Xbox’s flagship franchise Halo is all set to make a grand return at the tail end of the year with Halo Infinite, and the hype has never been higher.
Halo is arguably one of the biggest first-person shooter franchises. With its deep lore, interesting characters and grand set pieces, Halo has garnered a dedicated cult following in the last two decades.
Luc “HiddenXperia” Hidden is one of the most recognizable Halo content creators. In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda’s Suryadeepto Sengupta, Luc opened up about his early days and his journey with the Halo franchise.
The following is an excerpt of the conversation.
Luc, I don’t think many of your fans know about your origin story and how you got started with content creation. So can you tell us a bit about your early days and what inspired you to create content for Halo titles?
HiddenXperia: Absolutely. My early days of content creation focused mostly on Runescape back in 2008. I was a big fan of the game and played it a lot, and used to watch loads of guides on YouTube and figured, "why not try making some myself?" So, I installed Windows Movie Maker, Unregistered Hypercam 2, and got to making some pretty low-quality guides, but I had a ton of fun doing it.
It wasn’t until 2010 that I got into Halo content creation after discovering ‘HLG’ videos. HLG stood for Hidden League Gaming, and it entailed getting the lead on the enemy team in Halo 3 and proceeding to hide in spots that required cool trick jumps to get into. It was skillful and fun to do, and made for some truly fantastic content. I really wanted to make some videos of me and my friends doing it. That’s also where I got my name from!
What were some of the hurdles you faced during the early days? How do you feel you have evolved yourself and your content over time?
HiddenXperia: The hardest thing back then was just the logistics of it all. It was 2010, so YouTube and gaming videos were still very much in their infancy. The actual process of recording, editing and uploading videos was far, far more complex and difficult than it is today. I distinctly remember having to choose between either recording Halo 3 with color or with sound with my first capture card, which made for a less than stellar final video.
Over time, the biggest change I’ve made to evolve my content has been the focus. When I was younger making videos I had no focus whatsoever, I just made videos about anything I felt like and, as such, failed to garner any real audience. It wasn’t until I decided to focus primarily on Halo content that I started to notice real growth.
Among the seven mainline titles (Combat Evolved, 2, 3, 3 ODST, Reach, 4, 5) which is your favorite title and why?
HiddenXperia: Halo 2 is forever the king of Halo (and gaming) to me. As someone who loves every aspect of the franchise, from the campaign, universe and lore to the competitive scene and online matchmaking, Halo 2 really had it all. The campaign had tons of replayability, the characters, dialog and story beats were exceptionally well written and made for a story that is yet to be topped for me. Then, in the multiplayer department everything was stellar too – incredible gameplay with a low skill floor and an exceptionally high skill ceiling, iconic maps, a fantastic ranking system and more. Halo 2 just hits every note that a Halo title needs to hit perfectly, and then some.
Other than the main series, the Halo franchise has expanded into spin-off games, books, comics and even a TV series set to debut in early 2022 on Paramount+. We would love to hear your thoughts on the expanded world of Halo.
HiddenXperia: Halo’s expanded universe is a truly spectacular beast. It almost feels like a separate entity to the games in a way, with how expansive, deep, and far-reaching it is. Yet the way it intertwines with elements of the games and the stories they tell is genius and makes investing in the comics, novels, etc. feel worthwhile, for reasons beyond experiencing the incredible stories they tell.
As someone who has been waiting for Halo to debut on either the large or small screen since the fabled Peter Jackson Halo movie in the mid-2000s, I am so excited to finally see it come to fruition with the Halo TV series. It really feels like a long time coming.
The recent Technical Preview gave us a test of the upcoming Halo Infinite multiplayer, on which you made multiple videos, including a “BRUTE-ally Honest Thoughts”. What are your expectations regarding the other multiplayer modes? Do you think introducing a Battle Royal mode will dilute the Halo experience or will it complement the game and bring in a previously untapped section of avid gamers?
