Welcome to Noble Team- UPDATED

27 Apr , 2010 Videogames

UPDATED: I’ve added a few more shots and notes to the breakdown now that the extended version of the trailer has been released. Some shots will be out of order due to the additions.

By now, you’ve no doubt seen the new live-action trailer promoting the upcoming Beta for Halo: Reach, and if you’re like me, you drooled over every frame. As I watched it, I felt like I had to write up a break-down in the vein of my “Brothers” break-down for the recent Gears of War 3 trailer. Welcome to Noble Team.

This is the most important shot in the entire trailer. It opens with Carter’s hands fiddling with some kind of information card. Granted, the layperson doesn’t know it’s Carter a-259 just yet, but those of us who’ve been eagerly anticipating this trailer already know. Anyway, after Carter finishes contemplating this little electronic device in his hands, he sits up and inserts it into a sort of card-reader. This is pivotal to me because it shows that for the Spartan III’s, the choice to become a Spartan is literally put into their own hands. No one straps them down, no one performs the procedure on them. They must choose to initiate the physical transformation themselves. The final test, indeed.

After making the choice to become a super-soldier, Carter lays back down and is introduced to his two new drill instructors.

As Carter goes through the procedure, we’re treated to some of his flashbacks, including a holographic photo of his parents. Unlike John-117 and his fellow Spartan II’s, it appears as if the Spartan-III subjects clearly have knowledge of who their parents are, or were. I don’t have my Halo books in front of me, so I can’t explicitly remember if anything like that was ever discussed. Either way, it’s a great moment of humanity for a young man who is about to become so much more than the boy his parents will remember.

UPDATE: Another flashback we see of Carter’s road to being a Spartan gives us what I think is our first appearance of CPO Franklin Mendez. We know that a Spartan-II, Kurt, trained the Alpha Company of Spartan-III’s with help from CPO Mendez. This man looks too old to be Kurt, but one could easily see this to be Mendez, a character I’ve been wanting to see on screen for a while now. His name tag isn’t visible, so we may never be certain. @Tapio pointed out to me on Twitter that Mendez has been visually represented very recently in the Halo: Bloodline comic from Marvel. You can see their version of him here. I still think the officer above is intended to be CPO Mendez, and we’ll chalk up the differences to artistic expression.

In the next flashback, we’re seeing Carter being transferred to some sort of military facility. It’s unclear whether this is on Reach, Earth, or some other UNSC planet. If I was a betting man, which I’m not, I’d bet this is intended to be on Reach. But as you’ll see in a moment, I’m not entirely certain.

Our next shot takes us inside the transport vehicle. My initial reaction was “Oh, it’s Noble Team!” until I realized that there was a decided lack of Catherine. Now, it’s entirely possible that this is some early band of brothers that made up Noble Team, but as you’ll see in two more shots, I don’t think it is. I do, however, suspect that the young man sitting closest to us on the left side of the vehicle might be one of the members of future Noble Team, Jun. I’ll tell myself it is, anyway.


UPDATE: Well, it’s not Jun. As you can see in this shot, the other young Spartan’s name is Kai. I can’t make out his number.

So now is about the time that the layperson realizes that this is Carter. Surprising, right? So beyond the name badge, note some of the details of how his jacket is put togheter. It’s the same pattern of layered elements as Kai in the image above, so we can conclude that at least these two young men are Spartan-III’s. But…

… this guy’s no Spartan. While he’s similar in age to the other two, he’s wearing a completely different uniform and that stylish beret. I suspect this young kid is an ODST, or working on becoming one, and that’s why he’s eyeballing the Spartans across the aisle. He should know better.

