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Every Halo Game in Order

Nowadays, when dozens of great games are coming out every month, it's hard for any single one to claim the limelight all to themselves, and even harder to remain in the limelight. There are only a handful of games that have become an icon of the gaming culture itself, and Halo is proudly among them.

The Halo series is one of the biggest video game franchises and the household name associated with Xbox. Although the first Halo was developed by Bungie for Apple's Mac, Microsoft quickly saw the potential and bought the rights to the game. That's one of the greatest investments of all time.

The Halo series revolves around the character of Master Chief John-117, an unseen supersoldier Spartan who adventures through alien lands and battles a religious theocracy of multiple species known as the Covenant. Master Chief is not complete without his trusty AI companion, Cortana. And if that name sounds familiar to the AI on your Window laptop, you'll be pleased to know that Halo was the origins of the very Cortana that we use to make grocery lists and set reminders today.

Today, we're looking at all the Halo games in order, covering all the titles from the main series as well the highly anticipated Halo infinite and everything we know about it.

Halo: Combat Evolved

Release date: November 15, 2001
Developer: Bungie, Gearbox Software (PC), Westlake Interactive (Mac)
Supported platforms: Windows, Mac OS X, Xbox

Halo: Combat Evolved

Halo: Combat Evolved

Back in 2001, Microsoft was launching a new console in a market saturated by Sony, Sega and Nintendo. They needed a big hit that would set them apart and drive the sales for the new console. Enter, Halo: Combat Evolved.

The game was set in the 26th century when the human race collides with an alien race known as the Covenant. You, as Master Chief, were tasked to prevent the Covenant from discovering the earth's location. Thanks to an outstanding story and futuristic game design, Halo: Combat Evolved became the gold standard of FPS in that came out in the following years.

In an age of dial-up routers where 'multiplayer' games meant playing outside, the split-screen mode of Halo: Combat Evolved was lightyears ahead of its time. The game first debuted on Xbox and was subsequently released on Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.

Halo 2

Release date: November 9, 2004
Developer: Bungie
Platforms: Xbox, Microsoft Windows and Xbox One (as a part of the Master Chief Collection)

Halo 2

Halo 2

If a new game performs well, there's a lot of pressure on the sequel to live up to the hype. Halo 2 did not only live up to the hype but in fact, surpassed it! The game picked up right after the events of the first Halo. It featured an immersive storyline and a competitive multiplayer mode.

Halo 2 earned $125 million on the first day of its release, making it the highest-grossing video game for the entire original Xbox line-up.

Halo 3

Release date: September 25, 2007
Developer: Bungie
Platforms: Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows and Xbox One (as a part of the Master Chief Collection)

Halo 3

Halo 3

Just like the original Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 3 was tasked with the job of selling Microsoft's next console, Xbox 360. However, unlike Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 3 was riding on the success of the previous games, so it made it easier for Microsoft to sell more Xbox 360 units.

Halo 3 proved to be another immediate hit that took the fundamentals of the previous two titles and built upon them. In this game, the Chief was still at war with the Covenant and the added twist of the Flood. Your job is to prevent the discovery of the ark and stop the ring from being activated. On the multiplayer side of the game, a ranking system was added along with updated map packs.

Halo 3 raked in over $170 million on its first day on sale and went on to be the best selling game on Xbox 360.

Halo Wars

Release date: February 26, 2009
Developer: Ensemble Studios
Platforms: Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows and Xbox One (as a part of the Halo Wars: Definitive Edition)

Halo Wars

Halo Wars

Halo Wars presented a drastic change in gameplay. It was the first Halo game that was not built by Bungie, but Ensemble Studios. The focus shifted from First Person Shooter to Real-Time Strategy. Players could control entire armies instead of just Master Chief.

The events in this sequel take place over two decades before the original release of Halo: CE. The storyline covers some of the first encounters between humans and the Covenant and sheds light on some of the questions gamers had.

Halo Wars was a highly rated game but many, including me, believe that Halo Wars was not a Halo game at its core, but a rather a spin-off of a popular franchise.

Halo 3: ODST

Release date: September 22, 2009
Developer: Bungie
Platforms: Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows and Xbox One (as a part of the Master Chief Collection)

Halo 3: ODST

Halo 3: ODST

Halo 3: ODST was an expansion to Halo 3's storyline. However, since consoles weren't necessarily connected to the internet back then and DLC was a rare term, Halo 3: ODST was sold as a separate game on discs.

While the game mode was back to being a first-person shooter, Master Chief was still amiss. Instead, the game focused on five ‘orbital drop shock troopers’ (ODSTs) and not the Master Chief. While the new city of New Mombasa was inviting and the story of the missing teammates was thrilling, the game did not live up to the standards set by the previous titles.

Halo: Reach

Release date: September 14, 2010
Developer: Bungie
Platforms: Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows and Xbox One (as a part of the Master Chief Collection)

Halo: Reach

Halo: Reach

Halo: Reach was a prequel to the first Halo Trilogy. While Master Chief was still missing, Halo Reach was still a big hit.

