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Halo is a science fiction military video game franchise originally conceived and developed by Bungie in 1999 which is now developed an maintained by 343 Industries following Bungie's division from Microsoft Studios with the conclusion of Halo: Reach in 2010. The series takes place approximated 500 years in the future during the interstellar war between humanity and the theocratic alien alliance, the Covenant. The story follows the protagonist John-117, commonly referred to by his rank, Master Chief, and his AI companion Cortana as they seek to end the war and save humanity from annihilation.
The series currently comprises of thirteen game titles, all but one of which are currently published with Halo Wars 2 set for release in Fall 2016. The initial six titles, from Halo: Combat Evolved to Halo: Reach, were developed and published by Bungie (with the exception of Halo Wars, which was developed by Ensemble), while the later six, from Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary to Halo 5: Guardians, were developed by 343 Industries.
Halo: Combat Evolved
Halo 3: ODST
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
Halo: Spartan Assault
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Halo: Spartan Strike
Halo 5: Guardians
Halo Wars 2
Early ConflictsIn the years 2160-2200, various governments and factions fought for control of Earth and its first Colonies. As overpopulation and unrest on Earth mounted, new political movements formed including the Jovian Frieden and Koslovics led by Vladimir Koslov, resurgences of Fascism and Neo-Communism which waged the Interplanetary, Rain Forest Wars Campaign and Mars clashes and were defeated by the United Nations Space Command.
The Human Colonization of the Orion Arm
In the years 2170-2291, the United Nations Space Command (UNSC) successfully developed humanity's first faster than light drive, the Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine. For the first time in history, the rapid colonization of other worlds is made possible. By 2390, 210 worlds had been occupied by humans, and were being actively terraformed to suit man's needs. These worlds are to become known as the Inner Colonies. By 2490, the UNSC's fledgling Interstellar Empire had expanded to between 800 to 1000 planets throughout the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. During this period, the planet Reach becomes one of the two headquarters of the UNSC military and government (the other was Earth itself), and is destined to become the most heavily fortified world under human control and the Inner Colonies became the heart of the UNSC government.
In addition, there were numerous small-scale brushfire wars with rebels in the Outer Colonies, which served to tax UNSC resources.
At the time of 2517, the UNSC was facing extremely low morale due to piracy and the brushfire wars. In order to remove the rebellion without a significant sacrifice of human life, Dr. Catherine Halsey moved forward with the SPARTAN-II Project. 75 gifted children were abducted and replaced by flash-clones, and drafted into the UNSC. The children went through rigorous training exercises. Later in life, they were physically augmented - these alterations were so radical and dramatic that a sizable portion of the highly-trained soldiers died or were physically deformed. The surviving soldiers were gifted with increased bone strength, increased sensory awareness, faster reflexes, and musculature density enhancements. Code-named SPARTANs, these genetically enhanced troops were trained from the age of six into a life of battle, and would become a great asset against any military insurrection.
On September 12, 2525 the SPARTANs were sent to the Eridanus II system to capture Colonel Robert Watts, a rebel leader. The mission was successful, and therefore significantly reduced the pirate threat. However, the role of the SPARTANs did not end with the capture of Robert Watts, since they were needed for the new war against the Covenant.
Shortly after the capture of Colonel Robert Watts, the SPARTANs became an elite unit of the UNSC's military ground forces. Before engaging the Covenant, all SPARTANs were given special armor designated MJOLNIR, which, in layman’s terms, can increase their strength, speed, and reaction time. They were the only ones who could wear it, as those without the proper body training or biological augmentations killed themselves with strength-enhanced convulsions.
- 'See Halo: The Fall of Reach for details
The outbreak of outright war between the humans and Covenant developed in 2525, twenty seven years before the events of Halo: Combat Evolved. The UNSC was totally surprised by the first contact with the alien alliance. The Covenant declared a religious crusade against the humans, and began to eradicate human colonies.
Because of the Covenant's heretical perspective of humanity, the Covenant engages in a practice known as "glassing" using their plasma weaponry. This tactic, as the name implies, burns the surface of the planet at very high temperatures, leaving the surface as nothing more than an expanse of cracked and charred glass and eradicating anything and everything. Between the Covenant's extreme orbital bombardment campaigns and the sheer technological and numeric superiority, it was difficult for the UNSC to find a victory.
