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Who Inspired Halo?

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Halo is a multi-billion dollar science fiction video game franchise created by Bungie and now managed by 343 Industries and owned by Microsoft Studios. The series centers on an interstellar war between humanity and a theocratic alliance of aliens known as the Covenant.
Creator(s): Bungie, Ensemble Studios, 343 Industries
Type: Games
Genre(s): First-person shooter
Year Released: 2001

Bungie's developers noted that the "ring-shaped megastructures" used in Halo definitely referenced concepts from Larry Niven's Ringworld series.[1][2] Bungie's Jaime Griesemer said that Ringworld's design wasn't what influenced Halo. Niven created a world that felt like "being somewhere else," a world that operated on a large scale. This greatly influenced the team.

Iain M. Banks series of books influenced Halo, particularly Consider Phlebas and Excession, which described interactions with an alien artifact.[3] Bungie referenced Banks' use of ring-shaped, artificial worlds. They said they used a ring-structure "because they are cool," and since the concept was cool, it was "therefore the type of thing a Forerunner civilization would build."[4]

In John Steakley's book Armor, soldiers are protected by nuclear-powered exoskeleton armor, fighting against giant creatures. Jamie Griesemer from Bungie said Armor inspired Halo, because Armor looks at the emotional hopelessness that arises from never-ending battle.[5][6].

Christopher Rowley's book Starhammer and its sequels influenced Jason Jones, a computer programmer at Bungie. He cited Rowley's trilogy as a major influence.[7] In Rowley's trilogy, parasitic creatures looked for human hosts and were nearly impossible to destroy - much like the Flood.[8] Jones called it 'one of the best bits of space opera of all time' and some speculate that Master Chief's name is a reference to Jon 6725416, a character from Starhammer.

Bungie's team claimed that Alien and its sequels inspired Halo.[9][10] Gearbox' Randy Pitchford said "think about the dropships, the marines, the sergeant...I know I'm not the only one seeing this...because Aliens has inspired a generation."[11]

Halo is a first-person shooter, but the developers wanted a deeper, text-driven backstory. Cortana's log books provide this background, and were influenced by Marathon.[12] Developed by Bungie in the 90s and considered Halo's "spiritual predecessor," Marathon was a first-person shooter with a text-heavy narrative. For background, the player interacted with consoles during the game.[13]