By OSD Staff Writer, Jason Carter
When the original Xbox console was first released on November 15, 2001, Halo: Combat Evolved, the premier video game in Microsoft’s exclusive, first-party franchise, was released alongside it. And while Master Chief, Halo’s iconic green armor-wearing hero, went on to join the ranks of such console defining greats as Nintendo’s Mario and Sega’s Sonic, the Halo universe grew to include multiple games, books, comics, an anime, and even a live-action series. What most people are not aware of though, is that tucked away in the headquarters of 343 Industries, the studio behind the Halo games, is a place dedicated to preserving this vast history. The aptly named Halo Museum is packed with everything from toys and merch, to one of a kind, fan-created replicas of characters, vehicles, and weaponry from the Halo franchise. Ever wonder how big a Brute is in real life? The Halo Museum has one!
A few members of the OSD team recently got the opportunity to visit the 343 Industries’ headquarters in Redmond, Washington, and were invited to take the Halo Museum tour. OSD’s Chief Executive Officer, Glenn Banton was joined by Jeff Bartrom, OSD’s Development Director for Gaming, who just so happens to also be a huge Halo fan. Jeff describes the Halo Museum as “a mecca for halo fans.” Furthermore, Jeff says, “Basically, the Halo museum is a chronological order of anything that has ever been created, say from marketing assets from game materials to promotional items.” But before the Halo Museum tour even begins, Jeff says, “You start off by signing a log book of every person who has ever been to the museum, which is kind of cool, that little bit of small history, because not many people make their way to it.” Of course, Jeff is referring to the fact that the Halo Museum is not open to the general public, thus not many people will ever get the opportunity to add their name to the log.
For Jeff, a highlight of the Halo Museum tour was the museum’s collection of props on display. “The props were just astounding,” Jeff says. “To be able to see something that I grew up and loved watching as a kid, as a teen, and as a young adult, something that was my passion. Just seeing it there in real life, I could actually touch the props that the people wore from the [live-action series], and then from the games. It was just insane, you know, just seeing the Halo world come alive basically. It was just really cool to see the whole history and how passionate the team has been through it.”
If there was a star attraction of the Halo Museum tour, however, both Glenn and Jeff agree that it was the new, four-player Halo: Fireteam Raven arcade game they got to play at the end. In addition to working together as a team to battle virtual alien hordes, players also compete against each other. During gameplay, specific stats like enemies killed, max kill streak, and accuracy, are tracked, and players are awarded an overall score at the end of every level based on how well they performed. The clear leader at the end of OSD’s session was Glenn, who dominated all categories, which is surprising given that he has the least amount of video gaming experience of the group – he is however likely the most competitive.
The real reason for OSD’s visit to the Halo Museum though was not just to have fun. OSD and Microsoft have been working on a partnership that would provide veterans with a similar experience to the one the OSD team got to enjoy. Such an experience would, potentially, include a visit to the Microsoft campus, a tour of the Halo Museum, and the opportunity to meet some of the developers of high-level games. Though the details are still being ironed out, one can be sure that whatever OSD and Microsoft come up with will give veterans the type of unique experience and exclusive access not available to anyone else.