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CruelLEGACEY's Community Spotlight: Reactive Bias

Discussion in 'Halo General Discussions' started by Noles, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. Noles

    Noles Guest


    From CruelLEGACEY:

    Welcome to the Halo Waypoint Community Spotlight! The Halo community is, without a doubt, the most active, creative, and talented group of gamers in the world. This series will be covering some of the best and brightest our community has to offer: from forgers to machinima makers, podcasters, bloggers, artists, writers, and much more. Get to know some of your fellow Halo fans, and you just might grow to appreciate the games in a whole new way!

    Today we’ll be talking to a very talented up-and-comer in the Halo online community - DayandKnightly. A fantastic wordsmith with a love for the Halo fiction, DayandKnightly is the man behind Reactive Bias, a website and blog dedicated to his own personal exploration of the franchise.

    DayandKnightly’s articles cover everything from in-depth looks at the Halo novels to his ongoing “Modcast Bulletin” features. In addition to his recurring features, DayandKnightly will often post shorter entries of a slightly more personal nature, such as his thoughts on a piece of Halo news, or a recent experience in matchmaking. Every time I visit Reactive Bias, I am struck by the sense that I am peeking into someone’s personal Halo world. What makes DayandKnightly’s writing so special is the way he is able to translate his perspective in a manner that is both interesting and entertaining.

    I recently sat down with DayandKnightly to ask him some questions about his history with Halo and the story behind Reactive Bias.


    CruelLEGACEY: What was your first experience with Halo? Was it love at first sight, or did your fondness for the series grow over time?

    Day and Knightly: First experience with Halo would be multiplayer in Halo: Combat Evolved. Almost every Sunday night I would head over to a friend’s house and epic battles would ensue, including (but not limited to) CTF on Blood Gulch, rockets only on Derelict, and sniper/teleporter craziness on Boarding Action.

    I hadn’t had that much fun since my Goldeneye days – and the “fun” described here refers to large quantities of shouting/rising from the couch in triumph or defeat – so in that sense it was definitely love at first sight.

    That said, my fondness for the series has grown over time as well. While the gameplay drew me in, when I was able to play the campaign proper the fiction of the game is really what has kept me invested in the series through the years. There have been many great games since 2001, but it’s Halo’s story and universe that keeps me thinking about the game when I put the controller down – not many games can do that.

    CL: You’re an excellent writer. Do you have a love of writing in general, or is it something you’ve only explored with your website?

    DaK: Thank you! The site is my first attempt at writing on a regular basis, or at least write something that other people can see. I’ve kept journals and a blog before, but never something I encouraged others to look at.

    To have someone read and be able to react to what I write is new ground for me and it’s a little intimidating, but I’ve been thrilled and thankful at the response so far.

    It sounds weird to say (at least it does to me as I type it out), but I don’t really like to write, let alone love it. I do it because the end result is a collection of words that I’ve (hopefully) thought through and can be proud of.

    To turn the illustration around, writing for me is not about the journey but the destination.

    CL: You launched Reactive Bias in 2011. After so much time as a Halo fan, why did you decide to create your own site?

    DaK: Several things happened around the same time to push me over the edge from observer to contributor in the Halo Community:

    Breaking point – thinking about games (Halo in particular) as much as I did, I needed to take the next step. With a growing family and free time in short supply, I wanted my passion for Halo to be more than entertainment – I wanted it to be something that could not only improve my writing (goal: published author) but to serve as a highlight to the industry for future job opportunities (goal: work for developer, preferably 343 Industries).

    Reactive Bias does both of those things by giving me a creative outlet and a place to show what I can do to a potential future employer.

    An unnamed Halo fan on Age of Gratitude – I came across this post on ageofgratitude.com and was surprised at how normal it was to love Halo. I had bought into the talk of those around me that anything gaming is not only a waste of time, but actually makes time cry.

    His candor about how much he cared for the franchise showed me that my enjoyment of Halo was something to be celebrated, not something that needed to be justified. I don’t know what ever happened to that crazy kid, but I wish him well.

    One classy lady – I’ve come to rely on my wife’s reactions to ideas I have, and she’s become an expert at shooting down many of the stupid things I’ve wanted to do over the years. The idea for Reactive Bias was not shot down, and was in fact encouraged; without her support, I wouldn’t have moved forward.

    CL: Your website shows a strong focus on exploring the fiction of the Halo universe. Has your interest in the fiction always existed side-by-side with your interest in the games, or did one come before the other?

    DaK: I ended up answering this in the first question (gameplay then fiction), but I did want to mention again that without the fiction side of it, I wouldn’t have stayed with Halo as long as I have.

