We here at Halo Fanon pride ourselves on our devotion to the official storyline, or "canon" of the Halo universe. All of the articles on this site must remain up to the standard set by canon; that is, they must fit in with officially-released media in a way that does not contradict or conflict with the previously-established universe. However, many users are confused as to what is considered actual canon, and what is considered embellishments on that storyline: what rules and events they must follow and what rules and events they can bend. That brings us to the existence of this page. It is here to clarify all of the questions and confusions you may have had about our site's policy and to help you better interact with the veteran users who already understand what is going on. While this was written predominantly for newcomers, it is also intended to be a resource for veterans who are unsure of a particular item's canonical status and wish to get clarification on the matter. With that being said, we hope that this will aid you in your quest to write newer and more creative fan fiction that fits in well with the scope of the Haloverse. Happy editing!
So, with Bungie's departure from the Halo franchise and the series's transfer into the hands of Microsoft-run 343 Industries, there has been quite a bit of concern with regards to what materials should be classified as "real" canon and what should be classified as "false" canon. Unfortunately for all of those users wishing to disregard Legends and its series of markedly-different companions, all items released by Bungie and 343 are canon, and should be regarded as such. However, there are a few finer points that need better definition. Foremost among these are the precedence of one canon source above the other-- is Legends on the same level as Halo: Combat Evolved?, etc.-- and this is what this section is devoted to. Below is the policy that Bungie outlined here.
In short, Joseph Staten said that "Everything that Bungie has ever approved is canonical. But even then, certain things trump others. In order of canonical influence: The games rank first, published materials (books, comics, soundtrack liner notes etc.) rank second, marketing and PR materials third," and that "the more recent items trump the older ones. So, for example, if some aspect of Halo 3's fiction contradicted Halo 2's, Halo 3's would be the gold standard." With this in mind, and the fact that 343 Industries material is sometimes contradicts or is ignored by the canon of the Bungie-created games, the administration created this hierarchy:
Graphic novel and other media
Those are the fundamentals of the universe. But what are these tiers of canon? What does the Administration mean by Bungie-canon, Microsoft-canon and Fanon-canon?
- Bungie-canon (Tier One)
- Bungie-canon is essentially canon that is created directly by Bungie, through products they developed throughout their 10-year contract. This only includes the Halo Trilogy (Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2 and Halo 3), Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach, and the Halo Graphic Novel. Although Bungie is no longer involved in the development of the Halo franchise, they retained a unique right known as "creator's rights" to the franchise which allows them to be the most credible party in detailing the Halo Universe. It is simply because they created the Halo Universe earned them the Tier One position in the canon hierarchy. This unique right allows them to be the superior source of canon for the entire 10 years of being in contract with Microsoft. This does not include products released by Bungie after September 14, 2010. This right only holds them being credible from 2001 to 2010.
- Microsoft-canon (Tier Two)
- Microsoft-canon, otherwise known as 343i-canon, is the continuity/expanded project of the Halo Universe. 343i, approved by Microsoft, would be the primary source under Microsoft-canon and anything released by them will be considered as official canon. Anything created by Microsoft and its affiliates would have been considered as being approved automatically by Bungie, thus making them canon. Under Microsoft-canon, it would have a secondary canon hierarchy; the games would be superior, followed by the novels, other literatures, the marketing campaigns and other promotional items... in that exact order. Because Halo is essentially a game franchise, game titles would be the superior source of canon in each category.
- Fanon-canon (Tier Three)
- Fanon-canon is simply fixed errors made in official canon by members of the Halo Fanons. Fanon-canon is a very messy source of canon; it is not official and it changes as the Halo Universe expands and nothing is ever fixed. This form of canon some times ignore the hierarchy of canon, simply to fix the errors made in the Halo Universe. However, one should always be reminded that fanon-canon is no way of being fully superior over all other forms of official canon and that anything under fanon-canon can change at any time. For example, the Falcon is actually a tilt-rotor vehicle and not a helicopter. Despite this, canon still designates it as the UH-144. Fanon-canon would correct this to UV-144. If you don't fully understand the concept of fanon-canon, ignore it and simply focus on official canon.
- A few issues to be addressed:
- The novels, from Halo: The Fall of Reach to The Forerunner Saga, is a Microsoft project and not a Bungie project, thus putting them under Microsoft-canon. While Microsoft develops the novels using their assets, Bungie was only there to supervise and give suggestions to make the novels more appealing/true to the Halo Universe. In other words, Bungie was not directly involved in the writing of the novels; they only gave suggestions to improve the content. It should noted that Halo Wars, despite having some content improvement suggestions from Bungie, is entirely 343i/Microsoft, thus making it part of Microsoft-canon. For more information about issues that need to be addressed, see Amendments to Canon Policy.
- Halo Graphic Novel is the only exception to Microsoft-canon, simply because the graphic novel was created directly by Bungie with support from Marvel.
The two top tiers of canon must be followed and adhered to more strictly, with less of a chance to bend the rules, while the lower two can be used to expand your universe or be more open to bending. "But what is this bending, you're talking about?" you may ask, and "how do I apply this hierarchy to my fanon?" Don't you worry, dear user. We are here to answer your questions.
- Just remember these guidelines:
- New canon overrides old canon but not always. ― If the new canon is unreasonably implausible, the old canon would retain its position as a better material. For example, the attack ranges of weapons presented by the Halo Encyclopedia follows the gameplay elements from the Halo games. Therefore, the older canon remains superior. In the Encyclopedia, it is said that the MA5B had a massive inaccuracy problem, but as we all know, that is simply a part of gameplay equalization. The novels have proved that the MA5-series assault rifles are very effective and had decent accuracy.
