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Taking Orders

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ISSUE 21

Welcome back to your weekly dose of Halo story-related yumminess. Last issue, we took a closer look at the brand new Halo: Spartan Strike, which is out now for Windows 8/8.1, Windows Phone 8/8.1, Steam, iPhone, and iPad. If you haven't already checked this out, you absolutely should. Flinging a Warthog around from my laptop or my Lumia 925 is an absolute blast, and getting to finally set foot on Gamma Halo should excite Halo fiction fans of all sorts of walks. This week we’ve got some Universe housekeeping to attend to, another look at the latest #HUNTtheTRUTH, and a chat with a small person who plays a big role in helping keep the Universe in order. Let’s get started!

#HUNTtheTRUTH

If you haven’t already been following the #HUNTtheTRUTH campaign, you might want to bring an Energy Sword to cut through all the tension that Episode 04 brings. Our main protagonist, war journalist and photographer Benjamin Giraud, has found himself in a particularly compromising spot with the Office of Naval Intelligence. And trust me, the last thing anyone would want to do is sully their standing with the spooks. With nowhere else to turn, Ben calls upon someone who many deep-lore fans would consider a welcome familiar face: Petra Janecek, who herself has made quite the career out of covering and capturing the struggle humanity has faced over many years of war with the Covenant. She’s personally one of my favorite characters, and has been since we were introduced to her back in 2010, in the short story Petra, included in adjunct section of the Definitive Edition re-release of Halo: First Strike. Coincidentally, that same story was the first time we were introduced to one Captain Thomas Lasky, though the connection wouldn’t be fully realized until Petra came back to help her childhood friend in Issues 4-6 of Halo: Escalation. If you listen to the latest episode of #HUNTtheTRUTH and find yourself compelled to learn more about the bold reporter with a big revolver, definitely check out Halo: First Strike (2010) and Halo: Escalation. And don’t forget to stay tuned for much more #HUNTtheTRUTH…

 

UNLOCKEABLE ARMOR

In case you missed it, earlier this week you got to check out a brand new CG trailer showcasing Spartan Locke putting on a deadly display of Mjolnir might. This sweet suite of Spartan abilities is largely made possible thanks to many of the latest evolutions and advancements found within the Mjolnir GEN2 power armor platform. You also learned that pre-ordering Halo 5: Guardians from select retailers can net you the opportunity to don Spartan Locke’s particular permutation, aptly dubbed HUNTER. In case you missed it, here is the lore text that accompanies this particular variant.

GEN2 Mjolnir HUNTER-Class Armor: Sophisticated and lethal, HUNTER-class armor incorporates Watershed Division's latest warfighting technology.

GEN2 Mjolnir HUNTER-Class Helmet: Though still considered a prototype implementation, the HUNTER's sensor suite enhances situational and threat awareness.

Be sure to stay tuned as we head ever closer to launch, as we’ll undoubtedly have much more lore to bring you surrounding the armor, weapons, vehicles, and more that will be found in Halo 5: Guardians when it hits your hands and hard drives this holiday.

HOUSEKEEPING

Canon Fodder itself is not just a place where you can come to enjoy closer looks at the Halo fiction, it’s also a jumping-off point to the Universe section of Halo Waypoint and Halo Channel. With that in mind, we wanted to keep you up to date with some of the cool ways we're evolving the types of content you can experience here, and talk a bit about some of the different ways we want to help connect you to the Halo fiction in the coming months.

Universe Articles

The entries found in the Universe section come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles, and are designed to both provide deep-diving fans with cool things to discover, as well as helping on-board new fans to the vast – and sometimes complex – Halo narrative. The breadth, cadence, and scheduling of specific entries depends on a number of factors; sometimes things are tied to specific content releases, and some are just a matter of overall scope. We view the Universe section as a “living” and evolving feature, and you can continue to expect new and updated Universe entries to be added. Most often, the information will be largely known by the “hard core” story lovers, but there will always be new and scattered nuggets of secret goodness to stumble upon!

