Okay, so today marks one of the very few occasions that I’m actually pissed off at something 343 has done, and it comes in the form of the Halo 5 music vidoc released today.
Kazuma and Tojima off-handedly mention about how Halo 4 “missed those old themes from the past". There’s a few things I want to say about the bullshit in that statement alone.
First of all, no, Halo 4 really did not miss out on those past themes. Halo 4′s OST (both released and unreleased tracks) contains numerous referential motifs and melodies from the original trilogy feature in moments that are contextually and thematically relevant.
Second of all, the quality of Halo 4′s music should in no way be judged by the extent to which it replicated Marty’s scores. The point of Halo 4 as a whole was that it was an evolution of Halo’s past, the establishment of something that was both new and familiar - so it, again, made relevant thematic and contextual callbacks to the previous scored, but pushed the direction of the music into bold new directions.
Thirdly, I think we all know why this is happening. It’s because a bunch of boring fucking morons who think the only standard by which 343′s work can be judged is by that which Bungie did in the past that they’ve decided to put on a pedestal. 343 is going to be lampooned by these extremely tiresome players (not fans, players) until the cows come home because that’s the one and only ideal standard they’ve decided is worth applying to anything that’s not done by Bungie - that goes for story, setting, universe, characters, characterisation, gameplay, and so on.
Now, I have no doubt at all that Halo 5′s soundtrack is going to be stunningly beautiful to listen to. What I’ve heard so far I’ve been really impressed with. What I’m extremely concerned about is the reason for which they’ve decided to simply drop Neil’s stuff, which is because a lot of people whinged that Neil Davidge’s stuff was too “un-Halo” (a ridiculously arbitrary and meaningless assessment, I might add), and that branching out from those original themes was a terrible idea. Despite… y’know, Marty literally saying that he did EXACTLY THE SAME THING with ODST and Reach, that h got rid of everything he’d done for the original three games to make something new. But, of course, what’s decided to be totally cool by Bungie’s standards is some weird kind of heresy when 343 does it.
Neil beautifully captured the essence of Halo 4′s atmosphere and themes, the Forerunner tracks especially sold this. The choirs for the Forerunner tracks spoke in the Composing A Universe documentary about how Neil would sit down with them and explain the actual lore behind what they were singing. Like with Revival’s chanting choir being the same singing from Chakas and Riser’s geas in Cryptum that originally opened the Didact’s Cryptum on Earth in the Forerunner Saga, and how that came to be integrated into the Didact’s main theme for the game. That was a work of absolute GENIUS.
Additionally, the main problem with Halo 4′s music was the fact that Tojima’s implementation of the music in the game was bloody poor. You could barely hear it since the sound effects were ramped all the way up, and some (like the latter half of Immaterial) were just not used, so some number of moments fell flat on their face when they should have been some of the most powerful and memorable of the entire franchise because of poor implementation.
Sorry (really not sorry), but today I feel nothing but complete and utter disdain towards those completely boring people who cant look at Halo as being more that just one thing - that which was laid down by Bungie for the purpose of future expansion and evolution. Regardless of how amazing Halo 5′s OST will be, the reasoning for this direction is a major step backwards, and it’s incredibly disappointing to hear about.