The Art of Halo: Creating a Virtual World
From Halopedia, the Halo wiki
The Art of Halo: Creating a Virtual World is a collection of concept art used during the production of Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, with commentary by Eric S. Trautmann. The book includes a foreword by Jason Jones and a preface by Marcus R. Lehto.
A successor to The Art of Halo, titled Halo: The Great Journey: The Art of Building Worlds, was released on October 18, 2011.
The Art of Halo begins with a foreword by Jason Jones and preface by Marcus Lehto. It then introduces "Halo's architects" (Bungie Studios), before chapters on character design, environments, weapons and gear and vehicles. The final chapter, "The Art of Game Design", is a selection of promotional artwork and posters, game engine screenshots, multiplayer map sketches, cinematic storyboards, musical scores, animations and dialogue scripts from Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2.
The majority of the book focuses on the development of the major aspects of Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, from the Weapons, the games environments and the Character designs. There are many early sketches and concept art for these things, much of it by Shi Kai Wang and the Bungie art team. Certain sections show the influence of earlier Bungie games on Halo's design. One section shows a timeline of Bungie's history. The ideas are shown as they evolved, from a series of sketches to storyboards and their amazing animation. Finally, some screen shots are included to show how the ideas were eventually incorporated into the Halo games.
There are also many explanations for the processes and the development. For example, the role of Grunt Ultras. They also explain what the intentions were for many of the ideas and how they changed over time.