The Halo series was first shown to the public on July 21, 1999, where it was announced at that year's MacWorld conference. The game began as an RTS-style game, but through development had turned into a large-scale team-based shooter similar to Tribes or Battlefield 1942, and was planned for release on the Mac and Windows. Bungie later announced that Halo would be released on PlayStation 2 in an article in "Next Generation Magazine", which is now out of print. This was also confirmed by IGN and Gamespy. Before the game was canceled for the Sony console, a video on YouTube showed what would have been if the game was to be released on PS2, keeping in mind that this footage was during the early stages of development.
Take-Two Interactive, which was a share holder in Bungie Studios, sold its 20% share to Microsoft thus shifting development to the Xbox. Halo was later changed to a third-person shooter when Microsoft bought Bungie to make Halo an Xbox exclusive. As Bungie received Xbox development kits, they reworked their engine and Halo transitioned again to a first-person shooter. It was initially planned to have online multiplayer, but this had to be removed since Xbox Live was not available at the launch of the system. When the game was released alongside the Xbox at launch, it was in-arguably the single title that made the system successful.
The game sold copies quickly enough for Microsoft to fund a sequel, Halo 2, which would have online multiplayer. After Halo 2, Bungie turned to development on the Xbox 360 title Halo 3, which released in September of 2007. After Halo 3, Bungie bought its independence back from Microsoft and made a deal to produce two more games under the publisher. Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach released 2009 and 2010 respectively, were Bungie's last games in the series. Halo Wars (by Ensemble) was the first game to be developed by a publisher other than Bungie as it was an RTS and was released March 3, 2009. Halo 4, released on November 5, 2012, was developed by 343 Industries and is positioned as the start of the "Reclaimer Saga" (Halo 4 through 6). It sees the introduction of new characters, locales, and enemies to fight.
Halo is also noted for it's regular references and nods to Bungie's previous FPS game series, Marathon on the Mac. Marathon references like the Marathon symbol, ship and armor names are scattered throughout the game. Many consider Halo to be a prequel to Marathon although this has never been confirmed by Bungie.
Halo: Combat Evolved
The first game in the series is Halo: Combat Evolved. It was an exclusive Xbox launch title on November 15, 2001 and introduced major elements of the Halo series, such as the Master Chief, the Covenant, the Elites, and the mysterious Halo rings themselves. The game was a launch title for the original Xbox, and an explosive critical and retail success. On September 30, 2003, Gearbox released a PC port of Halo, followed closely by a Mac OS X release on December 11, 2007. There was an expansion called Halo: Custom Edition on the PC that allowed players to create their own content.
Halo 2 was released on November 9, 2004, and featured online multiplayer through Xbox Live. It was the most-played game on Xbox Live for two years, until the release of Gears of War, and it held the longest streak as the number one game on the service. The game introduced the playable Arbiter character, and the ability to dual-wield weapons. Halo 2 was later released for Windows Vista by a joint Microsoft and Bungie team called Hired Gun, with a map editor and a few exclusive PC maps, although this port was released too late to have much relevance to the PC gaming scene. Halo 2 made $125 million and sold 2.38 million copies on the first day of its release. After release, Bungie supported Halo 2 with downloadable balance updates and map packs from Xbox Live.
The final game of the original Halo series was Halo 3, the first Halo game on the Xbox 360. It was released on September 25, 2007. Accompanied by a huge media blitz and much hype, the game scored quite well with critics, and sold predictably well. Halo 3 added more new weapons and vehicles, as well as the Forge map editor, which allows players to modify and share their own unique levels. The game made $170 million in its first twenty-four hours. Halo 3 was also supported post-release by Bungie, with two title updates as well as a new playlist ranking system, weekend double-XP playlists, and 9 downloadable maps, with 3 more exclusive maps from Halo 3: ODST.
Halo 4 is the first game in the "Reclaimer Saga" developed by 343-Industries, and was released on November 6, 2012 worldwide. For this installment, more of an emphasis was placed on developing the relationship between Master Chief and Cortana, the series' two main characters. The game grossed $220 million on its launch day, and as of December 6, 2012, the game's sales totalled an approximate four million copies. This is the first numbered Halo game to not be developed by the series' creator Bungie, instead being created by 343-Industries, a company created by Microsoft to oversee the entire Halo brand.
Halo 5: Guardians
Halo 5: Guardians was announced at E3 2013 (but not given a name until May 2014) with a trailer showed a cloaked Master Chief walking through a desert and coming across some sort of Promethean structure. Another trailer debuted at E3 2014 that featured The Arbiter conversing with a new unnamed character about finding Master Chief.
The Halo series has proven so popular that it spread to real-time strategy with Halo Wars being produced by Ensemble Studios. Halo: Chronicles, a game being developed by movie director Peter Jackson's newly formed Wingnut Studios. It was said Chronicles to be a new trilogy for Halo. After multiple budget and job cuts in 2009, Chronicles was confirmed cancelled. A movie version of Halo has been in production off and on, but the project is currently in limbo with no definite production date set.
Halo: Nightfall is a 5-episode series from executive producer Ridley Scott that will link the story of Halo 4 to Halo 5: Guardians. It will tell the story of Jameson Locke's encounter with The Flood and Forerunner artifacts. Halo: Nightfall will be released in 2014.
In addition to that there are now a total of five novels, with a sixth on the way. These books tell the story about the SPARTAN program, as well as the struggle with the Covenant. For those interested in the story, the books delve much more deeply into the Halo world than the games. There is also a graphic novel available, as well as a four-issue comic series by Marvel, which bridge the end of Halo 2 and the beginning of Halo 3.
Halo 3: ODST
The long rumored Halo game was revealed to be Halo 3: ODST by Bungie and was released on September 22, 2009. The game dispenses with Master Chief as the main character and instead focuses on a brand new character; a silent ODST soldier known as "The Rookie" . After an incident which causes The Rookie to be separated from the rest of his squad, he awakes 6 hours after dropping into the city, alone. A large part of the game is spent exploring the city, trying to piece together the fate of his squad. While no longer in control of a spartan, the gameplay is still very similar to that of previous Halo games. The player is able to use all of the previous weapons with the only change of no longer being able to dual wield. Also while the traditional shield mechanic is now replaced by a stamina system, the two function in a similar manner. Despite the name, the events in the game actually occur during the time of Halo 2.