Community Q&A

Community Q&A is one of our most popular features. While it is going to undergo a bit of an evolution, it isn’t going to go away, so don’t worry. The Official Community Q&A Submission Thread on our Universe forum is now reopened and will stay open indefinitely. The same submission rules will apply, 1 post per member, up to 3 questions in your post at any given time. What you will also start seeing is more community questions and answers sprinkled throughout issues of Canon Fodder more often, rather than just waiting for one dump every couple of months. This will let the fans see answers a bit more often, and will also let us pour over your questions in a more efficient fashion. Community members who have (or have had) their questions selected and answered will also receive the shiny new “FODDER FEEDER” forum badge. Expect to see some more details on this new format in the nearish future.

Deep Dives & Revisitation

Another feature that fans have voiced their enjoyment of is taking closer looks at specific aspects of the fiction, whether that be an old campaign level or revisiting a beloved book. This can be especially helpful for new fans as well as we are constantly seeing new members on the forums asking “what should I play/read/listen to so I can learn more of the story?” This helps us introduce new fans to fiction they might have missed, and remind long-time fans of fiction they might have forgotten.

CF Snapshots

CF SNAPSHOTS is not only a fun exercise to get fans exploring the Halo games in new and deeper ways, it’s also a way for the community to help put their own stamp on Universe content. You’ll start to notice community-captured images showing up in various Universe entries, watermarked with a special community badge, and community members whose shots have been selected will also receive a SNAPSHOT SHARPSHOOTER forum badge of the same design.

Get to know us

Another thing we love to do is to let the community get to know the folks behind the scenes, who in ways both large and small, obvious and obscure, help bring the Halo story to life for the fans. You’ve already seen examples of us talking to studio heads, writers, producers, artists, and more, and we’ll continue to do our best to give you an inside look at how the Halo story gets both crafted and curated.

Get to know each other

It’s not just us you should get to know better, it’s each other! We have an absolutely incredible array of fans and community groups who help inform and engage fellow fans about the Halo story and universe. Expect to see some pretty cool community-focused chats and features to help highlight the awesome ways you all celebrate the Halo story. Stay tuned!

NEW FICTION ANNOUNCEMENTS & REVEALS

One of my personal favorite things to do is help reveal new fiction-related content. Whether it’s a new book reveal, or the latest information on partner projects like the upcoming tabletop fleet game from our friends at Spartan Games, expect to continue to see some extra-special scoops within these pages, especially as Halo 5: Guardians draws near.

Halo: Fleet Battles

Speaking of Spartan Games and new reveals, If you’re in the London neck of the woods this weekend, hands-on demonstrations of the upcoming Halo: Fleet Battles tabletop wargame will be running at Salute 2015. Now available for preorder, the first battle box – focusing on the events of Halo: Reach and Halo: The Fall of Reach - will allow you to recreate pivotal space battles in the Halo Universe with fleets of human and Covenant warships under your direct command. The starter box includes 49 exquisitely detailed unpainted plastic models, with expansion packs allowing you to simulate the full-scale battle for Reach, with hundreds of vessels and installations on each side!

The preorder incentive should excite any Halo fan. In addition to the miniatures, rules, counters, dice, and campaign guide, you’ll also receive highly detailed resin busts of the two Fleet Commanders from the box set: UNSC Vice Admiral Michael Stanforth and Covenant Supreme Commander Rho ‘Barutamee!

(Product not yet final, colors and appearance may vary from that of prototypes on display)

WERE KNIT SO EASY

Seeing as how we’ve been talking about some of the inner workings of the Universe section today, we thought it would be nice to introduce you to someone you might not have heard of, but who is helping make it easier every day for fans to consume the content they love. Symantha Reagor is a writer/producer/master-knitter who might have 99 problems but a stitch ain’t one. At 343, she plays roles as both a writer – helping make sure that the right content is pulled and copyedited from a myriad of published sources – and as a production assistant, helping organize everything from content schedules to content localization. She’s a Halo fan through and through, and probably couldn’t decide if she’d rather dive into the latest novel or drop feet first into some campaign. I sat down to talk about with her about what the Halo story means to her and find out some of her favorite aspects of the lore.

