the first episode of Halo is full of nods to the legendary Microsoft shooter franchise video game roots and its wider tradition of generations of related novels and comics. But he also managed to sneak in a nice little nod to a other science fiction game icon– one that itself has been craving an adaptation for almost as long as Halo.
deep enough in Halothe first episode of “Contact”, as the UNSC decides to hide even more the fact of being tThe villains while interrogating the young survivor of the episode’s Covenant attack, Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha) – there is a very brief moment of chatter in the background as the ONI leader, the Admiral Parangosky (Shabana Azmi), ponders what to do with the teenager. As she watches, over the intercom, a UNSC officer makes a request…asking a Commander Shepard to visit a place called the Skillian Response Center:
It’s very brief, and you’re more likely to pick it up if you watch Halo with subtitles, but this is of course a very deliberate nod to Bioware’s beloved sci-fi action RPG series, Mass Effect. This should be partly obvious: Commander Shepard, customizable to be masculine or feminine, is the main character of the series. But the second half of the Easter egg is an even deeper legend for the franchise for real Mass Effect pure and hard.
The Skyllian Blitz is an event in Mass EffectCommander Shepard’s customizable backstory when a player plays for the first time create their version of them in the original game of the series. An expansionary conflict between the human army and a conglomerate of alien pirates on a colony named Elysium, Commander Shepard’s military story includes ground combat during the battle. If players choose the “War Hero” background for Shepard, then theyld off a breach in the colony’s defenses by the pirates, rallying the colonists to repel the attack in turn, earning military honor. If they choose the “Ruthless” background in the meantime, it’s established that Shepard instead participated in a retaliatory strike on pirate bases after the assault on Elysium.
But why is there a seemingly random reference to Mass Effect in an adaptation of Halo? Well, there was a brief period where both series of games were actually Microsoft-exclusive titles. the first Mass Effect was released exclusively on PC and Xbox 360 and published by Microsoft Game Studios in 2007, just months after the hit release of Halo 3 on the console. It wasn’t until Bioware was acquired the following year by EA that Mass Effect would become a cross-console franchise, but even then there was always an Xbox connection between the two series.
There’s also the fact that we’ve arguably been waiting this long for a live action shoot on Halo like we have one Mass Effect. In the years following the latter’s debut, there are haI been talks of potential films about the setting, and at the end of last year it was revealed that Amazon is transforming Mass Effect in a streaming television series, similar to Paramount’s plans with Halo finally comes to fruition this week. Maybe it was just a nod to a long-awaited adaptation of another one yet to come. But hey, it’s not even Mass Effectfirst wink on television this year—Shepard received an even more sly wink on the latest episode of The extent like an invisible soldier, ID’d on a computer screen! The right commander moves, apparently.
Halo is now streaming on Paramount+.
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