Announced at E3 09, Halo: Reach follows Noble Team, a group of Spartan-III and Spartan-II soldiers, during the siege on the planet Reach with the player taking control of Noble 6. This takes place before the events of Halo: Combat Evolved and tells of the main battle in the first Halo book: The Fall of Reach. An invitation to an open multiplayer beta to this game was included in Halo 3: ODST and began on May 3rd. Halo: Reach is the last Bungie-developed game in the Halo franchise. Halo: Reach was released on September 14, 2010.
Set about 20 years before the events of the main trilogy, Halo Wars allows the player to experience the start of the Human-Covenant War through a strategy game setting. This game is made by the fabled developer of the Age of Empires series; Ensemble studios. This was the last game that they made as it was announced that the company would be disbanded following the completion of this project. During Halo Wars , players can engage in full scale large battles that are complete with multiple Spartans and a virtually every vehicle found in the original trilogy plus a few more. Halo Wars was released March 3, 2009.
Halo: Spartan Assault
Halo: Spartan Assault is a new game developed for Windows 8 desktop and mobile devices. Developed by Vanguard Games and 343 Industries, it is a top down, "twin stick" shooter following the character Sarah Palmer, introduced in Halo 4. It takes place as a series of simulated missions of Palmer's exploits between Halo 3 and 4.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Halo: The Master Chief Collection is a collection of Halos 1, 2, 3, and 4, released on the Xbox One this Fall. It contains the updated Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Halo 2: Anniversary, along with higher resolution versions of Halo 3 and 4. Access to the Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta set for December 29, 2014 is also included.
Halo: The Fall of Reach
Halo: The Fall of Reach by Eric Nylund was the first book written in the Halo franchise and a prequel to Halo: Combat Evolved, depicting the beginning of the Spartan - II program to struggle to the defense of Reach from the Covenant onslaught. The novel portrays a younger and newly promoted Captain Jacob Keyes and a Dr. Catherine Halsey on a mission to find subjects for the Spartan - II super soldier program.
While weeding through potential candidates, Halsey finds herself on Eridanus - II, watching a freckled face boy dominate his fellow elementary school classmates in a game of King of the Hill. As it turns out, this boy, John, was exactly who she came to see. Halsey approaches the boy and proposes they play a game. She would flip a coin and if John could tell her which side it would land on before it hits the ground, the coin would be his. This was actually a test for the boy because it is the belief of Dr. Halsey that there is a great deal of luck involved in the outcome of a battle. As there are too many Spartan candidates as it is, she would use this test to weed out the "lucky few" who would enter into the program.
To her amazement, not only is John correct about the side on which the coin would land, but as the coin is spinning, he observes and calculates exactly which side it would be. With that John wins the coin and is later taken from his home, enrolled in the Spartan - II program, and replaced with an identical (although flawed clone) would continue to live as John for a short time before an "accidental" death.
John finds himself in a military base on Reach, the planet-made-headquarters of the USFN, the main military force of earth. Here, he meets the group of over 100 others chosen as the best of the best of humanity's children and destined to become their greatest asset. He is given the codename Spartan 117, being the 17th of the 2nd group of Spartans (after the failure of the first Spartan program). The group of future Spartans undergo a training program perfectly portraying that title, as they are pushed far past the limits of normal humans, and quickly pitted against the best squads the military has to offer in war games, during which the children are severely outnumbered and outgunned. In one such exercise, they (now teenagers) are separated in the frozen wilderness in an unpopulated region of the planet with no way to get home or contact each other. John finds each potential Spartan in turn and instructs them on how to survive the situation. Because of his leadership, everyone came back safely and without serious injury. For his performance, John was given the role of leader of the Spartans.
After becoming fully developed, the young adult Spartans are brought aboard a space station orbiting Reach to undergo a risky procedure to enhance their physical strength, speed, and reflexes well beyond the limits of a human. Here is where the luck Dr. Halsey tested him for as a child would come in handy as less than half of the Spartans survived the procedure without becoming too damaged to continue on as an effective soldier. The newly formed super-soldier squad was sent on few missions before John was given the military rank of Master Chief Petty Officer. While travelling to receive their specially made (and ridiculously expensive) Mjolnir IV armor. Before the Spartans arrive at their destination, their ship serves as the vessel for humanity's first encounter with the Covenant. Pitted against weapons no one has ever seen before, the ship barely escapes intact. After being given their armor and an all too brief tutorial on how it works, the Spartans are pitted against the Covenant who had followed them there. This first encounter ended in victory, but with the loss of one of John's closest friend, who had stayed behind to destroy the ship after his suit was compromised.
Over the next 20 years, Humanity's war with the covenant would ensue and in 2552, the Master Chief has a mission to capture and control a Covenant spaceship for research and analysis, with the aid of the Pillar of Autumn, commanded by Captain Keyes. However, the mission is soon interrupted when Reach is attacked by a Covenant armada. The Master Chief and the Spartans quickly go to aid the doomed planet. Unfortunately, the battle is deemed lost while Spartan 117 is battling the covenant aboard a space station. In order to survive, he is ordered to board the Pillar of Autumn, which, not even having enough time to calculate proper slipspace coordinates, jumps in order to escape as quickly as possible. As they make their escape, the survivors of Reach observe their former home being glassed by the Covenant, a procedure which uses Covenant ships to cook the surface of the planet from orbit, making it unlivable and literally turning the ground to glass. The Master Chief successfully escapes with the rest of the crew on the Pillar of Autumn, using the slipspace coordinates she acquired from a forerunner artifact discovered on Reach, but are unfortunately followed by a high ranking Covenant, command a fleet of ships. This leads to them to the discovery of Halo and the beginning of Halo: Combat Evolved along with the next book.
