Halo 3: "Believe"

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When you've already created the kind of visual tour de force of game engine animation that McCann whipped up (with help from Digital Domain) for the Gears of War launch, where do you go next? For the launch of Halo 3, McCann San Francisco, its TAG group and AKQA broke from the game animation mold and created history, literally. McCann/TAG spearheaded the "Believe" campaign which includes an ARG, films and a site based around an intricately detailed diorama depicting a "historic" battle within Halo (Read about the idea behind and the making of the campaign here).

The Ralph Wiggums among you will ask at this point: "what's a diorama?" Well, it's 1,200 square feet of real world Halo mythology that includes over 1,000 individually-rendered four inch figurines modeled from scans of human faces, and tiny recreations of all the weapons and alien enemies featured in the game. It's the drop dead visual heart of a campaign that, like GOW, seeks to snare a wider audience than the hard core fans for whom a sunrise and a Halo 3 purchase are equally likely events on September 25.

In the campaign's anthem spot, a camera tours the frozen battle scene lingering on faces and weapon blasts and skirmishes; in other films, "veterans" of the battle visit the monument and convey their recollections (an element of the campaign that's quite sad and a little creepy when you think about too long). A site, created by AKQA allows visitors to take a close up virtual tour of the diorama, with 360 degree zooms and buttons to click to learn more about enemy fighters in the real game, see video and read "first person accounts." A "Making of" film stays within the conceit—we are taken inside the Museum of Humanity and learn about the monument to John 117, built in the year 2607 and made entirely by hand, with scans of real marines' faces used to fabricate the miniatures. The real-world war schtick will surely make some viewers feel a little funny, but I'm sure the campaign creators wouldn't have it any other way. It's a daring and different approach and elevates what is essentially a shooting game with big visuals that speak to big themes.
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