A BLACK & WHITE HALO
Where do all the Asians go in Halo 5?
A black and white multi-billion dollar game franchise
Diversity, representation and even good storytelling discussions are always controversial in the gaming community. Storytelling in game is often not the focus of the their developers because game has to be fun first and foremost. And unlike movies, people don’t have to finish a game to enjoy it. In fact, most people can’t remember the plot of the games they played. However, in the case of Halo 5, the discussion is valid because the game is based on the Halo universe, a fictional galaxy depicting human race’s relationship with the Alien race. It’s creator, 343 industries and Microsoft has put much thought into the storytelling. They even write the story beyond gaming. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, 343 Industries has even made a Halo Story Bible, the written record of everything in the Halo universe. It details every character, weapon, and plot development in the Halo world. These lore materials has been applied to novel, comics, TV series and radio shows. The crown jewel of the application is the game series, Halo. Unfortunately, judging from the game series and the promotional materials of Halo 5 so far, this multi-billion dollar game franchise is so far a black and white series.
The composition of Halo’s human galactic regime is not only interesting but important. The humans formed The United Nations Space Command(more commonly known as UNSC) halfway through the 22nd century. It consists of basically all the human worlds. In some ways, the UNSC shows how 343 Industries think human race will be like in the future. If there are few Asians characters in the UNSC, it may imply that 343 industries portrait a future where modern western society will dominate the human race in the future. If there are no Asian at all in the Halo Universe, it may imply that at some point in the future, there will be several genocide which kills most of the Asian population.
So far, the future seems bleak for Asians because there are zero characters in Halo main game series. The characters in the newest entries, though being one of the most diverse character groups in recent gaming memories, are strictly black and white. Thankfully, we ALL know there is an Asian character in Halo: Forward unto Dawn. So maybe there is some hope if we ignore the fact that he died in the show.
To be honest, I haven’t read all the Lore material of the Halo Universe. But the fact that one has to try so hard to remember an Asian character shows there is a representation problem here. And before the “because business” arguments come in, please note that Microsoft is trying to sell the game and Xbox One console into China market. So there is also little business sense for wiping the Asian population.
Halo universe has some of most interesting men, women characters I ever seen in gaming. However, as an Asian with yellowish skin color, I can’t help but wish the series can be a little more colorful.