Halo: The Flood
Halo: The Flood written in 2003 by William Deitz follows the story arc of Halo: Combat Evolved, depicting in greater detail, the struggle between the human and the Covenant on a personal level. The novel opens in 2552, with the Pillar of Autumn crew discovering Halo and seemingly a Covenant fleet waiting for them. The Covenant refuse to engage in ship to ship combat, for fear of damaging the sacred ring. The aliens then board the Pillar of Autumn. Meanwhile, the Master Chief is being awoken from Cryostasis in order to aid in the defense of the Pillar of Autumn. Once awoken the Master Chief receives Cortana from Captain Keyes with orders to prevent her capture. The Master Chief escapes from the damned ship on an escape pod, crash landing on Halo.
The novel then follows the Master Chief's endeavors, which can also be played in Halo: Combat Evolved. However the novel expands on the story with the character Major Antonio Silva and Melissa Mckay as they lead Orbital Drop Shock Troops (ODSTs) in combat against the Covenant. In a primary event of the game, Master Chief rescues Captain Keyes from the Covenant ship "Truth and Reconciliation". Keyes then reveals all the secrets of Halo he has overheard from conversations between the Covenant throughout his stay as their prisoner. While Master Chief is attempting to unearth the whereabouts of a lost squad, he comes across the helmet of Pvt. Wallace Jenkins. Using the video playback feature, the Master Chief uncovers the fate which befell the lost squad. This signals Spartan 117's first contact with the flood, a hive-minded parasite which reproduces by assimilating any living being it comes in contact with. Shortly afterword, 343 Guilty Spark (a.k.a. The Monitor) approaches the Master Chief and enlists him to help navigate the Library which contains the key needed to activate Halo, giving the Spartan the title of Reclaimer. Along the way, the Monitor implies that out of the 12 classes of armor available to the Forerunners, the Mjolnir V is equivalent to class 2.
As the Chief is about to activate the ring using the key he obtained from the Library, an infuriated Cortana stops him in his tracks. Subsequently, the true nature of Halo is unveiled, the ring does not eliminate the Flood, but instead destroys their food supply, or in other words, all sentient life in the galaxy. The Master Chief is then forced to defend himself against the Sentinels, the Halo security drones under the command of the Monitor, and proceeds to attempt to destroy the Halo, and if they could, escape from it. The most efficient way to destroy the ring is to cause a massive explosion by overloading the fusion reactors aboard the Pillar of Autumn. To do so, the Chief would need to retrieve protocol codes possessed by Captain Keyes. In the midst of a rescue attempt, he discovers Keys had become one of the Covenant and Master Chief is forced to kill his commanding officer. While the Pillar of Autumn's fusion reactors explode, the Chief and Cortana locate an intact space-worthy fighter vessel, given the codename "Longsword", contained in one of the Hangars of the massive crashed ship. The novel ends with the Master Chief in a Longsword, floating in dead space, and awaiting rescue.
Where the plot deviates from the game that shares its story is in the various scenarios not involving Spartan 117 including large scale battles between humans and Covenant, events which unfold after Master Chief leaves what would have been a level of the game. The most significant of these side-stories centers around a Covenant Grunt and Elite who frequently almost come in contact with Master Chief throughout the book before facing off with him near the end aboard the crashed Pillar of Autumn.
Halo: First Strike
Halo: First Strike by Eric Nylund was written in 2003, transcribing the events that transpired between the Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2 video games. The novel starts right after the last scene in Halo: Combat Evolved with the Master Chief drifting off into space. Cortana soon finds a suspicious aircraft adrift in the wreckage remaining after the destruction of Installation 04. On board, they discover Corporal Locklear, Sergeant Johnson and others. The Master Chief initially suspects Johnson of being a flood form, since he saw him overcome on the Private Jenkins recording. It is later discovered that Sergeant Johnson's prolonged exposure to Plasma fire is his past has caused a unique immunity to the flood.
The Master Chief and his newly acquired squad commandeer a Covenant ship called Ascendant Justice while it is patrolling through the wreckage. The humans then pilot the ship to get back to Reach; upon arrival the Master Chief recognizes a signal their ship intercepts saying "Oly Oly Oxen Free", a signal which the Spartans used when they were in training on Reach. The Master Chief conjectures that there are surviving Spartans on the glassed planet. After landing, the Master Chief discovers several Spartans, Dr. Hasely and Vice Admiral Whitcomb; who ordered his own rescue during the battle for Reach. The reason for the Covenant not glassing this section of the planet perplexes everyone until it is revealed that the Covenant are seeking a Forerunner crystal. With the Covenant unwilling to damage the crystal in any way, the humans are able to avoid being fired upon for some time.
Meanwhile, Cortana still aboard the Ascendant Justice has uncovered that the Covenant have acquired the location of Earth and are preparing for an invasion. The humans arm a Nova Thermonuclear mine, which is capable of destroying a planet and escape to the Ascendant Justice using the gravity lift. Before escaping, the Covenant seriously damage the Ascendant Justice leaving only one plasma cannon capable of firing. Master Chief recalls the location of a rebel base (which he invaded on his first mission) hidden in an asteroid. The humans enlist the aid of the rebels for repairs and the impending Covenant attack. Dr. Hasely instructs Locklear to prevent the Covenant from acquiring the Forerunner crystal, then abducts the unconscious Kelly - 087 on one of the rebel ships, leaving the others confused and betrayed by her actions. Locklear acts on his orders by using explosives, resulting in his death as well. Fortunately, the destruction of the crystal ends the ability of the Covenant to track the ships movement. While the fall of Earth is imminent, the Spartans determine that any time possibly acquired by delaying the Covenant was well worth the cost. The Spartans then launch a covert attack on the Covenant space-station, Unyielding Hierophant, where the Covenant are amassing their ships for impending invasion*.
The Spartans set the space-station to self-destruct and escape, although losing one Spartan to their first Brute encounter. Vice Admiral Whitcomb then realizes his most heroic effort in his lifetime, he single-handedly baits the entire Covenant fleet to surround the Unyielding Hierophant at the time of the explosion, destroying almost all of the ships. While this effort would only hinder the Covenant effort, every hour bought for Earth's preparation would crucial for the defense of the last human sanctuary, Earth.
* The fact that the Covenant know the location of Earth and are prepared for the invasion of Earth is implied in this novel. However, this contradicts Cortana's acquired information at the beginning of Halo 2, when she uncovers the fact that the Covenant were surprised to find humans or any resistance on Earth.
Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
Halo: Ghosts of Onyx (a.k.a. Ghosts of Coral) was written in 2006 by Eric Nylund. This was the fourth Halo novel, and the third one written by Nylund. The novel begins depicting a large-scale battle between the three hundred Spartan - IIIs and the Covenant. Due to unforeseen aptitude on the part of the Covenant, there were only two Spartan - III survivors, Lucy-B092 and Tom-B292. It is later unveiled that the Colonel James Ackerson is mass producing these Spartan - III's with little regard to preserving their lives; selecting children with less than ideal genetic code in order to keep production quotas. The Colonel chooses Chief Mendez (the trainer of the original Spartan - II program) to head up training for the Spartan - III's with the aid of Kurt-051. Under the new name of Lieutenant Kurt Ambrose and a faked death courtesy of ONI, Kurt-051 is able to proceed with training the new Spartan-IIIs, unbeknownst to his fellow Spartan - II's.
While the Spartan - III's are performing a training exercise on Onyx, some suspicious activity occurs in a forbidden sector. The Spartans find something lurking within... Something Forerunner.
Halo: Contact Harvest
Halo: Contact Harvest is the fifth novel based in the Halo universe. This novel is written by Joseph Staten, a longtime Bungie employee who has worked on the Halo games. The story is set in 2524, twenty-eight years before the events of the first Halo game. The story is about the United Nations Space Command's first encounter with The Covenant on the colony world of Harvest, and the beginning of the war of the Halo storyline. Like in Halo: The Flood, the novel is narrated by both humans and Covenant. The protagonist of the book is Staff Sergeant Avery Johnson in his younger years.
Halo: The Cole Protocol
Halo: The Cole Protocol is the sixth novel based on the Halo Universe written by Tobias S. Buckell. The Cole Protocol reveals the location of ”Gray Team” a SPARTAN group who was isolated during Halo: The Fall of Reach.
Set between 2535 and 2536, The Cole Protocol takes place in "The Rubble", an asteroid belt which has been occupied by human survivors from nearby planets being glassed by the Covenant.
The story begins with an attack by Jackals in The Rubble. The Jackals are attempting to steal navigational data from Ignatio Delgado, the one of the protagonists in the novel. While holding off the Jackals, Delgado is almost killed, but saved by SPARTAN-111 (Adrianna) of the Grey Team. She hands him a beacon, which would signal her team to get the data if he would no longer be capable of keeping it from the Covenant. She also tells him to keep Gray Team a secret from the Security Council, the leading group of the Insurrectionist in The Rubble.
Meanwhile, Commander Dmitri Zheng informs Lieutenant Jacob Keyes that he is being transferred from teaching at the Academy to assist Zheng in enforcing the new Cole Protocol. (A set of standards to prevent the Covenant from obtaining the whereabouts of Earth and the Inner Colonies.) Back at the Rubble, Delgado suspects that someone within the Security Council is attempting to sell the navigation data to the Jackals. Suspecting that Bonifacio, a known smuggler and on the Security Council, Delgado proceeds to attempt to obtain information from him. While trying to get information, he meets Adrianna again in a small bar. While talking, they are attacked by Insurrectionists, who overhear the questioning. Again saved by Adrianna, Delgado is taken to the Spartans' ship to meet with Jai and Mike, other Spartan II's.
Back on the Midsummer Night, commanded by Dmitri Zheng with Jacob Keyes on board, the UNSC soldiers attempt to enforce the Cole Protocol on a civilian freighter. With the civilian refusing to cooperate, Keyes and a group of ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Troopers) board the freighter. With the men aboard, the civilian captain detonates a bomb on the ship killing many men. Attempting to escape, Keyes puts on the armor of a fallen ODST and jumps into space. He is able to contact the Midsummer Night alert them of the attack.
However, the hidden Insurrectionists aboard the civilian ship detonate the ship to kill as many of retreating ODSTs as possible. Most of the ODSTs and Keyes are able to escape the explosion and get picked up the Midsummer Night.
On the home planet of the Sanghelli (Elites), Sangheilios, Thel 'Vadamee (the future Arbiter) wakes from his sleep to be attacked by assassins sent by the Vadam Keeps' Council to test this Kaidon (Sanghelli theocratic rank) 'Vadamee easily disposes of the assassins and meets with the council, demanding to know who sent the assassins. Finding out who it was, 'Vadamee kills the elderly elite, justifying his rank. 'Vadamee then tells the council he will be sent to Charybdis IX, a human colony, by the Prophets.
In the meantime, the Midsummer Night arrives at Charybdis IX to prevent Insurrectionists from getting a crate of Covenant plasma rifles and pistols. Lieutenant Keyes and Major Watanabe go planet side to receive information from an ONI group in order to complete their mission. However, during the mission, the UNSC group get attack by Insurrectionists and protesters. Watanabe is killed while Keyes manages to escape the planet.
As the Midsummer Night retreated from the system, a Covenant fleet led by the Prophet of Regret destroy the fleet defending Charybdis IX and proceed to glass the planet. Meanwhile, Vadamee is called to meet with the Prophet of Regret on board with the fleet to witness the glassing of another human world. Regret shows Vadamee a modified plasma rifle and decrees it, stating that such modifications of Covenant weaponry by anyone other than the prophets was heresy.
He orders 'Vadamee to track down the weapons, which he believes is coming from Jackals trading with humans. 'Vadamee is then promoted, starting his path towards fleetmaster. As 'Vadamee leaves, the Prophet states that the Hierarchs did not believe that the humans had been spread out across so many worlds.
Tor Books announced that it would publish several new books surrounding the Halo franchise, beginning in of November 2009. The first book, titled Halo: Evolutions, features several short stories from, Eric Nylund (Halo: The Fall of Reach, Halo: First Strike, and Halo: Ghosts of Onyx), Karen Traviss (Legacy of the Force: Revelation) and Tobias Buckell (Halo: The Cole Protocol).
Halo Evolutions contains 11 short stories and 4 poems (the poems are accompanied by art work).
