Halo Concept Artist Releases Nifty Halo 3 Concept Art

Halo Concept Artist Releases Nifty Halo 3 Concept Art

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Before there was Halo 3, there was the Halo 3 concept art.

I've made no secret of the fact that I'm a huge sucker for concept art as a general rule of thumb. I love seeing how the cool worlds of gaming and the characters that inhabit them came into being. I also have made no secret of the fact that I'm a pretty big fan of Bungie's Halo franchise. So I think it's completely understandable that I find the Halo 3 pieces being posted on the blog of artist Isaac Hannaford pretty darn sweet.

Now, many of these pieces aren't "concept art" as we think of it: By the time Halo 3 rolled around, everybody already knew what the Master Chief, Cortana and the Covenant looked like. There is some exploratory concept work regarding the game's environments (and now I'm having flashbacks to "Cortana," a strong contender for the worst level in the entire Halo series), but for the most part it's just cool sketches and action shots of the game's cast. Some of them were intended for use on the game's manual or tie-in novels and comic books, but for some reason or another never made the cut.

I'm a pretty big fan of the picture you see here to the right, which was one of the early concepts for the Halo 3 manual cover, says Hannaford. As he says, the sketch does an excellent job at putting the Master Chief's superhuman size into context - just look at how he's towering over all of those regular UNSC marines. That's what happens when you stick a seven-foot super soldier into power armor, I guess.

If you're a fan of the Halo series, like videogame concept art, or just enjoy looking at pretty pictures, you can check out all of Isaac Hannaford's Halo 3 concept art via the "Halo 3" tag on his blog. It's some seriously cool stuff.

Even if "Cortana" was a horrible level. Sorry, I'm still not over it yet.

(Isaac Hannaford)

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Pretty nifty indeed, but I still pine for a different kind of concept art...

John Funk:

Even if "Cortana" was a horrible level. Sorry, I'm still not over it yet.

Is there some club I can join to express my deep dislike of that level? In my opinion it was the worst Halo mission ever for me. It came out of nowhere, was a dramatic shift in terms of gameplay and felt either poorly excuted or it was just filler to pad out the story. Dammned hard as well, but not as bad as the library I guess.

OT: I love Halo concept art. It really is some of the best. I really like the character designs mostly, but the backgrounds are great.

thiosk:
Pretty nifty indeed, but I still pine for a different kind of concept art...

That is some epic artwork right there.

OT: I love that picture too, and I think it's a shame it didn't get featured.
It gives me the feelings Halo often goes for cool over anything else, which is a shame, because it could actually be a really dramatic series. Well, not a shame, it's still awesome, I'm just saying. It could be portrayed another way to great effect.

Also, I loved Cortana. I did it with four skulls on in Legendary, solo, for absolutely no reason. Just felt like it. Took me two hours straight. Some challenging shit.

There's a difference between a level being horrible, and a level being difficult.

John Funk:
Even if "Cortana" was a horrible level. Sorry, I'm still not over it yet.

I...I still don't know how I got through that level... *shivers*

OT: Me <3 halo and this is great as there are some things I haven't seen yet :D


Although the one in the article with the sence of scale is pretty damn good.

I like Cortana, the level. I didn't at first, but now I do.

This is mostly because of the aesthetic, as well as the atmosphere this goes some way to generating. High Charity, the crown jewel of the Covenant, has been corrupted by the Flood, and it's completely changed the looks... but it achieves a sort of accidental beauty. There's this one section near the beginning of the level, with a ledge overlooking a lake of some fluid (the ledge with the pelican on it that you eventually escape in). There's an old, colossal power generator tilting from it, and it periodically flashes with electricity - which of course conducts all across the lake, meaning pretty much the entire lower portion of the skybox flashes blue like a malfunctioning light. It's ethereal and quite mesmerising to watch - but you can't focus on it for too long, because you have to be alert. Behind you, the Flood could be readying themselves for another assault, so keep your flamethrower handy.

It's quite interesting, really. Beauty born of death. I do wonder whether this was intentional on Bungie's part.

"Master Chief. Stands above all"

This is the kind of poster you see and just know he can't die.

At first I hated the "Cortana" level. Then I got ahold of the flamethrower, and as I incinerated my way through the "bowels" of the Flood Hive I joked about being the partly-chewed jalapeno of their cosmic banquet. Took a lot of the anxiety out of that level, even if it remained navigationally confusing. (Flood "infection forms" also pop nicely in fire, just like the popcorn some folks nicknamed 'em.)

