For those who lived through it, it can be hard to think that we first set foot on the titular Halo ring over two decades ago now, and yet the fanbase for this game has only grown as the series has gone on. Despite dropping the number, Halo Infinite is technically the sixth game in the mainline series, but there are even more spinoff games, and even more expanded media outside of games.
While the lore of Halo spans literally thousands, if not millions, of years, you don’t have to go back to the very beginning to understand what is going on with the Master Chief. However, new fans, or older fans who have been waiting for this game a very long time, may not be familiar with all the adventures of our favorite Spartan II. If you need a refresher on the events that brings you fully up to date, here’s the entire story of Halo so far.
Spoiler alert: It should be obvious considering the nature of this article, but yes, we’re spoiling just about all the Halo games’ plots ahead. That includes Halo Wars, Halo: Reach, Halo: Combat Evolved: Halo 2, Halo: ODST, Halo 3, Halo 4, Halo 5: Guardians, Halo Wars 2, and Halo Infinite. Read on prepared to have those games spoiled if you haven’t played them.
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Halo Wars was, and still kind of is, one of the black sheep of the Halo franchise. It’s an RTS, not FPS, doesn’t feature Master Chief, and there isn’t even a mention of a Halo. So, why is it important? Well, it sets up the entire conflict of the first several games, and characters here will actually swing back around and become very important in setting up what’s going on in Halo Infinite.
Set in 2532, which is six years into humanity’s war with the Covenant and 20 years before Halo: Combat Evolved, the game follows the commander of the UNSC warship Spirit of Fire, Captain James Cutter, who is engaged in battle on the planet Harvest where they have been ordered to investigate the Covenant that have set up bases there. As it turns out, the Covenant, under the command of an Arbiter (not to be confused with the Arbiter from Halo 2), have been digging out ancient Forerunner technology under the surface. The human forces defeat the Covenant at the dig site and discover that the tech was actually a map that would lead the Covenant to another human-occupied planet known as Arcadia.
The crew of the Spirit of Fire proceed to Arcadia, chasing after the Covenant, and attempt to fight off the alien threat while evacuations are made. The defense is successful, but the Arbiter does manage to kidnap Ellen Anders, the Spirit of Fire’s scientist and Forerunner expert. The crew gets back aboard their ship and chases after the Arbiter to an undiscovered planet. Here humanity first encounters a threat even greater than the Covenant, the Flood. But they also learn that the planet itself is hollow, and within the shell is a small sun. The Covenant plan on activating a hidden fleet of Forerunner ships within this planet as a secret weapon to finally win the war against humanity.
Anders manages to escape while the Covenant are activating the Forerunner ships, and the crew decides to try and obliterate the new fleet before the Covenant can escape with it by removing and overloading their own faster-than-light engine within the miniature sun to cause it to go supernova. The crew kill the Arbiter and his team attempting to stop them, but the engine was damaged and can no longer be detonated remotely. Forge, the ship’s Sergeant, stays behind to manually detonate the engine as the Spirit of Fire escapes. However, no longer being able to travel at faster-than-light speeds, the crew has no choice but to enter cryo sleep until they are rescued.
Twenty-one years later, the Covenant are still advancing on humanity, wiping out nearly every colony we have, and have just discovered one of humanity’s strongest military outposts, Reach. The important thing about this planet you need to know beforehand is that this is where the Spartan program was born, producing the genetically modified super soldiers like the Master Chief, who won’t be making an appearance just yet. Master Chief is a Spartan II, while the main characters of Reach are Spartan IIIs, which are slightly-less-super super-soldiers, but easier to make.
Noble Six is the newest Spartan addition to Noble Team, a squad of Spartan IIIs stationed on Reach just before the Covenant ambush the planet. While on a mission to check up on a comms relay, they find that the Covenant have found and are invading Reach and are immediately put to work defending Sword Base. Sword Base is where Dr. Halsey, creator of the Spartan program, is stationed. After rescuing Halsey, the team is sent on various missions across Reach to try and repel the Covenant forces, including the assault on a Covenant supercarrier in space. As the team goes on more missions, more members of Noble Team begin to fall, and it becomes more and more clear that Reach can’t be saved.
