Task 1: Halo 4

Daniel Yee (s338226)
Syafiq Roslan (s3414624)
Jeeva Reuben Kunaselam (s3414732)

Syafiq’s summary and synthesis:


The recent shift of many in the media industry towards transmedia content brings forth the idea of a tug of war relationship between the participatory culture of new media practices versus the reality of corporate synergy in transmedia storytelling. While he agrees on Jenkins’(2006) argument on the evident possibilities for the co-creation of content between producer and audience, he also suggests that corporate branding remains an integral part of transmedia storytelling. He adds that by branching out through transmedia storytelling, media conglomerates are able to not only amplify their corporate branding practices, but also shut out non-branded content(ie independent work) by oversaturating the various markets involved(tv, games, movies, social media etc). In the article, Edwards also talks about the concept of “collective intelligence” introduced by Pierre Lévy, in which the knowledge pool of the internet is essentially built from a collective of different individuals contributing different expertise and individually specific knowledge. He also talks about the idea of mass customization, in his words, a “self-performed consumer research” technique, which serves to offer companies voluntary demographics and target audiences, based on advertisements and online preferences which at first glance may appear to be tailor-suited to each individual user.


  •       Participatory culture versus corporate synergy in transmedia storytelling
  •       Are new media techniques benefitting the end user or maximizing profit gain of media conglomerates/corporate branding?
  •       Collective intelligence and content creation in transmedia storytelling
  •       Mass customization as both a means for audience participation and market research


Edwards, L.H 2012, ‘Transmedia Storytelling, Corporate Synergy, and Audience Expression’,Global Media Journal, vol. 12, no. 20, viewed 23 March 2014.


Reuben’s summary and synthesis:


Transmedia is a form or an approach to, storytelling, that possesses a variety of potential curricular applications that applies to literacy and the content areas. It is a flexible technique that allows pop culture creators to tell interconnected stories across multiple media platforms. According to Henry Jenkins, many contemporary works are characterised by expanding their narrative through different media (film, TV, comics, books, etc.) and platforms (blogs, forums, wikis, social networks, etc.). Andy Plemmons, a progressive media specialist conducted a lesson for fifth graders about the September 11 event. Plemmons knew that his students, whom weren’t even born at the time of the event wouldn’t be able to know the impact of the 9/11 by just using a single medium. Plemmons read aloud nonfictions picture books, had them watch video clips about the John J. Harvey fireboat. He also made them use computers to follow guides to locate online resources that include photo galleries, newscasts, personal accounts and timelines. He stated that his students contributed their own drawings and writings to create a complete story about the event and that they had no idea that they were engaging in transmedia, a way of telling a story or an experience across various platforms. Transmedia is the result of transliteracy, which is a concept that can be applied to the more old-fashioned book vs. movie approach, where several media are established as oppositional, not complimentary. Transmedia isn’t about taking advantage of new platforms for the sake of generating revenue. It is instead, a technique that allows participation in a narrative in powerful and original ways.


  •       A technique of telling stories and creating content across multiple media and platforms.
  •       Comparing and contrasting modes of storytelling between different story forms helps understand character, plot, action, scene and theme.
  •       It is not so important who produces a text but rather how the texts are connected and integrated into a complex narrative system.
  •       Can be used to improve an existing story by producing fan fiction.


Gutierrez, P 2012, ‘Every platform tells a story: transmedia has the power to make any topic more vivid and personal’, School Library Journal, vol. 58, no. 6, pp. 32, viewed 23 March 2014


Daniel’s summary and synthesis


The following is a summery of a speech presented by transmedia experts Armando Troisi and Kevin Grace at the 2012 GDC Game Narrative Summit.

Transmedia storytelling represents an exciting opportunity to “tell stories across multiple platforms” creating “new storytelling opportunities”. The goal here is to not only create a greater experience for consumers but to keep fans engaged for a longer time by creating more access points between the Transmedia and artefacts and the fans. It is important for them to make sure every narrative is important and canonical.

Unlike many other Transmedia artefacts, the 343 team created their Transmedia narrative with a distinct hierarchy in mind. Although “everything is connected” across platforms, the priority is that everything “feeds into and supports” Halo 4, the game. While there are links between platforms, nothing is more important than the links between the various platforms and the game itself.

There exists significant challenges indeed when creating Transmedia. Co-ordinating content in a logistical viewpoint is difficult and requires constant communication. Focusing efforts on a cohesive world is another challenge when working with a large team.

In order to handle the goals and challenges 343 is presented with, they had to create a set of principals to guide them. The first of these is to enable your partners. “Don’t dictate your partners, guide them”. The result will likely end with a better product. “No reading required” is the second of these principals pertaining to the level of access of each individual Transmedia platform. While 343 certainly wishes to engage and reward the hardcore fans that engage across all platforms, they understand that not everybody will invest themselves in such a way. Therefore, their goal is to create a Transmedia story that doesn’t punish an individual who may not be familiar with every platform across the media artefact.


What is Transmedia to us (343 industries)?

–       Telling stories across multiple mediums

–       Meaningful, canonical stories

–       Interconnected narratives

–       Audience engagement


Examples of Halo 4 Transmedia narratives:

–       Forward onto dawn (live action film series)

–       Comic book series

–       Novels

–       Web content – online mini series

–       Motion graphic comics

–       Video game

“We have to make sure all these are connected, nothing lives in a bubble”. Rewards people that participate in all platforms without punishing those who don’t.

However, the centre of the strategy is Halo 4 (the video game). Every platform must draw a connection to the game. There is a hierarchy that exists between these platforms


What’s the goal here?

–       Create new storytelling opportunities

–       Creating a layered experience with interconnected stories makes for a better consumer experience

–       Keeps fans engaged, providing constant material to engage in


What are the challenges?

–       Coordinating content, working through many different time lines. Logistical management.

–       Focus our efforts

–       Curating the fiction. Making sure that all these stories are meaningful not just for the sake of connecting to a wider audience.



–       Enable your partners

o   Don’t hire vendors; create partnerships.

o   Don’t dictate content; guide it.

–       No reading required

o   Peoples understanding of the media artefact may differ depending on how/what they engage with. Build your platform with this in mind.

o   Reward the hard-core fan that engages with every platform

o   Don’t punish the casual fan

–       Room to grow (let each medium to what it does best, allow it to flourish. Sometimes that may require reassessment)

o   Understand your media

o   Understand your audiences

o   Don’t limit your narrative possibilities if you don’t have to. E.g. don’t define something so concretely if you don’t have to.

o   Don’t enforce canon but manage it

–       Tell the right story in the right channel


Sequential model

–       Each media artefact links to the next one in a linear fashion. Engagement with an artefact requires knowledge of the previous artefact

Supplementary model

–       Each artefact stands separate but adds support to each other



Grace, K and Troisi, A. “Building Transmedia Worlds in Halo 4”, Speech in GDC Vault Game Narrative Summit 2012, Accessed 8/3/2014 <http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1016603/Building-Transmedia-Worlds-in-Halo&gt&gt;


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