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Making Halo 4: A Hero Awakens

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Halo 4: A Hero Awakens is a video documentary by 343 Industries, about the development of Halo 4's storyline and character performances. It was released on YouTube on 1st September, 2012.[1]


  • Armando Troisi: "I'm giving you the tools, right? I'm giving you the sandbox — I'm setting the table for you. But it's up to you to decide what you want to eat."
  • Steve Downes: "You know, I was so looking forward to this moment because for Master Chief, you know, the stoic soldier, the man of few words - all that. But there was this progression in terms of his emotional side, even through the first three game. But this was going to be the great leap."
  • Armando Troisi: "What happens when that soldier starts to discover his humanity?"
  • Christopher Schlerf: "We had to create a situation that was gonna knock him out of his comfort zone; the Master Chief has settled into this comfort zone of being 'the hero'. It's interesting early on how we discussed about the heroes' journey. How do you have a hero's journey when he's already a hero?"
  • Kiki Wolfkill: "What are the sacrifices that you have to make in order to preserve something as precious as humanity?"
  • Christopher Schlerf: "The journey is the important part, the growth is the important part, and so really where does he still need to go as a human? That became the key not just the story of Halo 4 but the entire trilogy.
  • Lindsay Lockhart: "We're really examining what sorts of burdens a guardian carries."
  • Josh Holmes: "In a lot of ways, the story that we're telling in Halo 4 is about putting Chief in circumstances where he's forced to change, he's forced to take stock of himself."
  • Lindsay Lockhart: "In a way, Chief is a guardian, Cortana is Chief's guardian, the Forerunners were the guardians of their own universe. And they might have to make a decision not everyone is going to agree with, and that some people might condemn."
  • Bruce Thomas: It's almost like you're a little kid, and you're just playing make-belief again - so you imagine everything. The table's here. The plinth for Cortana is here. There's a window here. Ready? Go."