The young men are all launched into space in a Pelican, after which they approach the above space station orbiting the planet. This is where I question if this is actually intended to be Reach. This station isn’t quite like the Orbital MAC Platforms that we saw orbiting Earth in Halo 2, but I’d buy it if you told me it was a MAC platform with two MAC cannons, one on each side. However, it’s clearly one of a very few, if not the only station orbiting this planet, and there’s no UNSC fleet to be seen. I’d also venture to say that this planet isn’t Earth, for the very same reasons. To that end, I suspect this planet is some other distant rock in the far reaches of UNSC territory. Perhaps it could even be Onyx. We know that the Alpha company of Spartan-III’s, of which Carter is a member, were in fact trained on Onyx. The circumstances were a bit different, to be sure, but I’m chalking that up to artistic expression. If it is intended to be Onyx, then some explanation would be required for the non-Spartan young man on the troop transport. To my recollection, there were no non-Spartan-program personnel on Onyx, as the project was a secret.

Halo has always been generous with it’s references and homages to other science fiction greats, including Aliens, Star Wars, and Firefly. With that in mind, I couldn’t help but post this obvious reference to one of Star Wars’ iconic shots of the Millenium Falcon being pulled into the Death Star hangar bay. This also represents, as the shot in Star Wars did, the mythological journey of the hero into the inmost cave, where he must face his inner battle to come out the other side as the hero he’s meant to be.

And it’s after the entrance into the maw that we come back to Carter’s transformation. Here we quite literally see him transforming into a more muscular version of himself. While I doubt the transformation would be quite so instantaneous and obvious, I’ll give this one another pass on the artistic expression. The shot clearly demonstrates in a few short seconds that this process is about physically enhancing this young man to an alarming degree.

We’re treated to a shot of some of the vitals for Carter as he’s going through the transformation. Of note are his name in the upper corner, accompanied by a cool UNSC medical logo and the title “Project Chrysanthemum.” In Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, written by Eric Nylund (who coincidentally also wrote Halo: The Fall of Reach) Project Chrysanthemum was in fact the augmentation procedure for Spartan-III’s. The film-makers get an A+ for fictional fidelity. To see a whole list of the drugs likely being injected into Carter’s body, and their intended results, look no further than Halopedia.

UPDATE: I decided to add this shot in. It was in the original version of the trailer, but I wanted to discuss it’s significance. In the Halo books, there’s a good deal of time spent discussing that a Spartan is a Spartan whether they are in the armor or not. I think that this shot, in which Carter’s eyes become brigheter blue after the chemicals are introduced to his body, symbolizes that. The drugs have clearly enhanced him, but they’ve only taken what he already was and amplified it. He was, for all intents and purposes, already a Spartan before he entered this operating room.

After the procedure, Carter awakes in a different uniform than the one he wore oh his trip to this orbiting facility. He stands up and walks down a long hallway to see his armor, presumably for the first time. As I mentioned before, it is in the inmost cave that the hero must come face to face with himself to find out who he really is. Mission accomplished.

And finally, after a somewhat truncated Heroes Journey, the identity of Carter, the young man we met just 50 seconds ago, begins to blur into that of Carter-a259, the leader of Noble Team. A Spartan.

UPDATE: I didn’t notice this while watching last night, but the identification on the armor says “CARTER S-259”. In the Halo: Reach VGA trailer, the armor simply said “CARTER-259”. Kat’s armor was similarly missing any letter designation in the VGA trailer. The “S-259” designation fits with the original Halo: Reach annoucne trailer, however, in which Carter’s voice is heard over the radio saying, “This is Sierra-259. You’ve got Spartans on the ground, sir. We’re not going anywhere.” It’s not clear why he wouldn’t be labelled or refer to himself as “Alpha-259,” or some variation.

Overall, I quite liked this trailer. What I particularly enjoyed was getting a reasonable sense of cohesivness between the books, the videogames, the anime, and the elements introduced by this trailer. I feel like with each new outing, the Halo universe gets tied a little bit more tightly together.