Though the Human forces fought vigorously, their inferior technology and numbers meant that any victory, small or large, was hardly guaranteed. In space, battles were often so one-sided that dozens of UNSC ships would be wiped out for every handful of Covenant ships. Once the human orbital defenses (naval vessels called to the system's defense, or in the case of Reach, orbital MAC guns) are destroyed, the Covenant would land massive numbers of soldiers and eradicate the planet's inhabitants. Once the vast majority of the colonists and soldiers alike were killed, the Covenant would recall their ground forces and glass the planet.
Using their superior weaponry, the Covenant was able to defeat the Human colony worlds one by one until they finally reached the first major inner colony, Reach, twenty-seven years later, having skipped some small remaining outer colonies. Though the colony was defended by MAC guns, the Covenant were able to destroy the station's planetside generators, rendering the defense grid useless; they then proceeded to glass the planet (the only documented case where a planetary invasion did not precede a planet's glassing). It is after this showdown that the player is introduced into the story as MCPO Spartan 117 on the UNSC Pillar of Autumn, which is fleeing Reach; this is the beginning of Halo: Combat Evolved.
Discovery of Installation 04
The Covenant armada around Reach pursued the Pillar of Autumn, tracking the ship through slipspace. Upon exiting slipspace, both the humans and Covenant encountered the Forerunner structure Halo around the gas giant Threshold. The Covenant's superior slipspace technology actually allowed the Covenant to arrive at the Pillar of Autumn's destination before the Pillar of Autumn, supposedly to lie in wait to destroy the UNSC ship, but when they emerged from slipspace, the Covenant discovered the Forerunner artifact and began exploring it. We don't know how much time the Covenant had to explore before the UNSC ship arrived, but this explains why the Covenant are already all over the Halo.
Due to a Prophet aboard the lead Covenant cruiser not wanting to damage the "sacred ring", human survivors from the Pillar of Autumn were able to land on the surface and coordinate a guerrilla resistance.
The Covenant similarly deployed ground troops to engage the Humans, while trying to find Halo's Control Room to activate the station. However the human forces learned of the Covenant's intentions, with the Master Chief reaching the Control Room before the Covenant.
At the same time, by accident or by design the Covenant released The Flood, which rapidly infected human and Covenant hosts. The Covenant were forced to divert their attention to stemming the spread of the Flood, leading a special operations team to a damaged cruiser in order to prevent it from falling into the Flood's control. In the ensuing chaos, the Master Chief detonated The Pillar of Autumn's fusion reactors and destroyed Halo, a major setback for the Covenant; in addition to the sacred relic being destroyed, the Covenant suffered grievous casualties. A few Covenant escaped, and the fleet commander "responsible" for the act of heresy was stripped of his rank, later becoming the Arbiter.
According to the novel Halo: First Strike, shortly after the defeat at Halo, the Covenant had amassed a large fleet allegedly to assault Earth. It is explained in the I Love Bees alternate reality game that the Covenant discovery of Earth was accidental; A deviation of the Cole Protocol by the Apocalypso allowed a Covenant AI, the Pious Flea, to enter Earth's space and transmit its location.
When the ship tumbled into real space and crashed on the moon, the Pious Flea sent a message to the Covenant military command. This message included detailed information about Earth, in which system the planet was located, and the presence of Forerunner artifacts on the planet's surface.
Covenant Attack on Earth
- See also Halo 2
Shortly after the destruction of a large Covenant armada by Admiral Danforth Whitcomb, the High Prophet of Regret leads a small fleet of fifteen ships to Earth to locate a Forerunner artifact known as "The Ark". Though outgunned by the UNSC's new orbital defense grid of MAC guns, the Prophet of Regret's flagship manages to break through the human defenses to New Mombasa. The Covenant ground troops quickly spread through the city, destroying both military and civilian resistance, but a counterattack drove them back. Regret's cruiser jumps into slipspace from within the city, destroying most of Mombasa.
A single Human ship, the In Amber Clad, followed Regret through his own slipspace rupture to Delta Halo. With the orders "Find out why Regret came to Earth; why he came here", the Master Chief was sent with a complement of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers to Delta Halo's surface. Led by the Chief, the Humans forced their way through Regret's forces until they had reached the Prophet himself. At that moment, High Charity, having learned of Delta Halo, arrived and launched multiple waves of Phantom dropships to aid Regret, but were recalled by Truth. The Chief assaulted and killed Regret, and the Covenant fleet bombarded the temple attempting to kill the Master Chief. The Master Chief narrowly escaped, aided by a Flood entity called Gravemind.