Noble Team is eventually directed to go back to Sword Base by Halsey to retrieve an artifact she has that she insists is the key to winning the entire Covenant war. Spoiler alert, it kind of is. This artifact turns out to be the A.I. Cortana, which they need to bring to the ship the Pillar of Autumn to be taken off of Reach. More of Noble Team are granted noble (get it?) deaths as they fight their way to the shipyard. Eventually, only Noble Six remains to deliver Cortana to Captain Keyes of the Pillar of Autumn. Noble Six is forced to stay behind, however, and use a massive turret to cover the Autumn’s escape. Noble Six is eventually overwhelmed and dies on Reach.
Halo: Combat Evolved
Taking place directly after Halo: Reach, we finally meet our main protagonist of the series, Master Chief, as he is woken up aboard the Pillar of Autumn. Keyes used Cortana to pilot the ship through slipspace, arriving near the titular ringed structure we will come to know as Halo. Unfortunately, the Covenant were not far behind, attacking the ship and forcing Master Chief to team up with Cortana and evacuate onto the Halo’s surface.
After a hot landing, Chief and Cortana round up as many survivors as possible in an attempt to survive the still-pursuing Covenant forces. They soon learn that Keyes has been taken captive, so they launch a rescue mission, learning the name of Halo and that the Covenant think it is some kind of Forerunner weapon. Not knowing what, or how, it could be used, they unanimously agree that it would be better not to find out. While Keyes goes looking for weapons, Chief and Cortana head to the control room. After accessing the computers here, Cortana discovers that something sinister is hiding on the ring and urges Chief to go find Keyes.
Here the Flood finally shows up again, canonically anyway. This parasitic hivemind infects any sentient life, assimilating it into their own ranks with rapid efficiency. The Flood, now loose on Halo, awaken another important character, 343 Guilty Spark, who is an A.I. in charge of maintaining Halo. He (or they?) insist that Master Chief turn on Halo’s defense system to contain the Flood, which poses a massive threat to the entire galaxy if it escapes. That makes sense, but Cortana realizes in the nick of time that the so-called defense systems Spark intends for Master Chief to activate will actually kill off all sentient life in the galaxy, and not the Flood. Basically, it would only end up killing the Flood because it wouldn’t have any sentient life left to feed on. Not a good deal, really.
Instead, Chief and Cortana just decide it would be better to blow the whole thing up, which they could do by overloading the Pillar of Autumn’s reactors. The only problem is that Keyes is the only one with the ship’s activation codes. They track down the Captain, who had been absorbed by the Flood, and get the codes off him. Triggering the Autumn to explode, Chief and Cortana make a thrilling escape, avoiding Flood and Covenant forces, and manage to board a ship and make it away from the massive explosion. Unknown to them at the time, Guilty Spark also managed to survive the Halo’s destruction.
You know that one elite from Halo: Combat Evolved? The one that was apparently in charge of stopping you from blowing up their holy superweapon? No? Doesn’t matter, he was there the whole time, trust us. Anyway, he’s not doing so good since the leaders of the Covenant blame him for, you know, the whole blown-up Halo thing. Instead of killing him, though, they make him the next Arbiter. Meanwhile, Master Chief is given a fancy medal for blowing up Halo back on the main fleet orbiting Earth.
We also learn a lot more about how the Covenant work, such as their three leaders being the High Prophets of Truth, Regret, and Mercy, plus a new race called the Brutes that fill their ranks. All you really need to know about them is that they worship anything made by the Forerunners, and specifically believe that activating Halo is the way to achieve salvation through a “great journey.” But, since it turns out humanity are the only ones who can actually activate Halos, these Prophets decide to wipe us all out to cover up the fact that their “religion” isn’t as airtight as they thought and come up with the scheme to go to war with us.
For the first time, this game is split into two halves: One following our old buddy Master Chief and Cortana, and the other the Arbiter. The Arbiter is given the most dangerous missions the Prophets can come up with for him, and Chief, well, does his Chief thing.
Arbiter’s first mission is to put down a group of heretics that question the Covenant’s beliefs and claim the Prophets are just big liars, who actually turn out to be totally correct. The Arbiter is still blindly loyal to the Covenant, though, and carries out his mission to kill the heretic, who learned the truth from a certain A.I. 343 Guilty Spark somehow wound up with this guy, filling him in on what Halo is really for, but is now held captive by a Brute captain.