While not as action-packed as previous Halo live-action trailers have been, I still think it told a clear story about a boy’s journey to becoming the leader we’ll all see in Reach. I also think that, given the relativelty low budget of this trailer (when compared to the previous Halo endeavours), we could possibly see a sequel to this released closer to the launch of the game. In fact, it may even jump ahead to a time when we’ll see Carter meeting the rest of Noble Team, or getting into some action somewhere. Who knows. What I do know is that the release of Reach is still a ways off, giving us plenty of time to imagine where Carter’s story could go from here.

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  1. Cynn says:

    Looks easier than a root canal. Sign me up to be an S-III armored bad ass! I’d not wish S-II aug on my worst enemy.

  2. Graham says:

    Great breakdown again Justin.

    I believe the full (2:30 min) short will be available tomorrow.


  3. djdatz says:

    I don’t think it’s Kurt, he would have been WAY older.

  4. sixokay says:

    Yeah, that’s my general thinking. He also doesn’t exude the confidence of a leader in this. He seems more nervous. I’m going with my original assertion that he’s just an ODST or some other marine who’s eyeballing the wrong guys.

  5. Gemini Ace says:

    I wanted to see some action!

  6. djdatz says:

    Kai’s number can’t be seen as only the top edges of it are visible.

    At 1:18 into this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaHuZVYv2tA – the extended version in HD) it seems his sign is s259, which could go along with the whole Sierra. As for his a designation earlier, that may have been while they were coming back from a training run on the planet (presumably Onyx), and that may have been tied to a smaller group or the likes… See what I’m getting at? (At 1:25 in, it seems that it really does say s259 and not a259.)

    Just my $0.02.

  7. Brasidon says:

    It’s a nice analysis. Commenting on the planet, it’s probably Onyx. That’s where the S-IIIs were trained, and there were obviously more personnel there than just Kurt and Mendez. They couldn’t train entire companies on their own.

  8. sixokay says:

    Yeah, I supposed you’d need some logistics personnel, but I get the impression that other guy is some other type of trainee. I dunno, it just seemed odd. Plus, the Spartan-III’s training was entirely on the planet surface, as far as we know. There was nothing mentioned about augmentations in an orbiting station, was there?

    • Brasidon says:

      In fact, the augmentations were done in a station/ship called UNSC Hopeful in interstellar space.(See GoO, Chapter 10) Not in orbit, but that could be count as artistic interpretation. Or that Carter’s augmentation took place at a different time than the others.

      Also, the book mentions several drill instructors on Onyx on many occasions during the training. In addition, there was a ship in orbit, named Agincourt IIRC. No mention of augmentations taking place there though, I suppose it was just for logistics.

      The guy with the beret could be a trainee, although at first I thought he could be Kurt. He seems awfully young to be him though.

  9. b0anerges says:

    In Ghost of Onyx the candidates for Spartan III program were taken from a pool of orphaned children. All their parents were massacred by the covenant. They have memories of their parents, in fact, most of them join the spartan program to get back at the covenant. It was an important part of their training. This hatred and need for retaliation is actually what they considered the x factor in bridging the gap of their flaws (in contrast to the perfect candidates for the Spartan II program.)

    That’s what I remember anyways. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    This doesn’t make too much since when related to the game because a couple of the Spartan III’s of Nobel 6 are from Reach, right? The planet obviously hasn’t fallen yet.

    If I had time to research it I would. Now it’s time to get back to studying for finals. What a distraction!

  10. sixokay says:

    Thanks for filling in those gaps, guys! As I mentioned, I don’t have my books with me at the moment, so I couldn’t verify some of the details.

    I’m reasonably convinced that the Beret isn’t Kurt now, and removed my notes about that from the original post.

    As for the Hopeful and the Agincourt, I didn’t even remember those, so good call-out.

    I do remember now the stuff about the kids being orphaned, so Carter having the photo of his parents makes it that much more powerful. He’s undergoing this augmentation to avenge them. As for any of the Spartans of Noble being from Reach, that doesn’t preculde their parents being killed by covenant off-planet somewhere after the children were born. It’s still an open door, as far as I’m concerned.

