interest in the series. I don't think however having the UNSC as the underdog post-Halo 3 would necessarily invalidate that so long as the antagonists that it fights are not clones of the Old Covenant, and so long as it doesn't just devolve into the same old conflicts that the series has completely worn out by now. In my above post I describe how 343i should create new factions and polities that are completely divorced from the idea of the Old Covenant and the attitudes and behaviors of the characters that used to exist within the Old Covenant.
And if we really want to shake things up in a way that enshrines the outcome of Halo 3 whilst retaining the protagonists as the underdog, we could maybe re-evaluate the UNSC's role as being the setting's universal good guys and having someone else be the protagonists, whether that be the idea of some group of humans who are against the growing power of ONI within the heart of the UNSC and UEG, or perhaps some rising fusion of ex-Covenant and former UEG human worlds that seek to challenge the status quo of forming nations and exclusive identities out of species and the idea of zero-sum interactions between them that has ruled the setting for millennia. Though these would be quite experimental and likely a disruptive evolution of the setting on par with the advent of the Created, and would require a lot of proper setup.