I've always loved Hannaford's work. Him and Craig Mullins are living gods of the airbrush tool.

-- Steve

Whoa, I just noticed this:

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Being a massive Forerunner fan I'm disappointed this didn't appear somewhere on the Ark. It looks very cool.

OhJohnNo:
Being a massive Forerunner fan I'm disappointed this didn't appear somewhere on the Ark. It looks very cool.

I wonder if that was the concept art for the "Forerunner Tank" mentioned by Jason Jones (Bungie god co-founder) in the commentary track of Halo 3's bonus disc. (The one with the cinematics of Halo 2, talking about stuff that got cut, IIRC.)

-- Steve

Anton P. Nym:

OhJohnNo:
Being a massive Forerunner fan I'm disappointed this didn't appear somewhere on the Ark. It looks very cool.

I wonder if that was the concept art for the "Forerunner Tank" mentioned by Jason Jones (Bungie god co-founder) in the commentary track of Halo 3's bonus disc. (The one with the cinematics of Halo 2, talking about stuff that got cut, IIRC.)

-- Steve

See, if I had one major problem with Halo 3, it was that the Sentinels were somewhat snubbed. The forerunner sections in Halo 2 were the best bits - and on playing it (which was after I played Halo 3) I looked back on Halo 3 and wondered if they hadn't missed an opportunity to expand the forerunners further. The Ark was great, but it would have added to its character to see Forerunner constructs milling about in the skybox or something, or even to encounter them in the level (beyond the one brief, easily-missed encounter with Constructors on the actual "The Ark" level).

The Forerunner-themed multiplayer maps often did this, with Sentinels and Constructors flying about against the (beautiful) backdrop. I find it odd that Bungie employed their atmosphere-building/passive storytelling skills way more in the multiplayer maps than they did in the singleplayer, where people are more likely to notice them.

Oh God, as a kid I was always looking for a Halo art blog, especially of the stuff Issak done and now you finally posted one up.

I thamk you for this, but it's time for me to go back to licking the screen.

John Funk:

Even if "Cortana" was a horrible level. Sorry, I'm still not over it yet.

No, no, I understand. Soloing the campaign on heroic on an SDTV was tough going, but Cortana was the first instance of a game causing me to involuntarily scream profanities. Fantastic artwork, I wish Voi had managed to capture the exact atmosphere of the concept art.

Those are some amazing sketches, and I found a new wallpaper...

thiosk:
Pretty nifty indeed, but I still pine for a different kind of concept art...

Oh, I'm pretty sure we'll get concept art of this variety with the inevitable Collector's Edition of Space Marine, once it hits shelves sometime this year.
Give us a damn release date already, THQ!!!

OT: Ah, the Cortana level. When a friend of mine came around the house while I was attempting to beat that monstrosity, he thought I'd developed Tourette's.

Mmmmm, concept art... sexy. I love me some concept art, and say what you will about the Halo series, I think the designs are utterly fantastic. I especially love the differences between Forerunner, Covenant and Human technology, it's a lot more visible here.

Sonicron:

Oh, I'm pretty sure we'll get concept art of this variety with the inevitable Collector's Edition of Space Marine, once it hits shelves sometime this year.
Give us a damn release date already, THQ!!!

I can't shake the unnerving feeling that firing a bolter is going to feel like spraying an tinny little SMG. Or closer to the topic, a needler.

And I don't like that feeling.

Great stuff, beautiful even. Only complaint, not enough to do with the Elites and the Arbiter.
You humans are all racist!!

Okay but seriously, this stuff is beautiful and amazing looking. True, the level itself was a mess but clearly the artistic design behind 'Cortana' was quite well fueled.

thiosk:

Sonicron:

Oh, I'm pretty sure we'll get concept art of this variety with the inevitable Collector's Edition of Space Marine, once it hits shelves sometime this year.
Give us a damn release date already, THQ!!!

I can't shake the unnerving feeling that firing a bolter is going to feel like spraying an tinny little SMG. Or closer to the topic, a needler.

And I don't like that feeling.

We'll see. And even if it is, I'm willing to forgive that if the chainsword is up to par.

Vrex360:
You humans are all racist!!

We are :P

OT:Beautifull work,and being an ODST fan,im kind of happy to see some of the original design for them.Although,for a couple of them,im kind of glade they didnt go with them.

 

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