    • Das says:

      With the utmost respect; I think you’re wrong in that I believe the guy with the beret is Jorge. He looks like British Special Forces to me.

      • sixokay says:

        I thougt about that, actually. But wouldn’t Jorge be a good bit older than Carter? Like Kurt would? And already a Spartan. It could be, though. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone said that was the intent.

  11. djdatz says:

    My main question is… why is a Spartan III getting a variation on a Mark VI suit? Shouldn’t they have that light armour? Or is this said armour?

    • Brasidon says:

      I guess this only proves the members of Noble Team were separated from the mainstream S-IIIs from the beginning. The normal S-IIIs wore the cheaper SPI armor while Noble Team was issued with better equipment, i.e. MJOLNIR.

  12. sixokay says:

    I suspect this is intended to be the correct armor. I think the only other place we saw Spartan-III armor was the cover of the Ghosts of Onyx book, and I won’t hold the canon to that single illustration. You have to give them a little wiggle room as they grow.

    • djdatz says:

      I guess, but wasn’t it said the the SPI armour was lightweight and not very protective? It basically just gave them a bit of protection and active camo…

      And again, more cannon issues I have, if Reach is supposedly chronologically set before the other Halo games, then why have toggle-able active camo in this one, but then not in the subsequent ones? (Just me nitpicking)

    • Hunter says:

      …This trailer saddens me (the very nerdy halo dude)…it’s pretty off. The spartan III program was created to provide cheaper spartans quickly…not as genetically enhanced and not as tough as any spartan II. Every spartan III received SPI armor(Semi Powered Infiltration). Now unless the scene where he gets Mark V is some time after his BioAug and after he preforms in an outstanding manner in several successful campaigns then it just doesn’t make any sense. No Spartan, II or III, ever received custom MJOLNIR armor as their first armor…not even John received anything other than standard issue Mark VI…

      Also as far as we know ALL spartan IIIs were trained AND augmented ON Onyx…Not one at a time and not on an Orbital Platform.

      …I do for sure understand that this trailer was made for the greater audience of Halo and not really the few who care about the cannon…HAHA…I guess that there is always something to be cynical about (:

      But I was still SO stoked to see another live-action trailer for Halo.

  13. djdatz says:

    @Brasidon Ah, that would make sense. Wasn’t aware that Noble team were a “special” group of III’s.

  14. Dani says:

    Nice work dude! Glad you updated it to include the extended footage.

    Wasn’t expecting to see such an analysis on your blog, a welcome surprise.

    You’ve allowed me to appreciate the ad better so thanks!

  15. djdatz says:

    Yea, it DEFINITELY says s259. Check this, even better quality: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGJylnIeINI

  16. sixokay says:

    DJ, about the SPI armor, you’re technically correct. But at this point, I suppose that’s a question for Bungie. I don’t recall hearing anything about noble Team being a special seperate group with different armor, but it could be a reasonable explanation for why their armor is more MJOLNIR-like.

  17. Tapio says:

    Theres also image of the SPI armor in Halo Encyclopedia, If needed, I can take a picture of it.

    SPI is indeed the lesser version of MJOLNIR, it is less powerful and less advanced.
    It’s more cheaper to make and it’s also more lightweight.
    Biggest disadvantage though is lack of energy shield

  18. Tapio says:

    To clear up the confusion about the A’s and S’s infront of the name.

    A is for Alpha Company and when you add the number there, that’s his Spartan Tag
    S is for Spartan

    • sixokay says:

      I know the S is for Spartan, but unless the Alpha Company of Spartan-III’s start numbering higher than the numbers of Spartan-II’s, you’re going to have overlap in the designation numbers. Ultimately, it’s not a huge deal to me, but I just wanted to call out the inconsistencies in his labelling for those soaking in every detail.