-Beyond is a poem that seemingly expresses a beings awe of the Halo rings and their pondering of the implications of their creation. It was written by Jonathan Goff, with cover art done by Nicolas Bouvier.
-Pariah is a story about Soren-066, a Spartan-II that was one of 12 removed from the program when his body was terribly mutilated by the drugs given to genetically enhance the Spartans. He grows to resent his life being cast-aside by the UNSC and eventually assists the Insurrectionists. During his defection (and stealing of UNSC top secret materials) his longsword is shot down forcing Soren to crash the plane. His body is never recovered with Halsey commanding Mendez to not hunt for him, Soren is declared MIA. Pariah was written by B.K. Evenson.
-Stomping on the Heels Of a Fuss is a story about an ONI operative who is sent to a Jiralhanae(Brute)-held human world, Beta Gabriel, to study Covenant Culture. He is captured by Brutes who are using humans for sport (sport that ends in the human involved dead). However noticing unrest in the local Brute hierarchy, the operative conspires with fellow captives to make an escape while the Brutes argue among themselves. It was written by Eric Raab.
- Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian is a story about an ODST, Baird who is getting surgery for cancer. While unconscious the ship (The Heart of Midlothian) is boarded by a team of Covenant Special Forces. Everyone except Baird (and the Ship AI) is killed, without the mandatory Cole Protocol being enacted in time, due to the Covenant's unusual surprise attack. The Ship AI Mo Ye wakes Baird and informs him of the situation. She explains that Baird has to prevent the Covenant from getting access to her Data & the Ships Navigational database or else they will find the location of all the UNSC's colonies.
Baird then sets out to work his way to the control room to activate the self-destruct sequence. Armed with only a fire-extinguisher he is stabbed by an elite who casts his body aside presuming Baird is dead. Upon waking, Baird is given a fatal-concoction of drugs by Mo Ye. These will make his responses faster and improve his strength for the next 2 hours. Renewed, Baird makes it to the Control Room where he surrenders to the Covenant there, proclaiming he'll give them Earth's location for his safety. He instead releases Mo Ye from her restricted state and then attacks the Commanding Elite, who promptly chops off Baird's head. Mo Ye ends the tale by activating the self destruct sequence before the Covenant can escape.
Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian was written by Frank O'Connor.It was also turned into a 4-part motion comic by ONE that was released weekly on Halo Waypoint.
was written by award-winning Greg Bear, and tells the story of the Forerunners set about 100,000 years before the Halo trilogy. The story is centred around a Forerunner named Bornsteller Makes Eternal Lasting and his life that is changed forever after meeting The Didact.
This book is the first in the "Forerunner Saga" trilogy, and is intended as a set up for Halo 4.
was written by award-winning Greg Bear. The story is centered around a human named Chakas.
This book is the second in the "Forerunner Saga" trilogy, and is intended as a set up for Halo 4.
was written by award-winning Greg Bear. The story is centered around the end of the Forerunner-Flood war.
This book is the last in the "Forerunner Saga" trilogy, and is intended as a set up for Halo 4. It was released 4 months after Halo 4 for more clear continuity.
- Halo Graphic Novel - Published by Marvel Comics, the Halo: Graphic Novel Contains four different stories from the Halo Universe.
- "The Last Voyage of the Infinite Succor" - Art by Simon Bisely and written by Lee Hammock.
- "Breaking Quarantine" - Written and Illustrated by Tsutomu Nihei.
- "Armor Testing" - By Ed Lee, Andrew Robinson, and Jay Faerber.
- "Second Sunrise Over New Mombasa" - Written by Brett Lewis and Jean "moebius" Giraud.
Written by Brain Michael Bendis and Illustrated by Alex Maleev. It is a four issue miniseries taking place during a Covenant occupation of of earth after Halo 2, and Master Chief's return at the beginning of the events of Halo 3.
Written by Peter David and illustrated by Eric Nguyen. Helljumper is a five issue miniseries about a squad of Hellijumpers from the 105th ODST Division of UNSC Marine Shock Troopers. They where released in summer/fall of 2009 with a hardcover edition released in March of 2010.
The Halo series have provided the background for many fan-made machinima such as Rooster Teeth's Red vs. Blue and Digitalph33r's Arby and Chief.
Red vs. Blue
Created by Rooster Teeth, using Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, Red vs. Blue: Blood Gulch Chronicles follows the story of two opposing sides, Red Team and Blue Team, in a desolate box canyon (Blood Gulch) in a parody of First Person Shooters, science fiction, military movies and other things from modern day culture. The series ran for a total of 100 episodes (plus specials and PSAs) and holds the guiness world record for the most popular machinima.
Following the original series Rooster Teeth later created a new trilogy using Halo 3, Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction, Recreation, and Revelation.
Starting with season 8, Red vs. Blue began including custom animations to add more action and dynamic shots to the series.
Rooster Teeth has also released multiple spin-off series such as Out of Mind, Recovery One, and Relocated. They where also for a time pursing an animated version, but found it to be too expensive.
Master Chief Petty Officer John-117
In the Halo trilogy, the player has taken the Role of Spartan 117 or as he is more popularly known, Master Chief. Master Chief's history is revealed in great detail in the Halo novel The Fall of Reach. He was originally named John and was born in the year 2511 and lived on the colony of Eridanus II which was near the edge of UNSC controlled space. From a very young age he exhibited some uncanny characteristics, for instance he was much larger than any other Child his age, smarter and more was in general much more developed than his peers. When John was six years old, 74 children were secretly kidnapped by the United Nations Space Command (UNSC) to participate in the Spartan-II project, which sought to create a new breed of cybernetic super soldier.
The kidnapped children were "flash cloned" by the UNSC so that the parents of the children never even knew they were kidnapped. Upon their arrival on the Planet Reach, they were given new names and Master Chief was designated as John-117. Eight years later, all of the Spartan-II subjects underwent psychological, biological and cybernetic enhancements but only John and 32 others survived. These remaining Spartans donned their trademark MJOLNIR armor and entered into military service after completing the project and went on to face the deadly Halo antagonists the Covenant, the Flood . Master Chief's armored, faceless visage has become iconic and synonymous with the Halo franchise. Among other things, his MJOLNIR suit gives him advanced protection from damage, a recharging shield system, and enhanced jumping abilities.