Back on, or rather orbiting, Earth, Chief’s party is crashed when the Covenant show up. That’s a big problem because, prior to that moment, they didn’t know where Earth even was. Chief takes Cortana again and mounts a defense, ending with him riding a Covenant bomb out into space, shoving it into a Covenant ship, and landing back on a human ship that takes him down to the surface. So, yeah, he’s a super-soldier.
The Covenant, led by the Prophet of Regret, have broken through and managed to land in the city of New Mombasa. Chief joins the fight, and humanity actually appears to be winning the fight for once. That all changes when Regret decides to bail using his slipspace drive … while still inside the city, causing massive damage. Getting on a new ship, In Amber Clad, along with Keyes’ daughter Commander Miranda Keyes, Chief pursues the Prophet through space where they find … another Halo!? Halo 2, or as they call it Delta Halo, is actually installation 05 out of a total of seven Halo rings total. They all do the same thing, though, and therefore can’t fall into Covenant hands.
The Prophet alerts the main Covenant force about this new Halo, which isn’t good, so Chief rushes after him. He corners the Prophet in an underwater lab of some kind, jumps on his floating chair thing, and punches him to death. Before he can celebrate, though, the Covenant fleet start blowing up everything and Chief is knocked out, only to be dragged deep into the Halo’s waters by a mysterious tentacle.
As it turns out, killing a Prophet was a big deal for the Covenant, who decide that the Brutes are a smarter choice than the Elites to be their guards. Despite the fact that you can tell that’s a bad move just by the names of these races, they go ahead and totally humiliate the entire Elite race in front of everyone. Anyway, our old pal the Arbiter is on another mission while all this is going down, this time to get the index for Delta Halo, which is basically the key to making it fire. Our other old, and new, pals, Keyes and Sgt. Johnson, are also trying to get the index, but are stopped by the Arbiter. The Brute chieftain shows up at this point, all too smug about the Prophets’ promoting the Brutes, and reveals that they’re basically wiping out all of the Elites now and knocks Arbiter off a cliff.
Through Halo and Flood magic, both Arbiter and Chief end up in the same place: The hands of the Gravemind. Gravemind is the main, disgusting, plant-looking brain of the Flood, basically. He tells Arbiter the truth about the so-called “great journey” and how it’s just bad for everyone involved. At least temporarily, the Flood, humans, and Elites all agree to focus on not letting the Halo fire and kill everyone and everything. Gravemind uses his powers of teleportation, we guess, to send Arbiter near the control room to stop the Brutes from activating the ring, and Chief onto the Covenant’s main ship, High Charity.
Things on High Charity are a bit stressed, what with the whole civil war breaking out between Elites and Brutes. Oh, and a Flood-infested ship crashes into it too, just to make things even more interesting. The Prophet of Mercy is eaten by the Flood, leaving only Truth as the sole leader of the Covenant. He sends the big bad Brute leader, along with Keyes and Johnson, down to the control room on Halo to set the ring off. Chief and Cortana have to split up, with Cortana staying behind to blow up High Charity, and Halo with it, just in case the ring is activated. Master Chief boards the weird triangle ship Truth is escaping on.
On Delta Halo, the Arbiter and Johnsen team up to try and rescue Keyes, who is being used as a key (get it?) by the Brutes to activate the ring. For whatever reason, Arbiter thinks he can talk sense into the Brute chieftain, which obviously fails, and he starts up the Halo. Johnson and Arbiter have to kill the Brute and manage to turn off the Halo just in time, but because it was activated in the first place, it, and all the other Halos, are put in a kind of standby mode. Guilty Spark tells them that this means they can ALL be turned on at once from one location known as The Ark.
Chief, still on Truth’s triangle ship, arrives back on Earth where, if you forgot, an invasion is still going on. He radios the Admiral who asks him what the heck he’s doing on an alien spaceship. Chief delivers probably the biggest tease possible before a game’s credits: “Finishing this fight.” Well, he will finish the fight, but not for a couple more years. After the credits, though, we see that Cortana makes a new friend in the Gravemind who shows up to pass the time talking with each other. Not a very smart move for an A.I.