HiddenXperia: I’m in a very ‘on the fence’ position when it comes to a Halo Battle Royale. As someone who spent many years playing DayZ, arguably the precursor to the Battle Royale genre, I adore the mode and the infinite number of stories that can only be told in a mode as large and open-ended as BR, and I think Halo is more naturally suited to the mode than any other game that has attempted it. Halo’s sandbox already has health and shielding, weapon tiers, vehicles, large maps and projectiles. These are generally features that other games have to essentially shoehorn into their standard formula to make a BR work.
I would love to see a Halo Battle Royale, and I think it would do wonders for the popularity and longevity of Halo Infinite, however, 343’s primary focus needs to be on ensuring the game launches with all the features Halo fans expect from a Halo game – once that is assured, then we can start focusing on extra things, Battle Royale included.
As for other modes, I’d love to see a healthy mixture of returning fan-favorite modes, such as Invasion, Extraction, King of the Hill, etc. and brand-new modes that add a new spin on the Halo formula.
What are your expectations regarding the campaign mode and the world of Installation 07, aka Zeta Halo?
HiddenXperia: For me, setting a Halo game on Zeta Halo is (quite literally) a dream come true. It’s something I’ve been hoping for the better part of the past decade to see, and to know that we’re mere months away from experiencing it is mind-blowing.
Zeta Halo as a location is packed full of all my favorite kinds of lore – Precursor, Forerunner, and most importantly, Flood. Thanks to Greg Bear’s fantastic Forerunner trilogy of novels, I fell in love with Zeta Halo and its history – something that has long been an element of the universe exclusive to the books – so knowing that we may well get to explore this very history in a game is so exciting I can’t quite put it into words.
The story and lore potential with setting a game on Zeta Halo are infinite, pun very much intended, and I cannot wait for fans of the games to experience the lore that I and many others have adored for years.
What are some of the maps from the older games that you hope the devs at 343 remake for Infinite?
HiddenXperia: I have an entire laundry list of maps I’d love to see return, but if I had to pick, say, five off the top of my head, I’d say Death Island (Halo: CE), Terminal (Halo 2), Guardian (Halo 3), The Spire (Halo: Reach) and Construct (Halo 3). A good healthy mix of casual big team battle maps and competitive 4v4 maps, many of which I believe are seriously underrated nowadays.
Xbox brought Halo Master Chief Collection to PC in late 2019, which introduced the franchise to a whole new demographic of fans. How much of that fanbase do you think will transfer to Infinite when it launches later this year?
HiddenXperia: Given that Halo Infinite seems to be basing its gameplay primarily off that of Halo 3, I would imagine the conversion rate between The Master Chief Collection and Halo Infinite will be quite high on PC. It always seems as though Halo 3 is the most popular game in the collection, and so I’m sure fans of it will enjoy Infinite’s more sandbox-focused gameplay. Infinite feels like a true successor to Halo 3 in many ways, so I can see the game appealing to many of its fans.
While Halo Championship Series has been active for quite a while, It hasn’t reached the widespread popularity of other esports leagues. Do you think the free-to-play multiplayer will propel the Championship Series to be one of the biggest tournament series?
HiddenXperia: Absolutely. A multiplayer with no barrier to entry is going to open the franchise up to millions, potentially tens of millions of new players, many of whom will have interests in esports and will more than likely want to try and pursue that interest in Halo, whether that’s by being a spectator or a player.
I think you’re also going to see a number of pros from other games, primarily PC-centric esports, giving competitive Halo a go too. Many grew up playing Halo but were never able to play it because it was exclusive to Xbox. Now that that’s not the case, I can see many giving competitive Halo a go, provided the incentives are there for them to make the switch.
What’s in the future like for HiddenXperia? What can fans expect from the channel in the coming months?
HiddenXperia: Right now I’m fully focused on Halo Infinite. We’ve been waiting for six years for the sequel to Halo 5, and the fact that it’s only a few months away almost feels like a fever dream. I have tons of great content planned and am so unbelievably excited to finally be able to produce content about something new for once! It’s going to be a truly surreal feeling, but something I cannot wait for.