After a surprise attack on the planet Reach where almost the entire Spartan-II force was located at the time, most of the Spartan-II's were killed although a handful survived. These other surviving Spartan-II's have never been mentioned outside of the Halo novels and are never acknowledged in the games. In fact, Halo: Combat Evolved it states that the Master Chief is the "last of his kind"; this is not true however, because there were at least seven other Spartan-II's who survived the glassing of Reach. Halo: Combat Evolved picks up the story immediately after the battle of Reach, as the UNSC Pillar of Autumn emerges from a random Slip space jump in the vicinity of the Halo construct. Once there, the chief succeeds in stopping the Covenant in their quest to activate the rings. Along the way he battles the monstrous Flood and manages to destroy the ring in order to prevent it from being fired and to destroy the Flood.
In Halo 2, he helps defend the Super-MAC gun and later goes ground side to Earth to help repel the Prophet of Regret and his forces that landed there. From there, he goes to Delta Halo and assassinates the High Prophet, Regret. It is here that he meets Gravemind and the Arbiter, two important characters in the Halo Universe. He is sent by the Gravemind to High Charity to search for the index, however this turns out to be a trick as the Gravemind uses the confusion to land his Flood on the mobile capital and begin the process of assimilating the populace on board. Desperately short on time and with the need to protect Earth from the impending Covenant invasion, the MC is forced to leave Cortana behind on High Charity. He sneaks aboard the Forerunner dreadnought and when it arrives at SOL, he utters one of the most iconic quotes in response to Lord Hoods question as to what he doing aboard "that" ship; he replies "finishing the fight."
Halo 3 starts off with the player missing Cortana's input for the first time in the series, excluding the part where the player character is the Arbiter. Master Chief escapes the Forerunner ship and crashes to Earth where he is recovered by Sergeant Johnson with the Arbiter in tow. It seems that the Covenant are digging for an artifact around the remains of New Mombasa and along with Lord Hood and Miranda Keyes he takes part in an daring attack to break through the covenant defenses. Right when he is about to reach his goal, a single Flood-infested ship arrives and on-board is a recording from Cortana which advises the MC to go through the Portal that had formed when Truth activated the structure on Earth. He along with Keyes, convince Lord Hood to let them go to the Ark and search for a artifact, which Cortana claims will stop the flood and at this point the MC is reunited with old villains like 343 Guilty spark and Ratus vadum. Once at the ark he battles alongside the Elites and other humans to break through Truth's forces and stop the rings from firing.
Once again the plan is thrown up in the air by the untimely arrival of the Flood. However, he presses on and once at the control room the MC and the Arbiter form a temporary truce with the flood and manage to stop the rings from firing. The Flood quickly turn on them, but both manage to escape. The Chief rescues Cortana from the crashed and infected High Charity and proceeds to "light" the new ring that is being created. However, the ring is not fully completed and 343 Guilty Spark turns on him when he along with Johnson and the Arbiter try to force the issue. Johnson is killed but the Chief manages to light the ring and along with the Arbiter escapes the doomed ring.
The shock wave from the firing of the uncompleted ring breaks apart the Ark and shears the ship that the MC and Cortana are on. They make it through just in time, however due to the sudden collapse they are left light years away from their intended destination, Earth. Master Chief then goes into cryo sleep and Cortana drops a beacon to help someone find them. Both the first and last time in the original trilogy the player sees Master Chief, he is in a cryo chamber.
Halo 4 begins with Cortana waking Master Chief up from cryogenic sleep to an army of rogue Covenant that are still fighting against Humanity. The ship Master Chief is on drifts towards, and crashes onto a Forerunner planet named Requiem.
Thel 'Vadam or as he is more popularly known, the Arbiter, is the only other playable character in the Halo trilogy. He is introduced in Halo 2 and is only playable in Halo 2, although he appears in Halo 3 he is not playable in single player. Thel 'Vadam originally came from a very powerful and affluent line of Elites and in Halo 1 he was responsible for the safety of Halo. However after the chief detonates the Pillar of Autumn's reactors and destroys the ring, Vadam is stripped of his rank and condemned to execution. The ever scheming high prophets give him an opportunity to fight on in the name of the Covenant under the guise of the Arbiter. His debut as a playable character generated a lot of reaction from the fans, both negative and positive. He was able to provide a unique perspective on the story as his story was narrated from a Covenant Loyalist and later a Covenant Separatist point of view.
The player's first mission as the Arbiter is to kill a "heretic" who is an Elite that had been openly calling the prophets liars and as such needed to be silenced. This is also the part in the game that the player gets to meet 343 Guilty spark, the monitor of the first installation that the MC destroyed in Halo 1. This level marks the first occasion that the player plays as someone other than the Master Chief. After that mission he is sent to collect the Index and at the conclusion of the mission is when he is betrayed by the Prophets and Tartarus, this is but the first step in the Covenant Civil War. He is rescued by Gravemind and meets Master Chief face to face for the first time, although he was betrayed by the Prophets he still believes in the Great Journey.
Gravemind senses this and sends him to Delta Halo, where he witnesses the full effect of the Civil War; he sees that the Brutes have killed most of the Elite High Council and with the help of Rta's Vadum, he fights his way into the inner hallways. At the end of the level he meets up with Sgt. Johnson and escorts the Scarab and breaks into the control room where Tartarus is trying to force Miranda Keyes to activate the ring. Along with Sergeant Johnson and a few other Elites he manages to kill Tartarus and stops the rings from firing. The game ends with him questioning Guilty Spark about the location of the Ark.
At the beginning of Halo 3, the Arbiter is introduced in the first level along with Sergeant Johnson. For all general purposes the Arbiter plays no significant role gameplay wise, he will assist on you on certain missions but that is the extent of his contribution and the Arbiter is a non playable character in the Halo 3. However, he is by default the leader of the Elites and the Covenant Separatists. He accompanies Master Chief to the Ark and for the Prophets betrayal he seeks to kill Truth. He accomplishes that along with the Master Chief's help and also helps in stopping Gravemind and the flood by setting off the ring over the Ark. He is last seen crashing on Earth, as his front part of the ship gets through the portal in one piece. He is present at the "memorial" on Earth and is seen leaving for the Elite home world of Sanghelios.