Side story time. We’ll keep this brief since it’s a pretty short game for one, but also the fact that there are only a few key things here you need to know for the rest of the series. ODSTs, or orbital drop shock troopers, are one step above basic infantry in the UNSC. They drop from orbit in metal pods to wherever they need to be and, you know, fight the aliens.
Halo: ODST takes place on New Mombasa during Halo 2. Remember when we mentioned how Regret went into slipspace while inside the city and how bad that was? Well, this game basically shows you that. You play as an unnamed ODST rookie, just called Rookie, and a squad of ODSTs led by Buck. Buck’s the important one here, by the way. You’re dropped into New Mombasa to fight the invasion when the slipspace thing happens and massive chaos ensues.
Anyway, you go through various missions trying to save the city, playing as each member of the squad, but nothing really of consequence happens until the end. You find a new race in the Covenant called Engineers, which are basically just slaves that don’t want to be in their cult at all, one of which you rescue and learn all about the Covenant’s plans from. Turns out, there’s a reason they picked New Mombasa to invade. There’s some sort of Forerunner artifact buried there that they really, really want. What that is, we’ll learn in Halo 3.
Back on track, it’s time to finish the fight! Master Chief crash lands on Africa. And when we say he crash lands, we mean he. Not the ship he’s on, but him as a person. Yeah, don’t worry about what happened while he was on Truth’s ship. If you are worried, there’s a comic book that goes over that, but we’re not interested in books with nerd words in them. We stick to the video games.
Anyway, Johnson and the Arbiter, who’re totally pals now, rescue Chief. It only takes, like, one sentence for Chief to be convinced that the Elites are on the human’s side now, despite spending two entire games shooting every single one he’s seen. Whatever, now a team, Chief and Arbiter regroup with Keyes to figure out how they’re going to stop Truth from scorching the Earth so hard it turns to glass and turning on whatever artifact they’ve been digging up since Halo: ODST. The plan is basically: Shoot them with all their ships.
It doesn’t work out. Truth uses that triangle ship we’ve mentioned a few times to activate the thing they’ve been digging to create a portal straight to The Ark and takes off through it. Then, suddenly, the Flood! A Covenant ship just kind of shows up and crashes into Earth. Considering it is totally overrun with Flood, that’s a big problem that needs to be dealt with before following Truth. Plus, Chief would really like Cortana back, too, and fights his way to the ship, with the help of Elites, to find a message she left for him there. After that, there’s nothing left to do but follow Truth through the portal.
Humans and Elite ships arrive in space above The Ark, plus Guilty Spark is back because … why not we guess. This thing is really, really far away from Earth. Like, outside our galaxy far, for safety. Truth is on his way to try and fire all the Halos at once, the Elites start a space war with the Covenant fleet, the Flood arrive on High Charity to start infecting The Ark, and Chief, Johnson, and Arbiter go down there to try and stop Truth. This was kind of another bad plan, since Truth wouldn’t have been able to activate The Ark himself, but manages to capture Johnson and is going to make him do it. Keyes tries to rescue him, but ends up getting herself shot before she can save or kill Johnson.
Truth actually manages to do it and use Johnson to start up every Halo in the galaxy. Gravemind is really pissed and teams up with Chief and Arbiter to help them stop Truth, which they do. Arbiter kills Truth and The Ark is turned off. Yay! But wait, don’t celebrate too soon, because seconds later Gravemind breaks their truce and attacks. They make it out of there, finally rescuing Cortana in the process, but also learn that the original Halo, the one they blew up in the first game, was actually brought to The Ark to be repaired. Guilty Spark is totally stoked about that since he had no purpose other than taking care of that ring. He’s far less stoked when Chief plans to turn the ring on, before it’s repaired, so that it self-destructs and blows itself, and The Ark, up.
As Chief, Arbiter, and Johnson are about to set this plan off, Spark goes full-on HAL on them and lasers a hole through Johnson, killing him. Chief kills the annoying eyeball bot, says bye to Johnson, and activates the ring. He and Arbiter make another nail-biting escape across the Halo as it’s breaking apart, jumping into the bay of the ship Forward Unto Dawn. Arbiter heads up to the front of the ship while Chief puts Cortana in a terminal thing in the back. They take off as The Ark starts blowing up, heading for the portal before it collapses. Only the front part of the ship actually made it through the portal before it closed, leaving Chief, who we guess just wanted to ride in the back, stranded in half a ship.
