The Halo Franchise In Order

The Halo Franchise In Order

With the hotly anticipated release of Halo Infinite coming soon, now is a great time to take a quick run through one of our favorite video game franchises of all time - Halo. It’s a rarity these days for a series to deliver great gameplay, release after release. Fortunately for us, we’ve seen a steady stream of great Halo games for almost 20 years now! 

Many of us would have grown up on Halo, seeing the games evolve as we age. The excellent multiplayer and compelling story is something that just keeps us going back for more - evident so with the release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection on PC. 

Halo: Combat Evolved

Release Date - Xbox - November 15, 2001, Windows -  September 30, 2003, Mac OS X December 3 2003

Developer - Bungie, Gearbox Software (PC), Westlake Interactive (Mac)

Publisher - Microsoft Game Studios, MacSoft (Mac OS X)

First off, the title that started it all off. Seen as a revolutionary take on the genre at the time, Halo CE helped shape future FPS titles for years to come. The inclusion of a split-screen multiplayer was especially important to its success, quickly becoming the go-to game to play with friends.

Taking place in the 26th century, the human race clash with the Covenant, a collective of alien races. You play as the famed Master Chief and his AI Cortana, as you try to prevent the Covenant from discovering the location of Earth after crash-landing on a ringworld. We won’t spoil much more than that but the healthy dose of action and vehicular combat make this game one of the best in the series. 

Halo 2 

Release Date - November 9, 2004

Developer - Bungie

Publisher - Microsoft Game Studios

After the success of the first game, the release of Halo 2 was met with worldwide hype. Including everything that made the first game great, Halo 2 had an even more fleshed out story and competitive multiplayer mode. 

Following on from the events of the first game, players take control of the Chief again as well as the Covenant Elite, the Arbiter. This multi-viewpoint storyline sees the human race attempt to fight the Covenant from Earth as well as finding another Halo Installation.

Halo 3

Release Date - Xbox 360, September 25 2007, Xbox One - November 11 2014

Developer - Bungie

Publisher - Microsoft Game Studios

For many, Halo 3 was the main reason they opted for an Xbox 360, that was the massive pull that Halo had at the time. While this title still had the great campaign that players had grown to love, there was a massive focus on multiplayer in this title with a ranking system as well as map pack updates. 

The campaign in Halo 3 saw the Chief battle the Covenant and the might of the Flood once again. As with the previous games, there is another ring you’ll have to stop being activated as well as the discovery of the Ark, an immense structure with the ability to activate all of the Halos.

Halo Wars

Release Date - February 26, 2009

Developer - Ensemble Studios

Publisher - Microsoft Game Studios

Giving players a little bit of a break from the main series, Halo Wars was released as a real-time strategy game back in 2009. Players were able to control whole armies rather than just the might of the Master Chief in this game. 

With all the classic RTS staples such as base building, unit recruitment and a rock-paper-scissors strategy system, Halo Wars is a unique way to enjoy the world of Halo. 

This title takes place over two decades before Halo CE and covers some of the initial encounters humans had with the Covenant.

Halo 3: ODST

Release Date - Xbox 360 - September 22 2009, Windows - December 3 2019

Developer - Bungie

Publisher - Microsoft Game Studios

The Halo franchise wasn’t ready to reawaken the Master Chief just yet though, 2009 also saw the release of a standalone expansion to Halo 3’s storyline. This followed the story of Earth’s orbital drop shock troopers. 

This short but sweet addition to the Halo series saw players explore the ruined city of New Mombasa, trying to find out what happened to their missing teammates - while fending off an alien invasion at the same time of course.

Firefight mode also made its debut in this title giving up to four players the ability to fight off wave after wave of Covenant attackers. 

Halo Reach

Release Date - Xbox 360 - September 14 2010, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One (Halo: The Master Chief Collection) - December 3, 2019

Developer - Bungie

Publisher - Microsoft Game Studios

This was to be the last Bungie developed game and acted as the prequel to the original Halo trilogy. Master Chief has still yet to make a return at this point but a strong campaign and probably the best multiplayer inclusion of all the Halo games made this a fan-favorite.

In this installment, you’ll take on the role of Noble Six. Six and his squad are tasked with defending the planet Reach from the onslaught of the Covenant. If you’re familiar with the lore of Halo, you’ll likely know how this one ends, but it’s a great ride nonetheless.

Halo 4

Release Date - Xbox 360 - November 6 2012

Developer - 343 Industries

Publisher - Microsoft Studios

Now, onto the first non-Bungie game on our list. Halo 4 was developed by 343 Industries and finally sees the return of the Master Chief. This game was set up to kickstart a new trilogy but the lack of Bungie involvement saw a lot of fans disappointed in this title.

The campaign follows on from the events of Halo 3 with the Chief and Cortana exploring Requiem. New enemies called “Promethean Knights” make their first appearance in the franchise. Also, Cortana’s declining mental state into AI rampancy hints at the inevitable fate of AIs where they ultimately “think” themselves to death.

Halo: Spartan Assault

Release Date - July 18, 2013

Developer - 343 Industries, Vanguard Games

Publisher - Microsoft Studios

In another break from the norm, Halo Spartan Assault is a twin-stick shooter where players experience the game through an overhead perspective. Although it includes classic weapons and vehicles from the main series, Spartan Assault released to mixed reviews amongst fans. 

Following the story of Sarah Palmer, the campaign takes place on the planet Draetheus V as it comes under attack from a rogue group of the Covenant. You’ll work to repel the invaders, giving the remaining human forces time to escape. 

Halo: Spartan Strike

Release Date - April 16, 2015

Developer - 343 Industries, Vanguard Games

Publisher - Microsoft Studios

While we still didn’t make a return to the core Halo series, we did see a follow-up twin-stick shooter. Although this title wasn’t released on console, it is available to play on PC and mobile.

Taking place after the events of Halo 4, the story follows a Spartan IV soldier who leads UNSC forces against the Covenant in a combat simulation. You’ll also encounter a splinter faction of the Covenant as well as Promethean enemies that you’ll need to defeat. 

This is probably the least noteworthy of the Halo series but worth checking out if you enjoy top-down shooters. 

Halo 5: Guardians 

Release Date - October 27, 2015

Developer - 343 Industries

Publisher - Microsoft Studios

Seen by fans as a huge improvement over Halo 4, players take part in a multi-layered campaign which sees Fireteam Osiris deployed to a Covenant splinter controlled planet to retrieve Dr Halsey. Meanwhile, Master Chief leads his Blue Team as they attempt to secure an ONI research station. 

Although the original multiplayer disappointed fans by removing the split-screen feature, it launched with over twenty maps with the inclusion of additional maps for free. A couple of new multiplayer modes such as Arena and Warzone helped keep the experience fresh for returning fans. 

Halo Wars 2

Release Date - February 21, 2017

Developer - 343 Industries, Creative Assembly

Publisher - Microsoft Studios

Back in 2017, we saw Halo return to the well-received RTS installment of Halo Wars. As with the first tile, Halo Wars 2 is a top-down real-time strategy title that follows up on the original Halo Wars story.

Set 28 years after the events of the first game, the Spirit of Fire’s crew fights off yet another alien faction, the Banished. Set upon the same Ark that appeared in Halo 3, this Forerunner installation has now begun to repair itself, just in time for the many battles you’ll face here.

Final Word

That’s it, by now you should be well acquainted with the Halo franchise and hopefully, this list has you excited for the next release. 

What’s your favorite game out of the list? Do you prefer the newer titles or does the nostalgia of the older games still come out on top? Let us know down in the comments section below.