The Covenant is a collection of alien races ruled by the Prophets that have been waging a successful war against humanity. They include many species such as the Grunts, Jackals, Brutes, Hunters, Drones, Engineers (only in the Halo novels) and the ruling class, the Prophets. They also included the Elites, but they were cast out of the Covenant in 2552 in a bloody civil war that in turn forced the elites to ally with the humans. The races are all bound together by their unquestioned belief in the long extinct forerunners and their promise of the great journey. In that sense they follow the prophets who claim that they can lead them to this promise land. The leader of the Covenant was the Prophet of truth until he was executed by the Arbiter in the events in Halo 3. With the majority of their fleets decimated and facing both political and cultural upheaval, Jul' Mdama leads the Covenant Remnant after the war, thus beginning a Second Human-Covenant War.
- Truth was the highest of the three ruling Covenant Prophets. After the deaths of Regret and Mercy during the events on Delta Halo, the Prophet of Truth became the sole leader of the entire Covenant.
- Mercy is one of three prophets that lead the Covenant. He is the oldest prophet, and the only one with a known name -- Hod Rumnt.
- Regret is the youngest of the three prophets who lead the Covenant.
The Flood are a parasitic life form in the Halo universe, which serves as the main threat throughout the series. It has no known origin, though it is rumored to be extragalactic.
The Flood became Master Chief's true foe in the Halo series. This parasitic creature probably came from outside the Milky Way galaxy, and was what caused Faber to construct the Halo arrays in the first place. They are a very dangerous species and are hostile to both human and covenant alike.
A Forerunner commander who is the husband of the Librarian. He was commander during the Human-Forerunner War and the Forerunner-Flood War. At the end of the Forerunner-Flood War and driven mad by Gravemind, he created the Composer to digitize organisms without infection. He let his Prometheans become synthetic but the Flood kept on defeating them. He blamed humans and digitized them at Omega Halo. The Librarian sent him to Requiem and told the Prometheans to prevent him from waking up.
- Jacob Keyes Jacob Keyes captained the Pillar of Autumn, a heavily modified cruiser whose original goal was to help the Spartans in disabling and then securing a Covenant warship. However, due to the attack on the Planet Reach before the mission began, he was forced to abandon his original mission. Even though he put up an impressive fight, he had to retreat and this lead to the events of the first Halo. Once he steered his ship to a crash landing on the planet's surface he was captured by the Covenant and help aboard a cruiser until he was rescued by the Master chief and a handful of Marines. He set about trying to organize the defenses of his ragtag group of soldiers who were still alive and to that part he set about to capture what he thought was a Covenant weapons depot; which in reality was actually a flood containment shelter. After he accidentally unleashed this nightmare, he was consumed by the flood and began to mutate into a Gravemind. He was killed when Master Chief punched through his skull to retrieve the neural implants.
Tartarus is a Brute Chieftain during the events of Halo 2. Annoyed by the lack of respect shown his race, and always being overshadowed by the Elites, he partners with the Prophets to overthrow the Elites. After the Prophet of Regret is killed by the Master Chief, Tartarus uses this as a chance to wrest control from the Elites, securing Honor Guard positions for his Brutes, and throwing the Elites out, although they are still members of the Covenant. However, after the Arbiter retrieves the Index from Delta Halo's Library, Tartarus and the Prophets initiate their coup. Tartarus takes the Index from the Arbiter, then casts the Arbiter down a pit in the center of the Library, where he is caught by Gravemind.
At the same time, all across the Covenant city and fleet, the Brutes turn against and attack the Elites, on the Prophet's orders. While this conflict is going on, Tartarus takes Miranda Keyes and the Index to Delta Halo's control room. It is here that the Arbiter catches up with him, and reveals the truth about the Halo rings. Refusing to believe what he is being told, Tartarus activates the ring and draws his gravity hammer for combat. While the ring is charging, the Arbiter fights and eventually kills Tartarus with the help of other Elites and Sergeant Johnson. After his death, Miranda Keyes is able to safely retrieve the Index from Halo's control center, aborting the firing sequence of the installation.
The Forerunners were created by The Precursors. The Precursors picked humanity for the Mantle of resposibility. The Forerunners got angry and exterminated the Precursors. The race came from Ghibalb. When humanity had an interstellar empire and teamed up with the San Shyumm (Prophets), the Forerunners believed that humans might have overpopulated. In truth, the humans migrated from the Flood. The Forerunners thought the humans were a threat. The war lasted for over a millennium. The result was humans exiled and devolved at Erde-Tyrene (Earth) and the San Shyumm never allying the humans. After the war, the Ur-Didact proposed the construction of Shield Worlds and Faber creating the Halo Array which consisted of twelve.
- 343 Guilty Spark
343 Guilty Spark is an Artificial Intelligence created by the Forerunners. Part of him is from a human named Chakas. He is the monitor, historian, and caretaker of Installation 04, also simply known as Halo. His job was to protect the Halo ring, as well as assist a Reclaimer in the event of a Flood outbreak. Guilty Spark is first encountered at the end of the level "343 Guilty Spark" in Halo: CE, where he finds the Master Chief battling Flood in the bog outside Halo's Library. Believing the Chief to be a "Reclaimer", the Monitor transports him inside the Library. From this point forward, Guilty Spark remains certain that Master Chief is a Reclaimer, and so should already know all there is to know about the Flood and Forerunners. He expresses considerable surprise whenever the Chief deviates from the Forerunner's established Flood-control protocol. It's never actually explained why Guilty Spark believes the Chief to be a Reclaimer. However, it is speculated that because Humans apparently descended from the Foreunners, and because Master Chief is always encased inside his armor, Guilty Spark may have mistaken Master Chief for a Forerunner. At the end of Halo 3, it is the Master Chief that partially destroys Guilty Spark, after Spark turned on him to try and protect his newly constructed Halo. When he retreated in 2557, he was contacted by ONI and told them about the Forerunners' history and the Ur-Didact.