With nothing else to do, and being so far away from Earth that rescue would take a really, really long time, Chief settles down for a nice, relaxing rest in cryosleep. His final words, at least until the next game, are simply, “Wake me when you need me.”
If Chief was talking to Microsoft when he said those last lines before freezing himself, then they needed him right away. As soon as Bungie was done with the series, Microsoft had 343 Industries, named after the evil robot who killed Johnson if you recall, spin up a sequel. Being the first non-Bungie game, and having basically everything resolved by the end of Halo 3, Halo 4 is a bit of a wild ride from a story perspective.
We pick back up with Chief, who is in actuality woken back up by Cortana because their ship, or half a ship, is being invaded by remnants of the surviving Covenant. This includes Elites again, but don’t think too hard about that. There’s probably a book or radio show that explains it. Anyway, they’ve also drifted toward a mysterious planet. But wait, that’s no planet. It’s actually a thing called a shield world named Requiem. Chief gets his bearings again, killing some familiar aliens to get warmed up, as the ship is pulled down inside of Requiem. There’s some more Covenant here, but also a new enemy type called Prometheans. Prometheans were basically soldiers of the Forerunners from way back in the day and were based on Requiem.
While checking out the new place, Cortana starts acting kind of weird. It turns out she’s hit the ripe old age of seven, which is when A.I. start to go through a thing called Rampancy. We hope you’re used to all these proper nouns because this game throws a ton of them at us. Rampancy, basically, is a thing that happens to every A.I. eventually that makes them want to acquire godlike power, and also start to resent their creators. Not a good combo. Because he’s developed a weird crush on what has basically just been his talking navigation app, Chief promises to get Cortana back to Dr. Halsey (remember her?) to fix her.
In a not at all contrived twist of fate, the UNSC Infinity, a ship that was following the distress signal Cortana put out at the end of Halo 3, arrives at Requiem. Cortana wants to tell them to not get close to the non-planet because it will suck the ship in and crash it, but she can’t get a message out to them. She directs Chief to destroy some technology she thinks are radio jammers. Chief does what he does best, but Cortana was super wrong about what she thought she was having Chief disable. Instead of jammers, they were actually holding a dude called the Didact prisoner. The Didact, an actual Forerunner and leader of the Prometheans, decides basically on the spot that humans aren’t worthy of the Mantle of Responsibility. The Mantle of Responsibility is kind of complicated, but whatever race has it is generally supposed to look after all life in the galaxy. The Forerunners passed it on to humans when they wiped themselves out with the Halos when they were about to be killed by the Flood, and it’s also the reason only humans can activate the Halos.
So, after all that, the Infinity still ends up crash landing on Requiem, and the Didact just kind of takes control of the Covenant and his Prometheans. Chief goes and meets up with the Infinity’s captain, Rio, to figure out what to do. Chief and Cortana want to kill the Didact, but Rio orders them to turn off the gravity so they can fly away like cowards. Being the boy scout he is, Chief obeys and goes to deactivate Requiem’s gravity. On the way, though, the Librarian, wife of the Didact, starts talking to him. Or maybe talking at him is the better way of describing it, because she drives an entire dump truck of exposition into the game.
Long story short, the Forerunners were losing to the Flood way in the past. The Didact discovered that he could use a thing called a Composer to turn living creatures into Prometheans that were immune to the Flood, and started using it on ancient humans against their will to make an army. The Librarian wasn’t about that and trapped the Didact until you let him out. She then casts a magic spell on the Chief — not really, but it might as well have been — that makes him immune to the Composer. We warned you about all these proper nouns, remember?
Moving on, Chief breaks the gravity device and Rio wants to escape back to Earth. Chief, for probably the first time ever, disobeys an order when he’s told to give up Cortana, who is going noticeably crazy. The two escape and decide to go attack the Didact, who is preparing to leave Requiem too, now that the gravity thing isn’t preventing him from leaving either. They don’t manage to stop him in time, though, and have to chase him to … another Halo. This time it’s number 3, if you care, which is where the Didact left the Composer. He picks it up and tests it out on a nearby station filled with people, turning them all into Prometheans.
