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Saturday, January 30

History of Halo as told by Game Informer



Game Informer has done a history of Halo. Here it is, in total, borrowed from the internet.  Halo Reach Game News is not shy from borrowing from people who know more than him about halo. Check out this one I borrowed from Halo 101




From the inception of the franchise in 2001, Halo’s fiction has only grown more complicated. Multiple games, novels, comic books, toys, animated features, and other media have created a rich tapestry of characters and storylines – but gamers new to the franchise could be forgiven if they felt a little lost at times. Without a doctorate in Halo-ology, what does a newcomer need to know?

Next week, we’ll expand our coverage with new insights into Halo: Reach to accompany our 10-page cover story in the 
February issue of the magazine. In advance of that information, we thought it wise to offer a brief introduction to Halo lore for those who may have missed out on some of the detailed fiction.

So when is Halo set?
It’s the 26th century. Humanity has been hard at work exploring and colonizing the galaxy. A discoverery called Slipspace technology allows for faster than light travel, and our species is spreading far and wide. The United Nations Space Command (UNSC) governs and protects a huge number of planets and people across the galaxy.
Who are the Spartans, and who is this Master Chief guy?
Humanity still doesn’t always get along with itself, even some five centuries into the future. Many of the outlying colonies want to rule themselves, and rebellions against the UNSC become a big problem. To combat the threat, the military creates a secret super-soldier program – the Spartans. The Spartan-I soldiers were mentally and physically augmented marines, but the subjects eventually had too many side effects from their treatments to be viable.

The
Spartan-IIs were the brainchild of Dr. Catherine Halsey, a genius human scientist who kidnapped exceptional children from their homes and prepared them from birth for the program. Training them from childhood, enhancing their abilities with genetic manipulation, and gifting them with incredibly advanced protective suits called MJOLNIR armor, the Spartan-IIs were humanity’s super-soldiers – and they proved it in countless battles, first against the human rebels, and later against the Covenant.

Master Chief is the leader of the Spartan-IIs. He’s almost always referred to by his rank. His lesser-known name is John-117: His original name (
John) combined with his number on the list of potentially viable children for the program (117).
Who or what are the Covenant?
One of two groups of “bad guys” that antagonizes humans through most of the Halo games. The Covenant is actually an organization, not a race. The collective is comprised of several alien races working together. They control a big part of the galaxy. They’re obsessed with a long-lost alien race called the Forerunners, around whom they’ve built a religion. They see humanity as a blight on those religious beliefs, and aim to destroy them.
So who are these Forerunners?
Good question. Glad you’re paying attention. The Forerunners were an alien race that was around a hundred thousand years ago, and they left behind a lot of technology. They ruled the Milky Way galaxy until an extra-galactic threat called the Flood showed up.
The Flood. Those are the other bad guys, right?
Exactly. The Flood is a parasitic lifeform that nearly wiped out the Forerunner’s advanced galactic civilization. They can infect any sentient organism and take it over. In order to combat the threat, the Forerunners were forced into a desperate gambit. They built giant weapon installations, collectively called the Halo Array, to wipe out all sentient life in the galaxy and thereby defeat the Flood. To preserve as much as they could, the Forerunners built an Ark, where they kept samplings of a huge number of species. The Ark was built far away from the Halo Array to keep the species safe. The Forerunners fired the Halo Array, starving the Flood of their food source, and then reseeded the galaxy with all the races they’d kept safe on the Ark, including humanity.
So that’s where the name of the game comes from?
Yep. In the first game, Master Chief and his allies arrive unexpectedly at one of the Halo facilities, which looks like a giant ring world. The idea that one of these Halo weapons may be fired again, thus wiping out life in the galaxy, is one of the major threats in the games.



Enough backstory. What happens in the actual plot?
Hmm. This may get a little complicated.


Bring it on. 
Alright. Here goes. So, you remember the Spartan-IIs that were created to fight the human rebels? When the Covenant start invading human-controlled territories, the Spartans turn their focus to fighting the alien collective. Despite the Spartan-IIs’ bravery, the war goes very poorly for the UNSC. Eventually, the Covenant discover the planet of Reach –which is the second most strategically important planet for humanity (behind Earth, obviously). The planet of Reach holds a huge number of military assets, and is also home base for the Spartan-IIs. The Covenant devastates the planet, and this is the battle being explored in the game Halo: Reach.