    • Jason says:

      I don’t think it’s an inconsistency at all. Alpha Company was obliterated and no longer exists as a unit. He’s an Alpha Company Spartan-III, yes, but obviously, he is no longer active as part of it. Thus, I feel that he is now designated as Sierra because the exclusivity of the companies no longer matters.

  19. BlueShift 07 says:

    I would argue that the guy with the beret is Kurt. Kurt was born c. 2511 and went missing in 2531 (http://halo.wikia.com/wiki/SPARTAN-051). SIII Alpha company went active in 2536-2537, arguably making Kurt a little over 26. Carter has been confirmed as Alpha company (http://halo.wikia.com/wiki/Carter-A259), so the probability of Kurt accompanying Carter to his augmentation is likely since Kurt would have been overseeing all their augmentations.

    Furthermore, if you look at the HD full version at 0:44, the guy with the beret does not look hostile, but more like he is evaluating Carter and gazing back as a reassuring commander. Someone who knows what this kid is about to go through, but distanced by command.

    Remember, Carter was the oldest SIII and only 9 years younger than Kurt! With what we know about the SII training and how they looked like Olympic athletes at 12, it is likely that Carter and Kurt would only look a handful of years apart despite Kurt’s larger size which we can’t really see since he’s sitting down.

    • sixokay says:

      All great points, and you may be right. I didn’t realize that Kurt and Carter were so close in age. The point I disagree with you on is the glance between then. While I don’t think the Beret looks hostile, I do think he looks suspicious, or at least curious. For me, he’s not exuding the confidence and reassurance of a sympathetic commander. But that could just be different strokes.

  20. Cailus says:

    It’s remarkable, really. In GoO, Kurt motivates the Alpha trainees by telling them about their dead families-and that is presumably what Carter is looking at.
    The whole thing is superbly done, just like the rest of the Halo live-action stuff. The canon is stuck to almost religiously. The whole thing, from the candidates’ choice to carry out the augmentation to that final scene with the armour…it fits superbly.

    • sixokay says:

      I think there are those that would argue with you about how well it sticks to canon, and frankly I’d be one of them if it meant that much to me. I try not to hold few-minute commercials to high canonical standards, especially when they’re trying yo demonstrate a broad range of time and themes in the little time they have. I do think, though, that this hit on all the big themes of the canon – a young man who misses his parents and has joined the military is whisked off world into a strange, unreal location in space, turned into a super-powered human being, and given a special suit of armor to fight in. That’s every Spartan’s journey in a nutshell, and I think that was what was important to get across for these film makers. These commercials are every bit as much made for the average viewer as they are for the fanboys. In a couple minutes, they gave the average viewer the whole “story” of what it means to become a Spartan.

  21. Tapio says:

    Theres the biggest biggest break in canon ” a young man”
    When the spartans get the augmentation they are like 14-15.
    That guy acting is least over 20.
    And now everybody thinks that everyone can be spartan at anytime.

    I understand that it’s commercial, but damn get least that right.

  22. Scott says:

    I’m not sure, but I believe your ‘ODST’s badge, is a Spartan insignia…

    • sixokay says:

      It’s the UNSC eagle insignia, not Spartan-specific.

    • Tapio says:

      ODST patch would be image of Drop pod,with skull on it and it says ODST.
      Of course different units have different patches.
      Spartan patch is a eagle or hawk with 1 claw has arrows and other claw has lightning, this is least for Spartan-II’s

      In armor spartans usually have picture of hawk

  23. Liam says:

    First thing, I swear this actor looks like a young bulkier version of Tom Hanks.

    Anyway, I do believe they were given a choice but that was because they were orphans, because their parents were either kill during the glassing of planets, or killed serving for UNSC. Although they were a a lot younger, some were as young as 4.