- Ambiguity is common in the Halo Universe and is categorized as "loopholes". ― This means that unless definite canon is given, this loophole can be exploited. Such an instance is the tinkering with number of surviving SPARTAN-IIs, a number which has not been expressly stated by Bungie. A great example of an article that exploits a loophole is SPARTAN-091, an article written by one of the Administration in which the SPARTAN is officially (and falsely) listed as Killed in Action by the Office of Naval Intelligence so that he is not present at the fall of Reach.
- Bungie products are of higher canon than all other products. ― Any retroactive continuity introduced by Bungie will immediately take into effect. Such an instance is the first sighting of the Sangheili, which was originally said to be in 2552 (Fall of Reach) but was later changed to 2535 (Cole Protocol). Any retroactive continuity introduced by others should be taken into consideration by using the logic/reality test.
- Review the product in question and dissect every detail. ― Categorize those details and then determine their canonical or non-canonical status: Are they in conflict with another product? Do they defy the laws of realism? Or do they fit in well with the established universe?
Canon Testing 101
So, we've got our base of fanon now. How do we go about applying this base to our articles in order to ensure that they are accurate in regards to the Haloverse? The answer lies in asking yourself a few key questions.
Does My Article Contradict Canon?
That is to say, does your article contain any events, organizations and characters that could not exist properly in-universe? Examples of such things would be a SPARTAN-II that was born after 2512, the revelation that Master Chief is secretly a girl with a voice modulator, or a vast alien empire that the UNSC encountered before the Covenant. All of these concepts contradict previously-established canon elements (all SPARTAN-IIs were around five when conscripted, Master Chief has been confirmed in all sources to be male, and the Covenant are the first aliens that Humanity has encountered) and would thus be considered Not Canon Friendly, a status hereafter referred to as NCF. If your article is determined to be NCF, you need to either prove that it is possible or change it quickly to avoid it being deleted or moved to namespace.
Is My Article God-Modded?
God-Modded. It refers to the cheat that many early videogames had that, when entered correctly, made the player invincible to all threats in the game, an immortal and indestructible warrior with unlimited ammunition and boundless energy. An article that is considered to be God-Modded (or GM) is one that seems incredibly over-powered. It may be realistic, but chances are that it is not, since everything in the known universe has some type of weakness. An example of a GM concept is a SPARTAN wearing a version of MJOLNIR that has rocket-launchers mounted on the shoulders, an impenetrable forcefield tied into its shield system, and an unlimited-power LASER attached to his gauntlet.
Is My Article Realistic?
Your article must adhere to the laws of physics and other plausible factors. The Halo universe is technically considered to be science fiction, not space fantasy. The difference between these two concepts is that science fiction has its roots in actual scientific theories and is not simply based upon the author's imagination of the future alone. All science fiction concepts must be able to exist naturally or be proven by scientific discovery. Outlandish articles and ridiculous concepts are also considered NCF, so it is important that you keep your articles up to this standard. For more information on this subject, the administration suggests that you check this excellent article out for all your getting-started needs: it's Specops306's Guide to Fanon and Fanfiction!
This is the part of the Canon Policy page that addresses some of the most talked-about items on the site. Among these are the debate on whether Halo Legends is canon, whether or not it is appropriate to use Tier 0 technology, the number of SPARTANs, and the plausibility of having another SPARTAN program in the series.
Perhaps the most infamous debate that has been sparked by 343's caretaking of the series is the canonical nature of Halo Legends. Many have raged against its rather loose interpretation of Halo canon, and the many errors it made in its development, and in most cases, they are correct. However, it is actual canon material, and should be accepted as such. Despite this, there is a nice and easy way to reconcile the differences, and that is this: Legends is just that, legends and stories passed around by UNSC and Covenant troops to their fellows over days and weeks or even years. Such tales, getting more and more wild with each telling, obviously lend themselves to exaggeration and inaccuracy, and are therefore not quite reliable sources. That is how the Administration of this site feels Halo Legends should be viewed, as a dramatic interpretation of historic events, the sort of mythos of rumor and scuttlebutt that is spread around a combat unit or passed down through generations.
Another topic of contention that has been hotly debated amongst the users of this site is the concept of Tier Zero technology, the highest point on the Halo Universe's scale of sentience. Tier 0 species are referred to as "Transsentient," having been able to rise above the very bounds of reality itself. But, to quote Halopedia, "As the Forerunners had no examples of civilizations with technological accomplishments greater than themselves - with the exception of the Precursors - this is a theoretical ceiling. It is suspected that they can travel across galaxies and accelerate the evolution of intelligent life." With the onset of this classification of technology, there have been more than a few concerns regarding the legality of having a Tier 0-based article that may or may not break several of the site's rules. Therefore, the Administration has decided on the following policy regarding Tier 0:
| If a user wishes to create a Tier 0 species/technology, it cannot:|
This means that there can be no ridiculously implausible technologies or species, ones that can kill a man with a single glance, or destroy all matter in the cosmos, or create matter from thin air. Long story short, if it's obviously god-modded or overpowered without a grounding in applied scientific law or theories, it's going to be tagged as such.
As is stated by the laws of physics, matter is conserved, and cannot be destroyed or created; only modified. So if your article decides that it can literally make something from thin air or reduce it to nothingness (literally), it's way too impossible, and will be summarily flagged as NCF. If anything goes completely outside the laws of physics, barring the exceptions made specifically for the Halo Universe by its creators (i.e. Slipspace), then it falls under this category.
- ↑ IGN: Beyond the Ring: Bungie's Renegade Development of Halo's Fiction
- ↑ Halo Graphic Novel: Foreword