Against All Odds is irrefutably one of the biggest community projects that has ever existed on Halo Fanon. It has done well since its creation in 2009, its universe constantly expanding and its timeline being filled in with new ideas. It started with a handful of ideas, which were sharpened into specific ones, and ideas were built on these ideas, and so on. And what you see before you today is a project that's become quite massive and is still growing, and by now the majority of it has been created from our imagination and is quite independent of the canon it was founded on.
There is a problem with this. When you create a project on such a scale, and you lay down your flag to start making something your own, you will eventually find yourself running on a different track from the one taken by the "official" distributors of canon Halo, 343 Industries. And this is precisely what is happening and will continue to happen more and more frequently as the future progresses. So with the release date of Halo 4 coming closer all the time, I decided it's finally time to address the elephant in the room.
I will be honest, I don't have much patience nor respect for 343 Industries. Ever since they took the reins from Bungie, there has been very little they have done for the Halo universe that I have found impressive. It doesn't help when they're constantly releasing new content that contradicts the project I worked so hard to make with the AAO community. Until a few months ago, I made a point to ignore everything made by 343 Industries so it would make my job of running AAO easier.
But that was completely different from what I'm addressing now. At this point, the decision I'm making is one that is without bias and was discussed with my fellow co-creator Maslab beforehand. Whether or not we like 343 Industries, we have to accept that we simply cannot remain on the same track as they do. In short, we've decided to consider for all intents and purposes, that what 343 Industries has to offer is not canon in AAO.
Does that mean we've become an alternate universe? Yes and no. Think of it this way. We have our own agenda for our project. It has been established, if not revealed, long before most of 343 Industries' was. When faced with the decision, we have three options. The first is to shut down AAO completely, because we'll never be able to cooperate with 343 Industries. The second is to constantly adjust our content to fall in line with 343 Industries'. And the third is to disregard 343 Industries and continue as planned.
Option one. I don't think I need to explain very much, as most of you can probably tell. If you don't, let me say that to take this option would be to do the equivalent of a Halo Fanon ragequit. If we did this, it would say something along the lines of "It's too hard, why bother. I'll just keep these thoughts in my head." As a fanon wiki, I should hope this train of thought is generally frowned upon.
Option two. This may seem like a good idea in theory, but it is a lot more trouble than it's worth, and more importantly, it can be crippling to the project itself. When you have an idea, yes it is imperative that you recognize its flaws over time and make changes after you realize these flaws. But that's not what's happening here. In this case, the process of having to cut your own ideas short in favour of ones made by other human beings with no superiority to you whatsoever, due to them owning a corporation name, is horrendously unimaginative and quite frankly, appalling to any respectable writer. Yes, we write fanon here, but we pride ourselves on being able to come up with our own ideas, and even if they don't agree with what's "official", they are still the same ideas, made by a living, breathing human being with a brain. While Halo Fanon does have a canon policy, there is a major difference between someone coming up with a childish, uneducated idea and someone who has the utmost respect for the canon that has been established when their own original ideas were first planted into writing, and no matter what, sticks with that canon that was there. When you start removing your ideas because 343 Industries is paid to put out canon and you aren't, you're hindering the potential that your writing has. Not to mention, it favours the money factor over the genuine passion a Halo fan and writer has for his work. I doubt half the 343 Industries employees are nearly as passionate about Halo or have as much respect for Bungie as most of the active community here at Halo Fanon. Let's try to remember that our willingness to create wonders here without asking for anything in return should in itself prove that our ideas don't have to take a backseat to 343 Industries' contracts and paychecks.
So that leaves option three. AAO is going to take everything that's been established as canon before it was created, as well as the canon that's released while the project was still growing (such as Halo: Reach). Everything else is going to be straight-up ignored. This isn't a point of stubbornness, it's one of common sense and a bit of insight. I've asked myself this: Why should AAO have to change what it's created? Yes, it's fanon. But this is a fanon site, and as long as its content is of high quality and canon-friendly, it has more right to be regarded in its full glory than everything that comes after, even if it means jack shit off the internet. I realize that this may once again sound similar to the overused "I can do whatever I want because it's fanon" excuse, but it's not. I can assure every one of you that the core of AAO has never stepped a toe over the canon that came before. At worst, there's some obscure stub article with an AAO tag on it that contradicts canon, but again, these things are unavoidable in a community project this big, although I try my hardest to find these articles and see that they get fixed. Take another thing into consideration: Halo Fanon was made in a time before 343 Industries reared its ugly head and took the place of Bungie. It's funny how much can change in five years, and it's something that's been such a gradual change that it's almost unnoticeable until you look back on it. Maybe these kinds of projects were considered taboo back in that day, but even though 2007 isn't really that distant, things have changed on the wiki. And this change, I think, is one that we here at Halo Fanon can make.
So there's my decision regarding how things are going to go for AAO from this point forward. Take my points into consideration, and try not to start accusing AAO of not respecting canon. I should hope none of you have become so tired of seeing NCF material that you're unable to recognize anything other than straight-up canon as otherwise. I also hope you realize that AAO, or any project for that matter, in reality has no obligation to fall into accordance with what follows it. I'll conclude with a reminder that while we value canon, realism, and imagination to no small extent, it is important to balance the three, and sometimes the imagination takes a higher priority when canon absolutely cannot be adopted without damaging what's already been established.
This means that most if not all AAO articles will probably take on a Contradict template when it heavily clashes with future canon. This applies to futures articles that have their ideas based on the original AAO ideas. Articles that avoid canon rather than contradict it will not need these templates. For the time being, the Alternate template will not be used at all in the project, since much of AAO is deeply rooted in canon and always will be, regardless of how much new canon is created in the coming years.
—Sonasaurus, Against All Odds co-creator