Everything You Need To Know About Halo Timeline

by Laura C. Jones

Humanity is in danger and you are its best soldier, Masterchief. An alliance of highly advanced aliens known as the Covenant has declared a holy genocidal war against the entire human race.

This complex and expansive saga of an interstellar war with over a decade of history spans multiple high-end FPS games, books, comics, and movies, all made by 343 Industries. If you want to get in on this, here’s the gaming Halo timeline explained.

Halo Introduction

The story of Halo is really complicated, so it’s best to follow the chronological Halo timeline while playing. There are 7 canonical games, each exploring the next part of the story and a bunch of spinoffs.

The story of Halo begins in the year 2525 when humankind has developed the means to explore space and is seeking refuge on new planets. Because of a parasitic alien called the Flood, which is known for destroying multiple life forms in the universe, they must flee and find a new home.

However, a theocratic alliance of aliens known as the Covenants is not fond of humans. They have the advantage of numbers and superior technology. The leaders of the Covenant declare humans as heretics who pose great offense to their gods, the forerunners, a powerful alien race that fought the flood in the past. You are Masterchief, an elite soldier who must lead the Spartans to victory and survival in this never-ending war.

By 2021, the games have sold over 81 million copies, making it one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time, rivaling Call of Duty.

Halo Timeline

So here’s the order in which to play the main games. There are a number of spinoff games too, but if you want to progress through the story from beginning to end, these are the ones you need to play in the order given below.

#1. Halo: Wars

The story begins in the future, in the year 2525. Humanity has achieved a significantly higher level of space travel and is looking to expand into new territories. However, the Covenant sees this as an affront to the forerunners and decides to wage a Holy War.

This is the first face-off between the humans and the Covenant, on the Colony of Harvest. Mankind wins by a hair but the Covenant is far from defeated.

Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

Release Date: February 2009

Halo Timeline: 2525–2531

#2. Halo: Reach

The war on the planet Arcadia rages on for 20 years but humanity eventually gets backed into a corner. The Covenant sets their eyes on the planet Reach to destroy the human military’s stronghold and training ground for the elite class of genetically modified warriors called Spartans.

Humanity is dealt a strong blow as the Covenants massacre them with ease owing to their superior technology.

Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X and S

Release Date: September 2010

Halo Timeline: 2552

#3. Halo: Combat Evolved

This is the first Halo game ever made. However, in the storyline, it’s a little ahead. The game begins with the Pillar Of Autumn spacecraft getting attacked by the Covenant as it tries to exit slipspace.

The Covenant is after two things apparently. One, the coordinates of a ringworld called Halo, and two, the location of Earth to destroy the last remaining spartans. But humanity has a weapon — John-117, also known as Masterchief, who awakens from his cryogenic sleep and is bestowed with the powerful AI Cortana.

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows, Xbox, Xbox 360, macOS, Classic Mac OS

Release Date: November 2001

Halo Timeline: 2552

#4. Halo 2

This is the sequel game to Halo: Combat Evolved. The Covenant Elite Commander is put to trial for his failure to prevent the destruction of the Halo. He was stripped of his rank and granted the title of Arbiter as mercy.

His new role is to lead suicide missions for the prophets, and his first mission is to locate and prosecute the Rogue Elite that’s been lying to the Covenant. Meanwhile, a Covenant fleet appears on Earth right before humanity could celebrate its first victory in destroying the Halo ring.

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox, Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox Series X, and Series S

Release Date: November 2004

Halo Timeline: 2552

#5. Halo 3: ODST

This game begins directly after the events of Halo 2 level Metropolis. You play as one of the ODSTs, or Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, in the Kenyan port city of New Mombasa to explore the ruins and learn the truth of their missing teammates in the middle of an alien invasion.

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows

Release Date: 2009

Halo Timeline: 2552

#6. Halo 3

Masterchief has just arrived in Africa where he meets Johnson the Arbiter. The High Prophet of Truth is trying to activate a precarious forerunner artifact, so the Chief and his troops return to the UNSC outpost to formulate a battle plan and prevent the Covenant from realizing this mission.

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows

Release Date: September 2007

Halo Timeline: 2552

#7. Halo 4

This game begins roughly four and a half years after the events of Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST. The Masterchief has been set adrift on a spacecraft and is asleep. He is woken up by Cortana just before they’re about to get pulled into an artificial gravity well and crash lands on the Planet Requiem with hostile natives and a band of rogue Covenants closely following him.

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows

Release Date: November 2012

Halo Timeline: 2557

#8. Halo 5: Guardians

Eight months after the events of Halo 4, believe it or not, humanity has joined forces with the Covenant to help eradicate their rogue factions. It’s a troublesome common enemy that brings the worst foes together.

Platforms: Xbox One

Release Date: October 2015

Halo Timeline: 2558

#9 Halo: Wars 2

This game is a sequel to the original Halo Wars game and the events of Halo 5. Like Halo Wars 1, it’s a battlefield strategy game set in the Halo Universe to explore more details of the story unfolding and hone your skills. The game begins with the Spirit Of Fire Crew being sent to investigate a signal from the installation surface. Here they are attacked by the banished who have unexpectedly invaded the Ark.

Platforms: Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

Release Date: February 2017

Halo Timeline: 2559

#10 Halo Infinite

Halo Infinite is set to come out in 2021. Since it hasn’t been released, not much is known about it at this point. It’s supposed to be the sixth main installment of the storyline, picking up the story of Masterchief. The makers of the game promise this will be his greatest adventure yet.

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows

Release Date: 2021 (Month Unknown)

Halo Timeline: 2560

A Few Parting Words

Halo is more than just a game, it’s an experience with a mesmerizing story. And despite its fictional themes such as alien invasions and space conquests, the game can challenge your worldviews.

For new players just starting out with Halo, follow this Halo timeline for a wholesome journey. If you want to fully immerse yourself, be sure to check out all the movies and comics. They provide additional details about the game universe that makes it even more intriguing.

Featured image source: Pinterest

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