The Emotional journey – Analysis: HALO – The Silent Cartographer

The most obvious application of the model is on a linear campaign mission.

If we take one of the best mission ever created (in my opinion), The Silent Cartographer from Halo, it should be no surprise that the Emotional Journey model can map pretty well with its ups and downs, with the moment where we have a cinematic, where our drive and motivation change, and where there is the most challenging encounters with the combatants.

Watch below the walkthrough of the mission and down the page, the causality chart applied to it.

Video playthrough of the mission: The Silent Cartographer
SETUP – Who, What, Where. What we know from before that has led us here, now.[CINEMATIC] “Covenant believes that what they call the Silent Cartographer is somewhere under this island. The cartographer is a map room that would lead us the Halo’s control center”
WANT – What do we want? Why are we here, now?00:10 We want to find the Silent Cartographer. The Map room that would lead us to the Halo’s Control Center (It’s interesting to see that there are action and engagement with the covenant before the first directive shows up. It puts the player right into the action.)
DRIVE – You are moving forward because you want to…00:30 – Find the Map room to Halo’s control center
ENGAGE – Moving forward in the world, going after what we want.We got a Warthog! Start exploring the island to achieve our goal.
OBSTACLE – What is between us and what we want2:50 We have to go inside a building
END OF ACT I REVEAL4:50 The covenant locked the door. Something new that we have to react to.
DRIVE – You are moving forward because you want to…5:10 – New motivation – Find the door’s security override
PLAN – We execute on what we decided to do, pushing through obstacles

The player does a bunch of stuff to get to the Security door override.

11: 20 – Holopad – Door is open “It’s quiet…”

The player does more stuff to get to the Map room. With an increased intensity. Acquisition of the Grenade Launcher
MID POINT – Twist, turn. Stakes raised17:30 We’re back at the first building, now the door is open.
(The whole obstacle of the door is dealt with within PLAN)
CHALLENGE – Biggest challenge so far.17:50 – [CINEMATIC] “Shafted” – There is a long way down. The big challenge is ahead of us.
SUCCESS – Short moment of success and encouragement, brief tension relief.24:00 – We found what we came here for. The Map room!
BREAK REVEAL24:10 – [CINEMATIC] We know where the Halo Control Center is.
DRIVE – You are moving forward because you want to…24:30 – New motivation – Return to surface for extraction
(The directive changed, but Cortana did not update us yet about the next step)
BREAK – Setback, criticism, crisis, defeat… things are bad
24:40 – No enemies, we make our way up. We learn that Keys is out. Maybe something bad happened to him.
Cortana affirmed what we were suspecting (since she didn’t clearly say it): we have the location of the Control Center. Mission accomplished, now we need to get out.
DRIVE – You know know what to do! You are moving forward because you want to…
Motivation reinforced – Cortana We’re going topside
(That’s where Cortana explicitly says what our next motivation is.)
ASSAULT – Confrontation on the way towards the final obstacle
24:50 – Fighting our way back up. Increased difficulty to engage combatants that are above us.
Start of the hero music.

It ends in a crescendo with the Elite with a sword.
THEMATIC REVEAL – Thematic revelation
28:40 – requesting pick up
CLASH – Final battle against the last obstacle28:50 – 2 invisible Elites with a covenant spaceship
RESOLUTION – We reached our goal, or we didn’t29:15 – Pelican’s arrival
DRIVE – You are moving forward because you want to…29:30 – Get in the Pelican
NEW STATE – New status quo. We won, we lost, things are different now.We got what we wanted. Off to the next mission!