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‘Halo Wars 2’ launch trailer shows off the series’ most terrifying enemy yet

Why it matters to you

The Halo series looks like it will finally have a worthy antagonist after so-so baddies in the past few games.

The Prophet of Truth, the Sentinels, and even the Arbiter were formidable threats for Master Chief and the United Nations Space Command to confront in past Halo games, but they have nothing on Atriox. The Brute Chieftain serves as the main antagonist of this month’s Halo Wars 2, and the people of Earth seem powerless to stop him.

“His name is Atriox. The whole damn Covenant couldn’t contain him at the height of their power,” says the UNSC AI “Isabel” in the game’s launch trailer. “And all you’ve got is one old ship and half a crew to staff her.”

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Meanwhile, we see Atriox drop down into a group of Spartans, tossing them aside like playthings before sucker punching an Elite wielding an energy sword.

The crew of the UNSC Spirit of Fire has their work cut out for them, with Captain Cutter — a returning face from the original Halo Wars — in charge of stopping Atriox and his Brute rogue faction called “The Banished.” The Brutes have been largely absent from the Halo series since 2010’s Halo: Reach, as the Covenant’s threat toward Earth has been limited, with the Forerunners serving as the main antagonists in both Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians.

“Run … little demon,” Atriox mutters as he laughs with a classic villainous tone.

“Demon” has typically been a name reserved for the Master Chief, who weaker Grunts run from on a regular basis, but Atriox could be using the term to refer to other Spartans.

Though a Halo 6 is likely still a year or so away, Halo Wars 2 takes place right after the events of Halo 5, making it a must-play for dedicated fans. As with Halo 2: Anniversary, its cinematics are being handled by the talented team at Blur Studio, while acclaimed strategy developer Creative Assembly and 343 Industries are responsible for the rest of the game.

Halo Wars 2 is out for Xbox One and PC on February 21, with the “Ultimate Edition” granting you access on February 17. It’s part of the Xbox Play Anywhere program, giving digital purchasers access to the game on both Xbox One and PC. Over the course of the game’s most recent beta period, players logged more than 796,000 hours of playtime and competed in more than 3 million Blitz Mode matches.