    I don’t want to think that, that older looking officer could be CPO Franklin Mendez. Kurt mentions that he had a trim chiseled body, also scars from his eyebrows to his chin. Mendez sounds more like a Hispanic surname and therefore the link with that artist impression from Marvel would be spot on, but the problem with that would be that he looked too much like Sgt Avery Johnson, which I think Bungie wouldn’t want to confuse people with.

    With the flashback, it’s at the very beginning of the Ghost of Onyx that it SHOULD be Onyx. All Spartan IIIs were trained on Onyx, And it would really annoy me if it is Reach. I can’t remember (please correct me if i’m wrong) but in the book aren’t the mining or something on Onyx? Which could explain the Quarry (kinda) scene?

    I know it’s at the end, but Carter’s suit has an S before the 259 but contradicted it with this scene by putting a lower case “a” before them. It is possible that the four young men (not including that possible ODST, (because the glare he’s given them) or more likely a PTI) are part of the original Team Noble. But with most SIIIs the letter represented what company they were in. So i’m not sure. It would also be possible that the ODST or PTI guy could be a SIIIs drop out from earlier companies. Although I know that this is wrong because Carter is part of Alpha Company.

    I can’t decide with the space station. I understand that it could possibly be run by an Smart AI, but you would still need a lot of personnel to operate it. About the MAC cannons, i’m not sure they would have them, Onyx was very secret and sure although Colonel Ackerson had a lot of authority i doubt he’d be able to get a station station with mac cannons. Although, saying that, that long structure to the right of the station does look like, well what i think a MAC cannon would look like.

    I completely agree with you when you say that the procedure seem too quick and obvious. I’m sure the augmentation took weeks.

    With the second shot that you add showing Carter’s eyes, is a brilliant represntitive of the neural enhancements given to the Spartans. (From these enhancements they can seen in the dark which confused me because on the John’s suit in Halo 3 he has a light.

    Seen now i don’t like the rest of this, and it bugged me throughout this trailer is the lack of people or other spartans. I know it’s meant to be about Carter but the SIIIs program was coughing out 300 at a time. you’d think the beds would have other Spartans on them. Also I don’t like it that it’s just the one set of armor.

    Now the armor. And it’s safe say that we all agree that that armor shouldn’t be there. We assume that it is the first time he is seeing his armor, because we just witnessed him going through the argumentation. All SIIIs received SPI armor . Even if Team Noble was given special armor , it wouldn’t of been the first armor given to him. If he was part of Alpha Company then it would of been SPI armor. As for the “S”, why would it mean Spartan? The armor would give it away. I can’t say for sure what it means though because they have confused things by having a on Carter’s badge as well.

    I respect Bungie for doing live action trailers (this would also apply to the actual game as well) but please keep it consistent. I would rather a game that is consistent with it’s story but average game play that have a story that has things popping up left right and centre just to keep and get more fans interested. For example. New weapons, Halo wars featured the MA3 assault rifle which was in halo 3. doesn’t make sense. Also the armor upgrades?? Ok cool you it’s new, but it’s not with the story line. this SIIIs armor and technology was shit compared to the SIIs. People may say “yea but they were building new stuff on Oynx” Well all technology for the advanced Spartan upgrades were on Reach. Thats where John got his mark V armor and nerual upgrade and cortana.

    Thats my rant over. Good review as well.

  24. Austin says:

    The “S” does stand for Sierra. The military alphabet has differnet words to stand for letters. A-Alpha, B-Brovo, C-Charlie and so forth. In this case S-Sierra. It’s basically a substitute or code letter for Spartan. Just like the VGA trailer, in Halo 3 one of the first levels was titled Sierra-117, basically standing for Spartan-117.

  25. Gabriel Guodace says:

    The Guy

  26. Gabriel Guodace says:

    Oops sorry my dog messed up my comment. The man with the spartan 3’s in the truck is most likely Kurt. If you look at the emblem on his chest it greatly resembles that worn by spartan 2’s

  27. Dark says:

    I would fucking kill for carters spartan suit.