215 McCann worked with Smuggler, Sydney's Antibody crew, and directors Patrick Clair and Raoul Marks to give us "Step Inside," the premiere spot for Halo Infinite's "Become" campaign.
The work moves cinematically through the creation of Master Chief's iconic Mjolnir armor, then invites the viewer to (you guessed it!) step inside.
This inaugural ad signals Master Chief's triumphant return, his armor assembled in deep space. But something is missing, which Cortana, his AI partner, makes clear: The armor itself is meaningless without the person inside.
"The Mjolnir exosuit is now complete," Cortana narrates. "Even though this technology will save humanity in the war to come, I must remind myself liquid crystal cannot rise on its own. Titanium alloy cannot prevail in the face of extinction. Armor cannot hope. It all means nothing until you step inside."
If the mood feels familiar, you might be feeling the hand of Patrick Clair, who received an Emmy nomination for creating Westworld's title sequences. Appropriately, there's a soft tension between human and machine that's hard to miss: The beauty of the armor's creation, and the mercurial movement of liquid crystal, contrast with the fact that humanity is still at risk, and, in the game's universe, we continue to be at war.
More importantly, the ad makes good on correcting an error for which Halo 5 was roundly criticized: There was just a lot less Master Chief last time. The game developer, 343 Industries, acknowledged this in 2017 and committed to the opposite for Halo Infinite.
"Instead of focusing on bringing new characters into the world and expanding the playable characters, we've sort of shifted ... to making the world a little bit more realistic and compelling and, I would say, more fun for players who get to inhabit the Chief in the future, pretty much as they demanded," franchise director Frank O'Connor was quoted as saying.
Master Chief has served as the game's central character for 18 years.
"Step Inside" opened Microsoft's Xbox Games Showcase on July 23. It's now running across all the usual social networks and digital channels.
Title: Step Inside
Product: Halo Infinite
General Manager, Xbox Brands and Advertising: Taylor Smith
Sr. Manager, Xbox Global Marketing Communications, Halo franchise: Jonathan Segall
Brand Manager, Halo franchise: Aaron Travis
Agency: 215 McCann
Chief Creative Officer: Scott Duchon
Creative Director: Brad Meyers
ACD/Art Director: Alper Kologlu
Sr. Copywriter: Andy Holdeman
Director of Integrated Production: Mandi Holdorf
Producer: Nina Ulbrich
Director of Business Affairs: Mary Beth Barney
Business Director: Peter Goldstein
Account Director: Patrick Meeley
Account Supervisor: Chris Levy
Assistant Account Executive: Dylan Williams
Director of Strategy: Brian Wakabayashi
Strategy Director: Cassidy Wilber, Ryan Riley
Senior Strategist: Beth Windheuser
Production Company: Smuggler
Directed by Patrick Clair and Raoul Marks
Design and Animation by Antibody
Executive Producer, Antibody: Carol Salek
Executive Producers, Smuggler: Patrick Milling-Smith, Brian Carmody, Sue Yeon Ahn
Finishing: Method Studios
Senior Flame Artist: Ian Holland
Senior Producer: Scott Tinter
VP, Executive Producer: Scott Boyajan
Music Production: Human Worldwide
Creative Director and Composer: Gareth Williams
Senior Producer: Kamela Anderson
Executive Producer: Carol Dunn
Recording Studio: Lime
Sound Design and Audio Mixer: Rohan Young
Audio Assistant: Jeremy Nichols
Senior Producer: Kayla Phungglan
Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan
Sound Design: ECHOLAB
Sound Designer: Gavin Little