The Didact’s next target is Earth itself. Chief, with help from the Infinity, makes it onto the Didact’s ship with an actual nuke. Cortana utilizes her broken mind by injecting herself into the Didact’s ship and overloading it to basically disable it. Chief manages to beat the Didact, not killing him but knocking him into some portal thing, but the Composer is already activated. With no other choice, he punches the nuke — that’s right punches it — to destroy the Composer. Somehow, despite punching the nuke, Cortana is able to shield Chief from the explosion by sacrificing herself.
That’s where the campaign ends, but not the story. Halo 4 had an … interesting way of extending the story over time through a mode called Spartan Ops. These missions take place six months after Halo 4 and follow a team of Spartan IV’s deal with the Covenant faction and Prometheans still on Requiem who are up to no good. There’s a lot of filler here, so we’ll crunch it down as best we can.
Your team finds an artifact that you need Halsey to figure out. She starts getting emails from someone who turns out to be the leader of the new Covenant, who also kidnaps another scientist to try and work on a different artifact that they think is holding the Librarian. She wants to make a deal with the Covenant since she wants to free the Librarian too, and lets the Covenant come and capture her. The crew of Infinity is ordered to kill Halsey, but your team is ordered to rescue her instead.
Halsey actually manages to talk to the Librarian and gets two pieces of a thing called the Janus Key (oh god, more proper nouns!), which is a map showing where every Forerunner artifact in the galaxy is. The Covenant take half of this key as soon as she gets it, but Halsey is able to get the other half to your team before the Covenant take her away again. They set Requiem on a collision course with the sun, because we guess they can make it do that, and everyone bails. So, Halsey ends up with the Covenant with one half of the key, while the Infinity has the other half.
Halo 5: Guardians
Two months later, or eight months after the original ending of Halo 4, we once again get a split campaign like Halo 2. Unlike Halo 2, though, this is not an even split, either in terms of length or quality. On one hand, we have the Master Chief and Blue Team, which was his old squad of Spartan IIs from the books, and thus mean nothing to us since they’ve never even been mentioned in the games. On the other, we have Osiris, all Spartan IVs with even more people we don’t know. They’re lead by a dude named Locke, and bring back Buck, who has been promoted from ODST to Spartan IV. There are two others but they’re not important.
So, what did we mean when we said it wasn’t an even split, you know, aside from the quality remark? Well, Halo 5: Guardians has a total of 15 missions. Guess how many of those you play as Master Chief, who you might remember as the main character of the Halo franchise. Three. The answer is three missions. Only a fifth of Halo 5: Guardians is you actually playing as Master Chief. But we’re just here for the story, which has enough ground to cover without going into the other issues this game has, so let’s dive into that ball of wax.
The game opens with Osiris heading to a planet called Kamchatka where the new Covenant is holding Halsey. They’re easily able to rescue her and kill the Covenant leader, but Halsey warns them that way bigger problems are about to show up.
Meanwhile, Master Chief and his crew are doing … something on a research station. It doesn’t matter all that much since they have to blow up the station once the Covenant show up. While this is going on, Chief gets a message from Cortana telling him to go to a planet called Meridian. Even though his team is told to go back to the Infinity, they all decide that listening to an insane A.I. is a better idea and go AWOL. That prompts the Infinity to send Osiris after Blue Team to try and capture them, which I’m sure everyone thought would go very well.
Osiris follows Blue Team to Meridian where more Prometheans are ready to throw down, including a new threat named the Warden Eternal. This dude is Cortana’s bodyguard and never stays down for long. Osiris does actually catch up to Blue Team, where Locke tries to throw hands with Chief in an embarrassing display of botched choreography. Chief ends up winning their slap fight and escapes on a thing called a Guardian (not to be confused with Guardians from the Destiny games). It takes Chief to another planet, Genesis, where Cortana is. She claims her rampancy was magically cured by some Forerunner tech. Sounds totally legit to us.
Needing a Guardian of their own to follow Blue Team, Osiris goes to the Elite home planet where one is. The only problem is that the entire planet is in a civil war between the last of the new Covenant forces and the Arbiter and the actually chill Elites. They help out with the war a bit, at least just enough to get to the Guardian and use it to go to Genesis. There they meet a new A.I., Exuberant Witness, who wants to help them stop Cortana.