A few survivors escape, including Master Chief and an advanced artificial intelligence program named Cortana. They escape through slipstream space to an unexplored section of space, and draw the Covenant after them. They uncover one of the Halos, a place that has huge religious significance for the Covenant. All hell breaks loose. Master Chief and the other survivors from Reach battle the Covenant. The surviving Flood, trapped thousands of years earlier, escape. These parasites begin infecting everyone in sight, Covenant and human alike.


As it turns out, the Forerunners left behind a robotic monitor to guard against just such an eventuality – 343 Guilty Spark (it's not known if he understood Asimov's laws of robotics). This tiny floating robot tries to get Master Chief to activate the Halo. Of course, that means all life in the galaxy is going to get wiped out again. Bad news. So, Master Chief blows up the Halo to prevent its use.


Whew. I think I got it. 
Great! That’s the first game.


What?
Yeah. There’s more.



You’re going to have to move a little faster. I have other articles to read


Fine. Halo 2 and 3 are largely concerned with Master Chief’s adventure to prevent the destruction of Earth and humanity. The Covenant eventually finds Earth and attacks. Master Chief defends the planet, but in the battle, he and his allies are forced to escape in pursuit of a Covenant ship, which leads them to a second Halo installation. There he meets up with the Flood’s hive mind intelligence, a creature called the Gravemind.


Meanwhile, there’s trouble in the Covenant. A civil war breaks out between the different races that make up the collective. The Elites (one of the races of the Covenant) are cast out – among them is the Arbiter, a powerful Elite who ends up in a shaky alliance with Master Chief to stop the destruction of the galaxy.



Master Chief and the Arbiter return to Earth to discover a slipspace gateway to the long-lost Ark, but both the Flood and the Covenant go through as well. They pursue the bad guys into the rift, kill off the leader of the Covenant, and blow up the Ark and the Flood along with it. The heroes escape back to Earth, but Cortana and Master Chief get lost in space and don’t make it back.


Back on Earth, a tentative truce seems to form between the humans and the remaining Covenant forces.


So, what happens to Master Chief and Cortana?
Nothing. They’re lost in space, and we don’t know what happens to them yet.


Seriously?
Do you want me to keep going, or not?


Sorry. Please continue.
Thank you. But that’s pretty much it. At least for the core games.
You mean there’s more? 
Well, yeah. But I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Everything else is interesting if you’re into the storyline, but tangential to the main stuff. Here’s a couple of one sentence descriptions.


Halo Wars is about the early meetings and conflicts between the humans and the Covenants. Halo: ODST takes place between Halo 2 and 3, and deals with some soldiers who are caught up in the battle with the Covenant on Earth.
The first Halo novel, Halo: The Fall of Reach, details how the Spartan-IIs came to be and what happened to the Spartans when Reach was attacked. Another novel, called Halo: The Flood, retells the story of the first game. A third novel, Halo: First Strike, details events that transpire between the Halo 1 and 2, and deals with some other Spartan-IIs that survived Reach. A fourth novel, Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, introduces the Spartan-IIIs, the next generation of super-soldiers. The next two novels, Halo: Contact Harvest and Halo: The Cole Protocol, are both prequel stories dealing with the early years of the Human-Covenant War. There’s also a book of short stories that recently released entitled Halo: Evolutions.
Finally, a few graphic novel series are out there in the wild. Among them is Halo: Uprising, a story set between Halo 2 and 3. There’s also Halo: Helljumper, which details the story of a group of orbital drop shock troopers. There’s a comic series called Halo: Blood Line.


Isn’t there some sort of movie as well?
Yes and no. Talk surfaced a few years past about Peter Jackson and District 9 director Neil Blomkamp tackling a blockbuster movie version of Halo, but the project stalled when they couldn’t reach a satisfactory agreement with a film studio. However, there is a series of animated features, collectively known as Halo: Legends. They are worth checking out, and there’s a DVD release of all seven anime films coming to DVD in the next few weeks.

   
So, now I’m an expert?
Umm. Sure. I guess so. Except there’s all those suspected connections to the Marathon games.


You’ve got to be kidding me. 
Let’s just save that for another time.
Good idea.

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