Let’s be honest. If you’re reading this thread, you’ve heard of Halo. It’s one of Microsoft’s flagship franchises for the Xbox. It has spawned, as of writing this, 7 main games, 5 spin-off games, 31 novels, 15 comics/graphic novels, a handful of short films, and also action figures, Lego sets, and Nerf guns. It helped popularize console online gaming, start the stereotype of the frat bro gamer, and bring esports into the mainstream with Major League Gaming (MLG).
On a personal note, Halo is also one of the things that helped me make some of my closest friends, including my co-commentators Swordfishhh and Cletus. Countless evenings and weekends were spent playing co-op and multiplayer, or searching for secrets and easter eggs. Even as we went to university and moved away to different cities, we could always get together for a few games or send each other messages speculating on what would be coming next in the series.
For this LP, we’re going to be taking a nostalgic look back on almost all of the main games with the exception of Halo: Reach. While Reach is actually one of the better campaigns in the series, I don’t like how it “fits” with the other games. If there’s interest and I still have motivation after all this is done, I may LP it on its own. I’m also going to be gearing these videos towards viewers who aren’t familiar with anything Halo, so I would ask that no one posts spoilers or any deep dives into the extended universe canon (at least until it becomes relevant to what we’re showing).
Also, you can follow me on Twitter for updates if you’re into the bird site.
Halo: Combat Evolved, also known as Halo 1 or just Halo, was released in 2001 along with the first Xbox console. It was published by the new Microsoft Game Studios and developed by Bungie, who had been acquired by Microsoft just the year before. It was absolutely the Xbox’s killer app, and one of the reasons for the console’s commercial success. A PC version of the game was released in 2003, a remastered and graphically updated version in 2011, and then re-released another 2 times in a collection on separate platforms. The game had a very strange development cycle. It originally started as a Mac exclusive real time strategy game. From there it turned into a third-person shooter, and then eventually into the first-person shooter we know today. We play as the Master Chief, a cyborg supersoldier fighting aliens in the distant future, though I assure you it’s more interesting than that synopsis makes it sound.
01 - The Pillar of Autumn
02 - Halo
03 - Truth and Reconciliation
04 - The Silent Cartographer
05 - Assault on the Control Room
06 - 343 Guilty Spark
07 - The Library
08 - Two Betrayals
XX - Warthog Jumping
09 - Keyes
10 - The Maw
XX - Alternate Warthog Run (April Fools)
Halo 2 is pretty obviously the sequel to the breakout hit Halo: Combat Evolved. Developed by Bungie and published by Microsoft Game Studios, Halo 2 was released on November 9, 2004. The sequel seeks to continue the story of the Master Chief and humanity at war with the alien Covenant, as well as the new complications from the existence of a nearly unstoppable parasitic plague, The Flood, and ancient doomsday ringworlds, the Halos.
Halo 2 is an excellent sequel in a lot of ways. Bungie managed to improve the graphics and mechanics of the original Halo, and added new characters and game elements while keeping the general formula and feel that made the first game great. With the addition of online multiplayer, Halo’s popularity further exploded and it was the most played game on Xbox Live for a full two years, and remains the best-selling game released on the first generation Xbox. However in other ways it’s a little bit of a sophmore slump, what in hockey would be called a Stanley Cup hangover. Brimming with confidence from the success of Halo 1, Bungie was maybe not as focused or disciplined as they should have been. During development a lot of work had to be scrapped and restarted from scratch, sometimes even after having been shown to the public. Several levels and the original planned ending to the game were cut in order to save time. Deadlines and release dates had to be repeatedly pushed back, to the point that eventually a Microsoft executive, Peter Moore, had “November 9” tattooed on his arm to prove that was the real release date. Still, what we ended up getting was a great game that slots very fittingly as the middle entry in a trilogy.
00 - Sgt. Johnson and the Journey Home
01 - Cairo Station
02 - Outskirts
03 - Metropolis
04 - The Arbiter
05 - Oracle
XX - Screwing Around on Earth
06 - Delta Halo
07 - Regret
XX - Humanity, the UNSC, and Spartans
08 - Sacred Icon
09 - Quarantine Zone