The two squads meet up once again, and they all learn that Cortana’s plan is to use the Guardians to force every culture in the galaxy to give up their weapons under threat of, well, obliteration basically. Even Chief realizes this ain’t it and tries to talk her out of it, but that just pisses her off and she locks Blue Team up in a space jail. While she’s doing that, Osiris sneakily manages to get Exuberant Witness back in control of the planet and is able to take control of their cell before Cortana escapes on a Guardian.
Cortana begins rampaging across the galaxy, recruiting all the A.I. she comes across. The Infinity starts doing slipspace jumps at random to get away from her, and eventually everyone meets back up on the Elite world, including Infinity, Osiris, Blue Team, the Arbiter, and Halsey, to figure out what they’re going to do.
Halo Wars 2
We’re almost there, folks, just one more RTS game that actually ties in a lot with what’s going on in Halo Infinite. So, remember the Spirit of Fire? Yeah, that ship ends up at the Ark 28 years later when they wake up, and just after Halo 5. They get a signal from the station and head down to check it out. Turns out a military base set up there came under attack from a group called the Banished. The Banished are described as a mercenary group that also broke off from the Covenant, but not the same as the group we’ve been fighting in the other games. The main difference is that this group is lead by Brutes, not Elites.
Anyway, the crew snag an A.I. and get the heck out of there. This A.I. tells them the whole story of the Banished taking over the Ark, and the Captain decides they should try and stop them despite being totally outmatched and with no backup. Because we’re the heroes, though, they manage to take over a base and get a bunch of data from the Ark’s Cartographer, with stuff like maps and weapons. Handy, eh?
Anyway, a lot more fighting happens, including a space battle, and eventually it is suggested that the crew actually use the Ark to make a Halo so they can use it as a signal for help. There are probably better ways of sending out a distress beacon, but hey, whatever works. They end up doing it, at least being smart enough to disable the Halo’s firing button, and set up their beacon. The Halo shoots out automatically into space and the crew, minus Anders (remember her?), who was on the ring, are left waiting for rescue. Again.
What’s most important here, at least that we know of for now, is that the Banished will be the main force you’re fighting in Halo Infinite.
You might be forgiven for wondering if you missed a game somewhere along the line, but Halo Infinite starts basically at the conclusion of an entire story we never see. 18 months after Halo 5, Chief and the UNSC have not only started an all out war with The Banished, but lost. After a massive space battle above Zeta Halo, humanity’s fleet is basically wiped out, and right off the bat, we open with Chief getting absolutely handled in a way we’ve never seen before by the lead of the Banished Atriox. Instead of confirming the kill, Atriox leaves Chief for dead. That was his first mistake.
It took six months, but eventually a pilot, known only as Pilot, picks up Chief drifting in space. Pilot wants to run because, well, the Banished have been wiping the floor with humanity for quite a while at this point, but Chief isn’t that kind of soldier. He makes them travel down to Zeta Halo to keep on fighting, where they pick up a new AI named the Weapon. She looks and sounds exactly like Cortana, but was made to kill Cortana, which isn’t confusing at all. Weapon claims to have already captured and deleted Cortana, but is confused because if she really had done so she would’ve automatically self-destructed.
Chief, Weapon, and the Pilot go around on wacky adventures across Halo (not really), rallying troops and learning about a new threat on the ring called The Endless, and meet an alien called the Harbinger that the Banished woke up. Connection, perhaps?
The new goal is to stop Zeta Halo from repairing itself so the Banished can’t use it as the super-weapon it is. In the process, the Weapon realizes that she’s actually a copy of Cortana (please pretend to be surprised). Anyway, the Pilot gets captured to bait out Chief, which works, but Chief ends up killing the Banished who set up the whole thing. While fighting to the Harbinger, Chief and Weapon learn that Cortana, the real one, destroyed herself to damage Zeta Halo and prevent the Banished from using it. Chief kills the Harbinger, but not before it is able to send a message to someone somewhere about the Endless.
After the credits, we see Atriox, still alive and kicking, enter a secret room to the Endless.
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