If there was one way to both market your upcoming video game and build on the Universe at the same time, 343i and Microsoft have nailed it with the weekly episodic digital log called HUNT The TRUTH. For those who don’t know, HUNT The TRUTH is an investigation into the origins of modern-day superhero Master Chief, this digital log serves as part docu-diary, part audio archive. We joined Ben each week for a new episode as we question everything and assume nothing. This is an exploration from the perspective of journalist and war photographer Benjamin Giraud.
It can’t be stressed enough that Master Chief is not the center of the Universe. He is what anchors the Universe that is Halo, but it is characters like Benjamin Giraud who help it flourish. To go those places that a solider cannot. In this case Benjamin is doing his part in questioning everything about the Spartan Program and what ONI doesn’t want you to know. As Halsey has stated in the books recently, everything she did was with a wink or sign of a paper from someone in authority. They all knew what was happening to those kids, they surely had no problem with the ethics of the process. But in the end, after the dust settles and the war is won? It is ONI who stands with their hands raised as they twist history in their favor instead of those who the credit truly belongs to. Disappointing, yet that is how this world works and uncovering this plot is what HUNT The TRUTH grew into when “What began as a high-profile hero story quickly turns into a full-blown investigation. Sources claim they know the “real Master Chief”: The boy, the soldier, the hero…the traitor? But who’s telling the truth?”. That is the end game for these audio logs and not once are we derailed from that hunt.
Benjamin Giraud was voiced by Keegan-Michael Key. And this man was meant for that role, you couldn’t even tell that was him unless someone told you. That is how deep he got into the character that is Benjamin Giraud. You felt his fears when he was digging too far, you felt his frustration when he wasn’t getting the answers he wanted or getting pushed back by ONI, and you experienced the passion he shows towards something he has dedicated his life towards, and to a Spartan he sees as nothing less than a hero. All these emotions Key put into voicing Benjamin and breathes life into him that almost makes you wish you could put a face to what you hear. This goes for the rest of the cast as well. All distinct people and voices that offer a new layer of understanding of the plot. The others as well should be acknowledged with Kumail Nanjiani as Mshak Moradi, Cobie Smulders as Petra Janeceki, Jerry Trainor as Michael Sullivan, Troy Baker as Anthony Petrosky, and so on because their interactions with Benjamin were real. You cared for their involvement in this conspiracy. You cared for their well-being, how far they’d be willing to go to help him, and their individual perspectives on the situation. In fact if there were not a set end for HUNT The TRUTH you would have been rooting for Petra to take over by the end of the last episode.
HUNT The TRUTH pretty much nailed what they set out to accomplish. Sure it was leading to the E3 reveal that week, but it prepares you for what you have to face when Halo 5 released. People should appreciate when someone will go out of their way to hold your excitement. That is business and marketing. If they just gave you the synopsis for Halo 5 and a trailer, what fun would that be? Even then you listen to HUNT The TRUTH and a synopsis would not do that kind of explanation justice. It could not give you the same understanding of these characters, the structure of the colonies, or the struggles these everyday people have faced up to this point. Not to mention it would not hit you weekly with all these promotional pictures and works of art that tell their own story. Storytelling has evolved to the point where it takes more than one form of media to get the full experience.
Overall, the production value for HUNT The TRUTH was impressive. They got the right voice-actors and the mix of ambient sounds bring about an atmosphere that holds you tight to each twist and turn of the investigation. The voice-actors are who engage you, but it is the sounds and music that pull you into it. When that tone goes dark and suspenseful, your heart surely will be pounding too wondering what will come next. Someone who cares about Halo and its lore will not see this as a gimmick, they will not simply wait for the game to “tell them everything”(because it won’t), and they will always look past the games to get the full picture. HUNT The TRUTH is another piece of the puzzle to a Universe that continues to expand because it is a Universe. There is no “It should have ended here” when there’s so much you don’t know that you should want to know besides shooting Covies or Prometheans in the face.
The only place they dropped the ball again would be that they could have still kept this going. There may be some high profile actors and actresses voicing these characters with stuff to do probably more important, though where we left off begs for more. And listeners surely will want more because there was something worth investing in HUNT The TRUTH.
Highly recommended giving this a shot.
Watch the episodes HERE