    Shooting fools with an over-powered weapon can be done in any number of games, but there’s only one place to shoot a Misriah Armory firearm as a genetically-enhanced solider on a vast artificial structure whose makers devolved humanity thousands of millennia ago … and that’s Halo.

    CL: Storytelling in the Halo games is a constant area of debate. Some argue that the games so far have not done enough to communicate the backstory to the player. Others argue that the backstory is better off being explored through novels and other media. What are your thoughts on this issue? Would you like to see more detailed exploration of the story in Halo 4, or would you rather keep the in-game story simple?

    DaK: I think the debate comes from the definition of the word “story” and what it means to different people in the community. For myself, Halo’s story encompasses the games, novels, terminals, etc. – all those things. I don’t need the game to be all of them because I accept that the story goes beyond the games.

    To me the question is not “should more of the back-story be in the game?” but rather “how important is it that every fan knows everything about the universe?” Halo works so well because it engages whatever level of detail you approach it at.

    Do you want to play a fun game with your friends? It does that. Do you want to know about the how the Prophet of Truth got to his position before the Arbiter runs him through near the end of Halo 3? It does that (see Contact Harvest). Whatever angle you’re looking at, Halo has you covered.

    I like this pattern of having varied levels of detail depending on interest, and it looks to continue with Halo 4. I’m referring to 343’s suggestions that if you want to know more about the story of the game, you should read The Forerunner Trilogy (Cryptum, Primordium and yet unnamed novel) and Glasslands. Already you can go deeper into the game if you want to, or you can wait until November 6th to see what happens to Chief only in the context of the game world.

    So for Halo 4, I want it to stay within the pattern established: a great story in-game with the rich backstory hinted at, and for those who read the other materials, a wealth of reward and detail for our extra investment.

    CL: Going forward, what are your plans for Reactive Bias? Do you have any specific goals, or areas you would like to expand in to?

    DaK: I’m currently going through all the novels chronologically and typing up my thoughts on them. Contact Harvest is done, and I’m working on The Fall of Reach now, so in the immediate future I’m hoping to cover them all before Halo 4 comes out.

    Beyond that, I’m working on some of my playthroughs of the different games, things that have stuck out to me from the strategy guides (a great way to go back over the games), possibly interviewing some members of the community, and I’ve even tossed around the idea of doing a – gasp! – Reactive Bias podcast.

    That last one is the most unlikely to happen as it requires the most of what I have least of: time. However, I’m assuming when I publish that book and have a job at 343, I’ll have more time to consider it.

    CL: Let’s say you could travel back in time and visit yourself before you started Reactive Bias. What advice would you give to your past self?

    DaK: First, I would have told myself to stop freaking out. I’m from the future, and it’s cool.

    Second, I would have told myself that this is what I love to do – that supporting the Halo Community and being a part of it has brought together all the things I enjoy (reading, writing, great story, fantastic people, etc.) and balled it up into the spherical shape of awesome. I would tell my past self to get on the ball and work on making it a career sooner!

    Third, I would have told myself that my gamertag would be “DayandKnightly” and the site would be called “Reactive Bias.” It’s truly pathetic how long I tried to come up with names I was happy with.

    CL: It’s November 6th 2012. You’ve just put your new copy of Halo 4 into the disc tray and picked up your controller. What’s the very first thing you do: Campaign? Multiplayer? Spartan Ops?

    DaK: I would have said Campaign, but when I told my wife that, she called me out and she’s right. The very first thing I will do it gaze in awe at the menu for probably about five minutes, to make sure that there isn’t a screensaver video that plays when you go idle on the menu screen. If there is a video, I will watch it to get pumped even further as it will most likely be an epic score accompanied by frantic gameplay. I will then get goosebumps.

    After that, it’s back to the menu for one last breath before the plunge … just a moment to take it all in. Good times really do go by quickly; I’d like to take a moment and savor it.

    Then, it’s onto Campaign to see what’s going on down there on Requiem …

    CL: Anything else you’d like to mention or share with the community?

    DaK: That I’m grateful to the community of people (yourself, GrimBrother One, Louis Wu, Tom and The Woaf of Dust and Echoes, and everyone who’s been to the blog to name a few) who have loaded their respective DMRs with ammo labeled “encouragement” and shot me square in the face with it. I would have given up if it wasn’t for those headshots – thank you!

    And that wraps up the interview. I would like to thank DayandKnightly for taking the time to talk with us. If you’re interested in taking a closer look at his work, visit www.reactivebias.wordpress.com. I would also like to thank all of you for reading!

    Discuss Reactive Bias here!

    Nominate someone for a Community Spotlight Feature here!

    Stay tuned for more Community Spotlight features coming soon!

    - CruelLEGACEY

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