The Halo array is the last line of defense of an ancient race, known as the Forerunners, and was built about 100,000 years before the first Halo game takes place. The Forerunners stumbled onto the Flood, an aggressively violent alien race that could bind itself to sentient life and thus spread rapidly. The Forerunners battled the Flood as best they could but were unable to defeat them, so to save the rest of the galaxy from being overtaken, Faber (Master Builder) constructed numerous Halo arrays. The Halos were built to research and contain the Flood, but if the beasts became too numerous, the Halos could all be activated and used to kill off all sentient life in the galaxy, depriving the Flood of food and thus eradicating them. The Halo array was activated once by the Forerunner known as IsoDidact.
The Halo rings are one of a kind in the sense that they are technological marvels that cannot be equaled, not even by the Covenant. For all purposes they are small planets and have on them a wide variety or environments, ranging from Deserts to luscious rain forests. They also have some local wildlife and are "staffed" by sentinels and each of the 7 rings has a monitor attached to it. It is the monitors duty to maintain the ring and keep it in good working condition, so that if the need arises it could be fired with no hiccups.
Since the true purpose of the ring is a gory one, Faber constructed it in a way that made sure that those who wished to activate it knew of the consequences. As such, every Halo ring had a central control room from which the ring could be fired, however to do so would require that he or she acquire the index, which was placed in the Library. Also, the Forerunners decided to place the monumental and suicidal task of activating the rings, not on the installation's monitors or the sentinels but rather on the "reclaimers"
It also seems that the Halos were a place to study the flood and probably try to research some kind of drug to neutralize them. That would explain the large number of Flood specimens that were found in the Halos. While the seven Halo's were scattered throughout the galaxy, there was a central structure, the Ark that could be used to activate them all at the same time. The Ark was located outside the galaxy and required that a portal be activated on Earth so as to get to it.
Science and Technology
The UNSC relies heavily on advanced ballistic technology in nearly every facet of it's military arsenal, including the ship-based weaponry. The UNSC ground forces are armed with a variety of weapons which are mostly powerful enough to rip through Covenant infantry armor.
The Covenant on the other hand make use of reverse-engineered Forerunner technology, which is based almost exclusively on the mastery of plasma technology. In both their ship and infantry carried weapons, this powerful borrowed technology allows them destroy most of their targets very quickly indeed.
The Human and Covenant forces use very different technology from each other, though they would compliment each other somewhat if combined and utilized together by a single user (plasma being more effective against shields, bullets having a greater effect on bare flesh and at a greater maximum distance). This is where a Spartan has the ultimate advantage against any Elite, on the field of battle; able to adapt and think creatively with regards to tactics and equipment.
The vast majority of Covenant anti-personnel and anti-vehicle weapons are plasma-based and usually contain some form of magnetic field manipulation, meaning they are able to shape and control the, normally, unstable plasma. The most common infantry weapons that Humans have encountered on the battlefield include:
Type-25 Directed Energy Rifle aka the ' Plasma Rifle'
Rate of Fire: 360~540 shots/min | Effective Range: 50 meters
Muzzle Velocity: 126 m/s | Power Output: 100-150 KV
Standard armament for an Elite warrior (although it can also be carried by Grunts and Brutes), can be fully operated with only one hand, which therefore allows dual-wielding. Extremely effective against the personal shields of a Spartan, thus making for a potent weapon in the right hands. The high energy plasma bolts are relatively slow moving once in the air, and some 'leading' of a target may be required at range.
Type-25 Directed Energy Pistol aka the ' Plasma Pistol'
Semi Automatic | Effective Range: 50 meters
Muzzle Velocity: 108 m/s | Power Output: 100-150 KV (when overcharged = 1.5 MV)
Commonly found on Grunts, Jackals, and Drones. Can be dual wielded and fired at a rapid rate, although each bolt will only cause minimal damage to an enemy. A powerful tool if overcharged, it is capable of stopping any vehicle dead in it's tracks with just one shot, as well as completely dissipating a Spartan's shield.
Semi-Automatic | Effective Range: 600 meters
Muzzle Velocity: 700 m/s | Doesn't utilize plasma technology, supersonic radioactive rounds are accelerated along the length of the barrel instead
Carried by Jackals, Brutes, and some Elites, this weapon provides the Covenant with a longer range weapon suited for keeping certain targets out of close quarters. It is often utilized by the stealthy Jackal race, in conjunction with high firing positions from cliffs or trees, for example.
Both sides field space faring warships of different classes and types, however it is the Covenant who truly own the galaxy in terms of the speed, size, and power of their fleets.
In comparison with the UNSC fleet, the Covenant ships are many times bigger and the Covenant Navy's capital ships, the Supercarrier and the Assault carrier, easily dwarf the capital ships of the UNSC Navy. In addition to their powerful on board weaponry, they are able to deploy a large number of troops and are able to carry smaller craft onto the battle field. The Covenant's understanding of Slipspace is also much more advanced than that of the UNSC's as Covenant ships are able to travel longer distances faster and are able to make pinpoint jumps, a capability which UNSC ships lack.
The musical score of the 3 primary Halo games, Halo 3: ODST, and Halo: Reach, was composed by Martin O'Donnell & Michael Salvatori, and the sound has evolved over time. Marty O'Donnell has said that the e minor chord holds the heart of the halo score. In Halo 1 many of the themes where established, but simple and airy. Halo 2 strengthened the themes and added many more orchestral layers to the mix. Halo 3 has a darker twist on those same themes adding baritone vocalists and an emphases on drums that created a more war like sound. In ODST the game abandons the previous halo themes almost completely, there is no choral music.
The Music is a quieter more jazz-influenced sound. O'Donnell said that since the game tells "a human story, not a cyborg story (The score should be) "more intimate and personal. Two of the game's three hours of music are packaged in a two disc soundtrack and were released September 22.
Most of the music for ODST and Halo 3 was recorded in Washington state and performed by The Northwest Sinfonia. Orchestra sessions were led by Stan LePard and performed by the Northwest Sinfonia, at studio X.
The score for Halo 4 was created by Neil Davidge, member of music group Massive Attack.