  • Kiki Wolfkill: "How can we immerse the player even more into this world we've built around them?"
  • Josh Holmes: "How can we have Chief have to deal with his own humanity?"
  • Christopher Schlerf: "Everything had to be predicated by what the character's needs were, what direction the characters needed to go in."
  • Kenneth Scott: "The art direction, specifically for Halo 4, isn't about creating an emotional tone for Halo 4. It's about creating an emotional tone for every single moment and experience the player needs to understand."
  • Brien Goodrich: "Similar to creating a movie set, we build what we need to see. We can't look too far this way, or else it begins to fall apart. But back in here... things are looking good."
  • Armando Troisi: "Film, it's like - I'm going to create something, and it's going to be awesome, and I'm going to polish it, and I'm going to own it, but I'm going to share it with you. Which is very different from game storytelling, which is - I'm going give you all of the tools, I'm going to give you all of the possibilities, and it's up to you to discover it."
  • Frank O'Connor: Answering questions and answering directions that the narrative had already taken to find the path forward for us as we started to tell the story."
  • Brian Reed: "We're always telling these huge big stories. We've got Infinity, it's the biggest that's ever been launched; we've got Requiem, which is like the biggest Forerunner artifact we've ever found; but in the middle of all of that we've got this very small personal story between Master Chief and Cortana."
  • Lindsay Lockhart: "You tell a story with every detail that you put into the game. Immersion is what really allows people to believe your universe, and also become emotionally caught up in your universe."
  • Cortana: "I thought you'd never ask."
  • Kiki Wolfkill: "How do we make sure the sights, and the sounds, and the things that we're feeling as a player inhabiting that suit really come through more clearly. You know, technology has really allowed us to do that with much higher fidelity than back in the CE days."
  • Armando Troisi: "As we design these things, we put together the best plan, and until it actually touches an actor, it lacks humanity."
  • Bryce Cochrane: "Having the ability to work with the actors on stage, capturing their face, body, and voice at the same time, really gives us the opportunity to create an immersive experience for the actors."
  • Brien Goodrich: "Working at Giant, we could have at least eight actors at the same time."
  • Frank O'Connor: "And so the objects they are acting around, and the people they are acting with, against, through, and toward are there in the scene with them. And it makes a huge difference."
  • Clive Burdon: "We sent out a break down for characters and how we wanted them to feel, we end up getting eight or ninety submissions back."
  • Josh Holmes: "Casting for the Master Chief is tough. You need a performer that has a really raw physicality to him, and yet he has to, within confinement in his suit, be able to relate and relay emotion."
  • Bruce Thomas: "I like to express myself. I freely do it. I whol ly do it. I enjoy it. And so, pulling back on all of those instincts is what required to play him."
  • Kiki Wolfkill: "Imagine that translating to a 3D model with huge armor, and making sure that personality of Chief's movement come through that armor, which is really critical. And that really came down to Bruce's acting, his physical stature, and really his physicality as he went though all the performance."
  • Josh Holmes: "You will never see his face, or hear his voice, but all of the other actors that are playing off of him have received so much from him in their performances, and I think they'd all agree with that."
  • Matt Aldrige: "This is the low-res axis of Chief, we afforded a little bit more budget since he's our hero."
  • Kenneth Scott: "From the art process, storytelling is just about engaging the player. You don't have to answer any question, you don't have to take them through a lot of looks and feelings. If the player's engaged, I think you've got the start."
  • Matthew Aldrige: "So Master Chief is a difficult one, because he's a dude in a helmet."
  • Kenneth Scott: "It's such peculiar in science-fiction, such a fantastic history about people completely realized as people, without having their face as a tool."
  • Matt Aldrige: "For us, it's making him feel like a real person. We have a new male sculpt, and then from there we sculpt it, on physically attach suit."
  • Gabriel Garza: "And on top of this guy is when we spend time just doing all the details, and trying add some of that functionality. Giving him little bits here and there, like, Braille, this just reads '117'."
  • Nicolas Bouvier: "I think it's connected to having more visual flow, when it comes to design, the way you follow the outline of Master Chief."
  • Matt Aldrige: "Trying to put it into an area where it feels realistic, feels kind of tank-ish."
  • Nicolas Bouvier: "What do you think when of a tank? You think square, you think metal. There's some like wear-and-tear on the edges. So those things we want to grab, put them on the Chief, so it communicates that."
  • Matthew Aldrige: "The fingers are missing here on these, they have armor caps that come on. They don't have armor caps on his trigger finger or thumb fingers, so that he could have more tactile sense when he's shooting and loading his weaponry. Last thing we just changed was his visor. The visor picks up elements based on the room that he's in."
  • Gabriel Garza: "We want to take every inch of the character to tell a story as much as we can."
  • Kenneth Scott: "Above all, he still needs to connect to the player, we still need to understand him as being that character — somebody who's been very loved for the last ten years."
  • Brien Goodrich: "The irony here, right, is that we have a character who is not human at all and Cortana."
  • Cortana: "I was put into service eight years ago."'
  • Brien Goodrich: "She's the most human character that we have in the story. She's struggling with her own mortality."
  • Cortana: "AIs deteriorate after seven, Chief."
  • Brien Goodrich: "That's something everybody struggles with. That's the most, y'know, human it gets."
  • John-117: "If we could just get back to Earth and find Halsey, she could fix this."
  • Brien Goodrich: "Everyone has to figure out what it means to die."
  • Kiki Wolfkill: "She's strong, she's convicted. She herself is going through a really difficult time in understanding the things that are happening to her."
  • Brien Goodrich: "We were looking for somebody who really could bring just fire and stuff that is required for some of those sequences."
  • Bryce Cochrane: "We need to make sure we found someone that has some innocence to her but also could be very strong at the same time."
  • MacKenzie Mason: "If you imagine you could have twenty emotions at one time, she has that."
  • Cortana: "I will not allow you to… leave! This! Planet!"
  • Bryce Cochrane: "She's really the heart of the game and the heart of Master Chief. And explains what's going on and why it's a problem."
  • Cortana: "I didn't mean to… I didn't mean to do that…"
  • Kenneth Scott: "Cortana is certainly our biggest human connection, I think, with the story.
  • Cortana: "That's the kicker. It's the Forerunner symbol for Reclaimer."
  • Matthew Aldrige: "How could we see these subtle details on her facial structure. So this is the baseline we started from for Cortana, and then we go through and tweak and modify. Having all these different elements moving throughout her makes her feel alive constantly. We wanted to make it to where you could have code flow lines starting from every digit from her toes to her hands, and then be able to flow all the way up into her head."
  • John-117: "Wake me. When you need me."
  • Kiki Wolfkill: "What you experience is her taking care of you as the player from the gameplay perspective, but I think you also get a sense of how she takes care of the human side of Chief."
  • John-117: "How much firepower would you need?"
  • Josh Holmes: "Bringing Jen and Steve in and having them layer their voices over the character performances in the cinematics, that just brought the whole experience together."
  • Brien Goodrich: "You look at just the number of lines that the Chief has had over the course of the franchise, there's not a lot. And yet people will immediately call you out on the Master Chief's voice being something very distinctive and important to them."
  • Frank O'Connor: "The funny thing is that they had this off-screen chemistry because they did not actually meet until last year. So seeing them meet and seeing them have that chemistry in real life, and seeing how they acted together in scenes, it's just felt like we missed all these opportunity for all these years to actually get them together and get something even more memorable and more exciting out of them."
  • Kiki Wolfkill: "From the beginning there were great choices for those characters. Y'know, Steve has this very stoic personality that comes through and his few words. In the same way, Jen's voice is confident, and it's strong, but it could also be playful."
  • Christopher Scherlf: "In many ways, Halo 4 is the first act."
  • Kiki Wolfkill: "We want the player to be able to ask themselves what it is to be a hero. Is the sacrifice worth it."
  • Armando Troisi: "I often think of them as atlas; y'know he's got that weight of the world on his shoulders the whole time."
  • Kenneth Scott: "Chief and Cortana aren't the same person, but she's always been the reflection of his humanity."
  • Josh Holmes: "People don't play Halo to watch a soap opera, and yet they don't want it to be kind of a… pulp."
  • Steve Downes: "To me, it's an natural progression of this story, and it takes this relationship to the place it should go to."
  • Cortana: "Don't make a girl a promise you can't keep."



Approximately 3:55 to the video, as the motion capture technology used in the Halo 4 cinematics is being discussed, a page of the game's script is briefly shown. This page describes the final confrontation between the Didact and the Master Chief and Cortana; the description of the scene is clearly visible, as well as some of the lines, including the Didact's "[Your] compassion for mankind is misplaced" and Cortana's reply "I'm not doing this for mankind."