Read the inside story behind the making of ‘Halo 5: Guardians’

 |   Thomas Kohnstamm

Jeremie Sloan’s garage in Oregon City teems with life-size “Halo” helmets, chest plates and codpieces. All are built with the goal of perfect fidelity to the “Halo” series of video games.

Elsewhere in his labyrinth of basement workspaces, Sloan uses pepakura, a Japanese papercraft technique, to match and glue thousands of tiny serial-numbered paper tabs into the models for his costumes. It takes weeks to construct a single Master Chief helmet out of pepakura — and that’s before the sanding and other tedious steps can even begin.

“Some people assume that ‘Halo’ cosplayers are a bunch of teenagers with nothing better to do,” said Sloan, a 6’ 4” crane mechanic, Marine and soon-to-be grandfather. “But ‘Halo’ got me through months in a wheelchair after I broke my pelvis in a construction accident. I love the game. And I want to keep giving back to the ‘Halo’ universe that has been such an important part of my life.”

Sloan is not alone in his dedication to all things “Halo.” He is a member of the 405th Infantry Division, a global network of “Halo” cosplayers, prop builders and superfans. The wider fan base, called The Halo Nation, numbers in the millions. Since the launch of the first “Halo” game almost 15 years ago, they have elevated it into one of the world’s largest entertainment franchises, with more than 65 million copies sold and 6 billion hours of gameplay logged.

The much-anticipated “Halo 5: Guardians” is the newest installment of the blockbuster game. However, the gaming industry evolves at the speed of light and “Halo 5: Guardians” finds itself up against ever-growing legions of games and platforms clamoring for attention.

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Fremont, California-based 405th Pacific Regiment Commanding Officer Danielle Yuan argued, “No parts of the game can just be good, everything has to be great. It’s ‘Halo,’ after all.” In order for “Halo 5: Guardians” to separate itself from the crowd, all of the game’s components, from multiplayer modes to narrative to visuals to music, must come together to exceed the enormous expectations.

343 Industries, the Microsoft game studio that created “Halo 5: Guardians,” is more than aware of the pressure. Josh Holmes, studio head of Internal Development, stated: “Fortunately, as ‘Halo 5: Guardians’ is on Xbox One, we have the opportunity to make the game come to life in ways that haven’t been possible until now.”

Kiki Wolfkill, studio head of “Halo” Interactive Entertainment and Channel, agreed, “Since the day we started working on ‘Halo 5: Guardians,’ we’ve seen it as our chance to put a stake in the ground and show everyone where we’re going with the franchise.”

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