Halo is the first game series that comes to mind when we think of an XBOX exclusive franchise. It is a military-based first-person shooter that is heavily based on science fiction. Though the game has been taken over by 343 Industries, it remains to hold the plot of the original series that was first released by Bungie.
The franchise mostly showcases the story of a supersoldier spartan who goes by the name of Master Chief John-117 and his AI assistant, Cortana as they try to go against a species known as the Covenant. While all this does sound interesting, the franchise itself is quite tricky to start with as a beginner especially considering that it had 2 games released within the same year.
In this article, we will be listing down all the Halo games in chronological order of release and how one should go about playing them as per the progression of the plot as well.
Table of Contents
Best Chronological Order Of Playing The Halo Franchise On XBOX
1. Halo: Combat Evolved (2001)
Released in November 2001, Halo: Combat Evolved is the first installment in the franchise. It was playable on the original XBOX console, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS X. It kickstarted the story of the protagonist and his battle against The Covenant as the player assumes the role of the Master Chief.
The game was a huge success for Microsoft as it saw new highs in the field of console gaming. On the game’s 10th year of launch, a high-definition version with remastered graphics was released for the XBOX 360 which was again appreciated by many. The most liked feature of this game was the split-screen mode wherein two players could play the first-person shooter on the same monitor.
2. Halo 2 (2004)
The second installment in the franchise, Halo 2 broke several records upon its release. It was initially released for the original XBOX but saw releases for other platforms such as XBOX One and Microsoft Windows.
It came out in November 2004 and earned $125 million on the first day of release. But its hype continued for plenty of days ahead as it became the highest-grossing game for the original XBOX console. While the story mode itself was a huge success, many fans enjoyed the multiplayer aspect of it to the point that its servers were loaded even after the release of future installments.
3. Halo 3 (2007)
Halo 3 came out around the same time Microsoft released its XBOX 360 console. Going by how popular the franchise had become at this point, the company heavily emphasized marketing this video game as it became the selling point of the console itself.
As for the gameplay aspect of things, the story that begun in the first installment of the game saw its conclusion despite being rather short compared to its predecessors. However, that was understandable since Bungie focused on the multiplayer features of the game with larger maps and a variety of combat techniques. Just like Halo 2, this game broke financial records as well as grossed over $170 million on the first day of release. In November 2014, the game was re-released for XBOX One as part of the Master Chief Collection.
4. Halo Wars (2009)
As the story had been concluded in the previous installment, Halo Wars was more of an experiment and relied on the “Halo” name to generate sales. The game also switched developers at this point as 343 Industries took charge and decided to switch genres for this game. This was the first time the franchise saw itself become a real-time strategy (RTS) game instead of the original first-person shooter (FPS) format.
At this point, Microsoft was heavily marking its motion capture features on the XBOX 360 which Halo Wars depicted quite well. As for the story itself, the game was set in the year 2531, 21 years before the events of the first installment, Halo: Combat Evolved. Though this game was more of an experiment, it is quite fun to play and unique from the original FPS series. Beginners who are just getting into the Halo franchise can even start with this game if they want to.
5. Halo 3: ODST (2009)
While 343 Industries were assigned to develop Halo Wars, Bungie continued to work on their first-person shooter format of the Halo franchise. This saw the release of another Halo game in the year 2009 in the form of Halo 3: ODST.
While the name of the game states Halo 3, the plot is set during the events of Halo 2 as the player assumes the roles of United Nations Space Command soldiers known as ODST. This was another game where the fan-favorite Master Chief wasn’t a part of. Instead, the franchise focused on the ODST as they explored the ruined city of New Mombasa.
6. Halo: Reach (2010)
As the decade of the 2000s came to an end, so did Bungie’s partnership with Microsoft as we saw Halo: Reach (2010) become the final Halo game to be ever developed by the American video game company.
The plot was set in 2552 and was stated to be a direct prequel to Halo: Combat Evolved. Here, players control Noble Six, an elite supersoldier squad as they try to battle it out against the Covenant. In December 2019, the game was re-released as part of the Master Chief Collection.
7. Halo 4 (2012)
After a chaotic few years for the Halo franchise, the plot finally moved ahead as we saw the returns of the popular Master Chief and Cortana. The player reassumes the role of Master Chief as he battles out against a new faction that splintered off members of the Covenant.
Despite the change in developers, the return of Master Chief allowed this game to gross impressively as we saw a $220 million sales figure on the first day of release.
8. Halo 5: Guardians (2015)
Released as a direct sequel to Halo 4, Halo 5: Guardians came out with a plethora of improvements in its single-player campaign. Though we weren’t back to the heights set by the original trilogy, it was quite fun to play due to its motion capture abilities. As for the multiplayer side of things though, this game disappointed the masses as 343 Industries decided to remove the split-screen feature from the franchise.
The game consists of two fireteams, the Blue team, led by Master Chief, and Fireteam Osiris, led by Spartan Locke. As the former goes missing, Fireteam Osiris tries to retrieve them back. While the story was unique and fun, it has mixed opinions due to its ending and a short length. As of now, we are still awaiting a sequel for this game which has been announced as Halo Infinite and is set to release in the 3rd quarter of 2021.
9. Halo Wars 2 (2017)
In 2017, 343 Industries partnered with Creative Assembly and released a real-time strategy (RTS) game, Halo Wars 2 in the franchise for the second time. Set in the year 2559, it was a sequel to the first Halo Wars game by name and plot.
This game is one of the most science-fiction-based Halo games of all time as it heavily focuses on automation and outposts. The primary objective of the player in this game is to destroy the outposts of the enemy and capture territories on the battlefield. Overall, a fun game to play while you wait for Halo Infinite.
10. Halo Infinite (2021)
Set to be the final installment in the trilogy started in Halo 4, Halo Infinite remains to be one of the most hyped Halo games of all time. It will see the return of the dynamic duo of the Master Chief and his AI assistant, Cortana as they’ll continue to fight their way against the Covenant.
Unlike Halo 5: Guardians where the plot is focused on Fireteam Osiris as they try to find the fireteam led by Master Chief, this game is set to be more human. Master Chief is also set to be the focal point of the game as he’ll try to save humanity from the alien race. The game is set to be released for the new XBOX One X and S consoles while also being playable for XBOX One and Microsoft Windows.
The Halo franchise on XBOX has broken several sales figures over the years and continues to carry on its legacy even today. What we like the most about the series that the developers don’t stand back from experimenting every now and then.
Not to mention how well they manage to make the multiplayer aspect of things. Ever since the release of Halo Infinite’s trailer, many gamers have switched back to the franchise while new-age gamers have also caught attention to it. If you’re also thinking of playing Halo games on XBOX, our list shall certainly help you on how to go about things.