Halo: Reach ticked all the checkboxes that made the initial Halo games a big hit. A well put together multiplayer mode and a campaign where you take on the role of Noble Six, who is tasked with defending a planet called Reach from the onslaught of the Covenant, with his squad. A part of the reason for Halo: Reach's success was the fact that it was Bungie's last Halo and, according to purists, the last 'Halo' game.

Halo 4

Release date: November 6, 2012
Developer: 343 Industries
Platforms: Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows and Xbox One (as a part of the Master Chief Collection)

Halo 4

Halo 4

Once Bungie was out of the picture, 343 Industries took the reins. Halo 4 was the first game of a new Halo trilogy. After three games amiss, Halo witnessed the return of Master Chief and picked up the story where Halo 3 left off.

Following Master Chief and Cortana, players explore the 'Requiem', and fight off a new crop of enemies enemy known as the Promethean Knights. The story also focused on Cortana and presented her with human emotions, and as a victim of deteriorating mental health.

The game was a huge hit and gained a lot of loyal fans, however, the purists had a hard time appreciating the game as they couldn't relate it with the previous instalments from Bungie.

Halo: Spartan Assault

Release date: July 18, 2013
Developer: 343 Industries, Vanguard Games
Platforms: Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Windows Phone

Halo: Spartan Assault

Halo: Spartan Assault

Halo: Spartan Assault was another deviation from the main storyline and the FPS gameplay. Spartan Assault was marketed as a twin-stick shooter game with an overhead view. It was such a low-demanding game that even Windows Phone supported it, yet Microsoft had the audacity to include it as part of the main Halo series.

The game follows the story of Sarah Palmer, on planet Draetheus V, who is under attack from a rogue group of the Covenant. Palmer's job is to repel the invaders so that the remaining human forces have a chance to escape and survive.

Halo: Spartan Assault received mixed reviews. As a casual twin-shooter, it was highly acclaimed but as a main series Halo game, it was a letdown.

Halo: Spartan Strike

Release date: April 16, 2015
Developer: 343 Industries, Vanguard Games
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Windows Phone, iOS

Halo: Spartan Assault

Halo: Spartan Assault

Halo: Spartan Strike continued the series after Halo: Spartan Assault in the same fashion, a top-down shooter. The game was perhaps the biggest let down among all Halo games. Not only the top-down shooter aspect but the fact that Halo: Spartan Strike never even released on Xbox.

Halo: Spartan Strike follows the story of a Spartan-IV soldier leading UNSC forces against the Covenant in simulation.

Halo 5: Guardians

Release date: October 27, 2015
Developer: 343 Industries
Platforms: Xbox One

Halo 5: Guardians

Halo 5: Guardians

Halo 5: Guardians heralded the emergence of the Halo series from a dark era of harrowing releases. The game was the first original Halo game on Xbox One and huge selling point for the console.

The story follows the Fireteam Osiris, who are deployed on a planet controlled by the Covenant. Their task is to retrieve Dr Halsey. For the first time ever, there was no split-screen multiplayer mode in a "proper" Halo game. However, 343 Industries made up for this by launching over 20 maps and new gameplay modes. Plus, by 2015, every household that had an Xbox One had an internet connection, so the split-screen mode became kind of redundant.

Halo 5: Guardians was the second instalment of the second Halo trilogy and a redemption point for 343 Industries as they started to win over staunch Bungie loyalists.

Halo Wars 2

Release date: February 21, 2017
Developer: 343 Industries, Creative Assembly
Platforms: Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

Halo Wars 2

Halo Wars 2

Halo Wars 2 revisits the RTS instalment of Halo from 2009.

It is set 28 years after the events of the first game, on the 'Ark' from Halo 3, and revolves around the Spirit of Fire crew as they fight off another alien faction called the Banished.

Halo Infinite

Release date: TBD 2021
Developer: 343 Industries
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows

Halo Infinite

Halo Infinite

Halo Infinite is one of the most hyped, upcoming Halo titles. It's the sixth main Halo game and the last game of the second Halo Trilogy, so there's a ton of responsibility (and pressure) resting on its shoulders.

The game was originally scheduled for a November 10, 2020 release. However, 343 Industries claims that, because of the global COVID pandemic, it needed to be pushed back to some time in 2021. Some of the players have preferred to accredit the delay to the backlash that 343 and Microsoft received in response to the 8-minute gameplay demo they unveiled with the Xbox Series X.

A Still From Halo Infinite Campaign Gameplay Demo

A still from Halo infinite campaign gameplay demo

The graphics looked incredibly bland and did not shout 'next-gen' (in fact they barely shouted current gen!). With the disastrous release of Cyberpunk 2077 on last-gen consoles, some Halo fans have even urged 343 Industries to cancel the game on Xbox One.

As the conclusion to the second Halo trilogy and the first Halo game on the next generation of Xbox, Halo Infinite has a lot of responsibility resting on its shoulders. Clearly, 343 Industries does not want to mess it up.

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Tech and gaming enthusiast with a keen interest in stories. Believes that Witcher 3 is the only RPG that comes close to Fable 2, the best RPG ever made!