Originally, the Covenant had been unaware of the Index's importance until the Arbiter recovered the Monitor of the first Halo while destroying a heretical sect. The Monitor, known to the Covenant as an Oracle, told the Prophets of the Index and the Arbiter was sent to retrieve it. The mission was complicated though by the unforeseen release of the Flood on Installation 05. Despite this, the Arbiter successfully reached the Library and prevented the humans from claiming the Index. Just as Miranda Keyes claimed the index, and the Arbiter stole it from her, kidnapping her and Sgt. Johnson. However, the Index was stolen from the Arbiter by the Brute Chieftain Tartarus, who under the Prophets' orders then attempted to kill the Arbiter. With the Index secure, the Prophets then ordered the Brutes to begin eradicating the Elites, thus starting the Covenant Civil War (see below).
Following the Flood infestation of High Charity at the end of Halo 2, the High Prophet of Truth led the remaining loyalist fleet to Earth to complete what the previous mission to Earth had not. Little did he know that Spartan 117, Master Chief, had stowed away with him. By the time Truth arrived at Earth, a full-scale war in space and on the ground was underway between UNSC and Covenant fleets, and in Halo 3 the Covenant are seen to have gained a slim military victory on Earth after two weeks of fighting, such that they could focus their attentions on putting troops and the Forerunner Dreadnought in Africa.
Halo 3: ODST
- See also: Halo 3: ODST
The story of this expansion begins two weeks prior to the events of Halo 3, just starting when Regret opens slipspace portal during Halo 2, and evolves around The Rookie, an ODST or Orbital Drop Shock Trooper. He is knocked out by the EMP Blast, along with the rest of his crew, mid flight in the drop pod. The Rookie wakes up several hours later and has to find out what happened to the rest of his crew using clues to find out what happened. The game is mostly free roam, and when The Rookie finds a clue, it flashes back to one of the five other ODST's in his squad and play what happens from their shoes. This new installment into the Halo series includes a mode called Firefight, where you and up to three other people fight against infinite waves of the Covenant, getting increasingly difficult over time and with Halo 3 Skull Modifiers coming into play for a challenge. This mode is similar to Gears of War 2 Horde mode or Call of Duty: World at War Nazi Zombies mode. The Master Chief did not make an appearance in this game.
Covenant Occupation of Earth
- See also: Halo 3
When the Master Chief arrives back on Earth, via falling from the sky, he discovers that the Arbiter and the Elites have joined forces with the humans in an attempt to stop the Covenant, who have controlled some places of the planet. However, the Covenant focus all their attention on one location in the ruins of New Mombasa. Commander Miranda Keyes immediately knows that they have discovered the Ark and sends the Master Chief, Marines, and the Arbiter to their location in an attempt to stop the activation of the Halo Rings. They fail to arrive in time as the Prophet of Truth activates the Ark. It is then discovered that the construct they activated was not the Ark, but was a portal to the Ark.
Before the Elites and Humans could respond to this discovery and pursue the Prophet of Truth, the Flood arrive in an infected Covenant cruiser from a slipstream rift and crash land on Earth. While the Elites and the Arbiter were destroying the Flood, the Master Chief investigated the Flood infested ship and found a message from Cortana, who was still trapped by the Gravemind. The Master Chief was evacuated off the surface and the Elites glassed the area (presumably half of the continent) to prevent the Flood from spreading. Human forces, the Elites, and 343 Guilty Spark traveled to the Ark via slipspace portal above the gateway. On arrival the Human-Elite alliance and the Covenant begin battle on and around the ring to secure the Ark. As Truth nears the Ark's control room, the Arbiter and Master Chief in hot pursuit, the assault is interrupted by the arrival of the Flood infested High Charity, which crash-lands on the Ark. Though they are able to stop the Covenant, the Human-Elite alliance is faced with the possible infestation of the Ark.
Then, the Master Chief went to High Charity, rescued Cortana, and destroyed the infested capital city. Once he destroyed High Charity, the Master Chief, the Arbiter, Cortana and Sgt. Johnson went to the substitute Installation 04, still under construction on the Ark, to activate it and to finally eliminate the Flood menace. However, Sgt. Johnson is killed by 343 Guilty Spark when he was going to activate the still not finished installation, and after that the Master Chief killed Spark, activating the ring, and fleeing out of Halo with Cortana and the Arbiter, destroying the Halo installation and the Ark in the process.
By March 3, 2553, the Human-Covenant war was over, with the remaining Covenant forces and Flood destroyed on or around the Ark. Elites and the Humans were at peace, and Humanity was rebuilding.
Beyond the war
Years after the war, Master Chief and Cortana have reached the Forerunner planet Requiem, and are intercepting a possible Covenant invasion.
Halo Triple Pack