It’s no secret at this point that collector’s editions for gaming’s biggest releases are way out of hand, as evidenced by the reveal of a minifridge set to accompany Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 later this year. On the other hand, Halo 5: Guardians looks set to offer a bonus that’s much more appropriate, and will certainly please fans of the series.
Said bonus is an animated adaptation of The Fall of Reach, one of the most important events in the fictional universe that precedes the Halo games. The incident takes inspiration from the battle of Thermopylae, the real-life story that inspired the graphic novel 300.
When the Halo series began, this backstory was likely a play on the fact that its cybernetically-enhanced protagonist was a Spartan, much like the historical figures who fought at Thermopylae. However, various forms of in-universe fiction have fleshed out the story of Reach since then.
Eric Nylund’s novel The Fall of Reach released shortly after Halo in 2001, and was broadly praised by fans for its brisk plotting and excellent world-building. Many would consider it to be essential reading for anyone interested in the franchise, a definite step-up from most video game tie-ins.
That book certainly helped build the mystique of Reach, and fans were eager to learn more about how the planet fell. In 2010, Bungie released Halo: Reach, an excellent interactive take on the story — not to mention a fitting swansong for the company that established the series.
The video game and Nylund’s novel told two different versions of the same story, and it will certainly be interesting to see which the animated series adheres to. It’s likely that we’ll see something of a mix, as 343 Industries seems eager to steer the franchise in its own new direction.
Access to the adaptation of The Fall of Reach will be included in both the collector’s edition and the limited edition versions of Halo 5: Guardians. It’s expected that the three-part series will also be available for purchase individually at a later date.
Between the excellent Hunt the Truth podcast and this animated adaptation, it’s great to see expanded universe content being used to broaden the lore of the Halo series. If Halo 5 can bring all of these narratives together into one coherent story, it could well be a return to form after 343 Industries’ middling first outing back in 2012.
Halo 5: Guardians is set to release for Xbox One on October 27, 2015.