Book Review: Awakening: The Art of Halo 4

Halo 4 BookAuthor: Paul Davies

Hardcover: 192 pages

Publisher: Titan Books

ISBN-10: 1781163243
ISBN-13: 978-1781163245

A glimpse at the beginning of a new trilogy in the massive global gaming franchise, featuring a stunning array of concept art, character sketches and much, much more.

Halo 4 is the next blockbuster installment in the iconic franchise that shaped entertainment history and defined a decade of gaming. Set in the aftermath of Halo 3, it marks the beginning of a new trilogy as the Master Chief confronts an ancient evil that threatens the fate of the entire universe.

Awakening: The Art of Halo 4 will give gamers an in-depth look behind the scenes at the creation of the stunning worlds of Halo 4, with commentary from the art director and game designers throughout. Concept art, character sketches, detailed environments and an additional section on the forthcoming multiplayer game make this the definitive guide to 343 Industries’ take on the Halo universe.

I have to preface this by saying that I have not been a gamer in a long time. The reason being that I have no ability to moderate myself, and back when I enjoyed a good RPG, it wouldn’t faze me to spend 13-14 hours locked into my gaming system at a time forgoing eating and sleeping. I discovered that I am completely unable to balance gaming and marriage/children, so I had to choose, and kids don’t amount to much on the black market these days.

When Halo was released in 2001, I was already bidding RPGs and first-person-shooter games adieu, knowing that if I even checked them out, I wouldn’t be able to resist playing them and letting all my other interests wane. So my only real exposure to Halo was the genius parody web series Red vs. Blue.


As a non-gamer the first thing that strikes me about the book is the art. This book is beautiful. It might be one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen, and it makes me a little sad that this art is mostly just appreciated by players of Halo 4. This is a book that should be displayed in the home of an art lover because this book is a work of art. Kenneth Scott (senior art director for 343 Industries) says it best in the foreword.

This book is about caring deeply about the journey of your eyes, about striking the imaginative light and dark and daring that carries you elsewhere, about respecting the nimble, magic squirming that happens deep in your skull. It’s a holiday as accessible and as affordable as blinking. It’s a ride. Tickets, please.

This book takes you through the environments, character constructions, weapons and vehicles. I read this book on my iPad and the ebook version is punctuated with interviews with the developers, and clips from the game. It was really great to hear the thought processes behind re-imagining iconic characters like Master Chief for a new product.

I am really happy that I own this book. If I can’t play the game, I feel really good that I can support the artists who made it. Though I will need to order another copy for show.

Awakening: The Art of Halo 4 comes highly recommended. The only down side is that you really need to purchase it twice. Once in ebook form to see all the neat embedded behind the scenes interviews and clips from the game. And then you really should get the hard copy because the art is only truly appreciated in large glossy pages. This would be a book I would proudly display coffee-table-style.

I give Awakening: The Art of Halo 4 Five Out of Five Stars.

Awakening: The Art of Halo 4 is available from Amazon. Here’s the link:

Jess Orso
Written by Jess Orso

Jess is the Managing Editor and Southern Correspondent for