Halo: Combat Evolved is ten years old. To celebrate the anniversary, Titan Books has released the very solid companion book The Great Journey – Halo: The Art of Building Worlds, chronicling the years players have spent with the UNSC.
When I was young man known as Master Charles Francis Moran VI, there was a book at our house called National Geographic Picture Atlas of Our Universe. Growing up, I really liked the book – it had just enough detail to make it interesting for adults and the correct amount of pictures to keep my young mind interested. The book was full of facts and theories about planets and the solar system. There was also a large amount of awesome concept art showing other planets and how animals might live on them. With an incredible John Berkey cover, Our Universe is nothing if not iconic, symbolizing a time when kids were really interested in outer space.
Young Chuck used to take art lessons in Emerson, New Jersey. The only things young Chuck wanted to draw or paint were spaceships. There was nothing more important to him than spaceships and robots.
Young Chuck used to go to Food Town with his grandmother. At the end of the checkout lines there were always racks of books on spinning wire displays. All of the books were paperbacks and, besides the romance books, there were always books by Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard. These paperbacks all had fantastic art and imagery on the covers. I was much too young to consider asking my grandmother to buy these books for me, but I would get inspired by what I saw and I would then go home and play with Star Wars figures.
This was also the time before a VHS player was in the house, and I would ask my father to recount stories of movies he had seen like 2001 and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It was a simple time for young Chuck. Back then, he liked to look at pictures of cool stuff and, not surprisingly, he still does. Somehow, a stand-alone image shows a truer idea of what a landscape, or a character, could be – Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie is proof of that.
Incredibly, it has been ten years since we first saw Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 on the deck of the Pillar of Autumn.
Ten years of Halo have created quite a sizable universe. Everything from the giant Halcyon-class cruisers that orbit the sky to the Highlands Spadehorns that peacefully graze on the plains – all of these things had to be created. Halo: The Art of Building Worlds shows all of the beauty in the details. In the way an architect will build a model, these images are truly the blueprints for what the Halo universe is. This book has hundreds of images, whether you are looking for the mechanical and cold feel of the Spartan soldier armor or the more organic in design Covenant and Flood. The Art of Building Worlds touches on all aspects of the Halo franchise including Halo Wars and the Halo Legends collection of short films.
If you are one of those people that has not traded in any of your Halo games, or if you have ever bought a special collectible version of the game, you owe it to yourself to get this book and put in on the shelf right alongside your Mega Blox diorama. Also, it makes a great gift for those that might subscribe to the Spartan push-up regimen.