GrimBrother One: So, how did you get here? This job I mean, not my desk.

Symantha Reagor: I started off as an English Localization editor working on mobile games for a game publisher. This could mean everything from checking sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation, to having to change things like “bento box” into western equivalents like “lunch box.” Toward the end of my time with that company they switched from publishing foreign games to producing games in house, where I worked on a mobile card game for the Assassin’s Creed franchise. After my contract ended with that studio, I jumped at the chance to be part of what was going on at 343 Industries.

GRIM: So, tell us a bit about how you feel about the Halo story...

SR: Oh man, where do I even start? Halo is this truly epic story; I literally wrote a 10-page research paper in college on the various types of symbolism found throughout the first three games. There is a character for everyone. A Spartan for everyone. It's so easy to find someone in this massive universe to relate to.

GRIM: Any particular characters you gravitate to more than others?

SR: Lucy-B091 is my favorite Spartan. I think I relate the most with her. It doesn't hurt that she's only an inch taller than me, either.

GRIM: Well, except you talk more...

SR: Whatever, no cheesecake for you. (Noooooo!!! – Grim) I'm not someone you look at and think “supersoldier”. People look at Lucy like she's broken beyond repair because she's experienced trauma, but she's not broken. She's strong.

GRIM: I think we can agree there is a lot more than meets the eye with the both of you! What was your favorite Halo game?

SR: Hmm, this is a tough question. Story wise?

GRIM: Story wise.

SR: Okay, story-wise I'm going to say Halo 4.

GRIM: Why is that?

SR: Master Chief and Cortana have been through so much by that point that it was truly heartbreaking at the end when he loses her. I was a mess. Like, “tears streaming down my face, sobbing into my cat” mess. That ending just completely wrecked me, but it had to happen. He had to lose her so that he could grow. When he said "I was supposed to take care of you." And her response "We were supposed to take care of each other. And we did…"

GRIM: Okay, you can stop before I start crying... Do you have a favorite Halo novel?

SR: I loved Halo: Glasslands, in large part because of Lucy meeting the Huragok Prone to Drift. That was another time Halo made me cry.

GRIM: I loved their interactions as well.

SR: Prone to Drift telling her he can't fix her, and Lucy telling him that she's not broken.

GRIM: #Onions, for sure.

SR: Right? And he tells her she "is most definitely broken. Reclaimers speak." No joke, I'm forcing myself not to tear up now through sheer willpower. Aside from that, Halo: New Blood is my new favorite I think; I read that entire book in Buck's voice.

GRIM: What are some of your favorite aspects about working with Halo Waypoint, Halo Channel, and the Universe section specifically?

SR: I love working on new entries for the Universe. I get so excited to see the reactions in the forums. Whether it’s background research or helping fill in some of the blanks, my inner Halo fan adores getting to spend so much time around the lore.

GRIM: What's your favorite content to watch on the Halo Channel?

SR: I'm obsessed with the Hunt the Truth episodes right now.

GRIM: Who isn't?!

SR: ONI has told a lot of stories to hide the history of the Master Chief, and here is this reporter, chipping away at the very foundation. Plus, Sully. Need I say more.

GRIM: I suppose it might be safer to not. Thanks so much for talking today! And I'm sure I can speak for the fans in saying thanks for all the things you do to help awesome content get produced. 

SR: Thank you. This was a lot of fun to get to talk about and I'm really proud to be part of the team that bring Halo to the fans in so many different ways. (And she does make the absolute best cheesecake ever. Seriously, ask anyone in the studio. – Grim)

And thanks to all of you for joining us! We hope that you enjoy our time together as much as we do, and we hope you will tune in next week for further focus on the fiction.

Until next week… Live well, play Halo, and never awaken an ancient evil.

-Grim

NEW UNIVERSE ENTRIES THIS WEEK!

PROPHET OF TRUTH

After first contact with humankind, the High Prophet of Truth emerged as the leader of the Covenant, intent on wiping out the enemy species.

PROPHET OF MERCY

The High Prophet of Mercy transitioned from Covenant Philologist to High Prophet upon the discovery of humanity.

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