Today in gaming history, Halo 2 graced the Xbox system. Still developed by Bungie before 343 Industries stepped in, the 2004 first-person shooter was hailed for being an amazing experience for those looking to game solo or with friends. Now online support has ceased, but the game still offers a strong single-player experience.
Making its debut in 2004 on November 9th, Master Chief and Cortana returned yet again for another adventure to prevent the oncoming slaughter by the Covenant. Not only were players able to revisit what it was like to step into Master Chief's boots, but they were able to see yet another perspective through one of the Covenant Elite.
"After the events of Halo: Combat Evolved, Master Chief and Cortana return to Earth in an attempt to stop the onslaught of the Covenant, a terrifying and aggressive alien civilization, bent on destroying the human race.
Developed by Bungie, Halo 2 sees the player not only resuming the role of the Master Chief, humanity’s best defense against the unyielding Covenant forces, but also assuming the identity of the Covenant Elite known as the Arbiter. Players wield dual weapons, employ previously undiscovered Covenant armaments, and pilot new vehicles as they battle intelligent enemy AI and all-new alien opponents in exotic environments."
Halo 2 was one of those titles that was ground-breaking during the era of its release. Many gamers have stated that it is one of those stories that helped define the first person shooter genre and paved the way for those that came after it. Not only was the co-op experience an enjoyable one, but the stunning story of Spartan John 117 also stood on its own for a viable reason to love the Halo franchise.
There have been several titles since its initial release, though the feel of the franchise did evolve into a different direction once Microsoft shifted the focus into a newly realised internal division known as 343 Industries back in 2007. Once Bungie and Microsoft split, Halo 4 marked the turn of a franchise under this new direction - though it continues to be a strong exclusive for the Microsoft platform.
There were a few spin-offs from the Halo-verse, like that of the popular Halo Wars series, but there were also a few of those projects that never made it off the ground. Here is just a generalised timeline of the side projects that you might not remember:
- Alternate realities games used to promote the Halo franchise:
- The Cortana Letters
- I love Bees
- Cancelled spin-offs:
- Rumored Game Boy Advance Halo title back in 2004
- Rumored handheld Halo title for the Gizmondo handheld in 2005, though it was later denied
- A 2006 Ultra-Mobile PC title was also in the works, mostly for promotional purposes
- Halo DS
- Halo: Chronicles episodic adventure series in 2006, eventually cancelled in 2009
- Titan Project in 2007
- Halo Online cancelled in 2016 after a failed beta period
Who knows what's in store for the Halo franchise. With several books, comics, movies, and other medias inspired by this iconic franchise - it doesn't look like Microsoft will be giving up on their golden child any time soon. Until then - here's to you, Halo 2!