Choose Quality, Make Art

Halo 3 was released in 2007. That’s 17 years ago, and yet, once a year or so, usually while not thinking about video games at all, I suddenly hear a slowly ascending piano song in my head. As it builds to a crescendo, I rack my brain: “Where is that melody from again?”

It never takes me long to remember: “Believe!” That was the name of the commercial that announced the game to the world. The ad is only 60 seconds long. There is no narration. In fact, it does not show any footage of the game at all. All you get is a series of moving shots of a miniature 3D-model of a battle scene. Nothing is moving except the camera, and yet…

The model displays a fight of epic proportions. Humans. Aliens. Explosions. Movement. Some soldiers seem suspended in mid-air, caught in the blast of a grenade. Others are pinned to the ground by alien spikes fired from a nasty weapon. Every individual is either falling, fighting, struggling, dying, or hiding, and the torment is etched into their faces.

Looking at these scenes with Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude, you don’t need narration. You don’t need gameplay footage. You see these men and women, hear the music, and despite everything being made out of plastic, you can feel their pain. Their courage. Their willingness to put everything on the line for one last fight. In that moment, you just know: This is it. The end. The conclusion of an epic saga, and you must be there to witness it.

The Believe campaign was not a series of ads. It was art — and that’s why thousands of people will remember it out of nowhere on a random Thursday morning 17 years later.

Things of quality have no fear of time. Choose quality, make art.