Five Long Years

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A group of UNSC Marines cheering as a Covenant destroyer comes down.
"Halo Wars is set in the year 2531 right as UNSC forces retake a planet called Harvest from the alien Covenant. The story of Halo Wars is told through the eyes and ears of the crew aboard Spirit of Fire, a UNSC support vessel. As the ship approaches the planet Harvest to begin a dangerous and urgent mission, Captain Cutter reflects on the long and bloody battle to retake Harvest from the Covenant..."
Ensemble description of the trailer[1]

Five Long Years is the introductory cutscene of Halo Wars, depicting the UNSC's five-year campaign to retake Harvest from the Covenant. It was also released as a cinematic trailer on July 14, 2008.


  • Cutter: "Captain's report: February 4th, 2531. Five years - five long years. That's how long it took us to get Harvest back."
Marines firing on several Elites

Several Marines run through a battlefield and kill a group of oncoming Elites. A Marine is killed when a nearby wall explodes and he is engulfed by debris and plasma. The surviving Marines recover quickly and start to move forward.

  • Marine: "Go, go, go!"

They confront a lance of slowly advancing Elites on the other side of a wall of debris. A few of the Marines yell out as they arrive. One Marine quickly joins in and starts to fire upon the Elites, only to be shot by a plasma bolt to the chest.

  • Marine: "I've been hit!"

An M12 Warthog then appears and runs the aliens over. The camera then cuts to the rear of the Warthog driving through a battlefield with the gunner firing the turret.

Pelicans disembarking troops on Harvest
  • Marine: "Keep firing!"

Three Marines fire their weapons. The camera then cuts to a shot of several Pelican dropships arriving with several Warthogs racing through the drop zone. Marines then charge out of one of the landed Pelicans. There is a cut to a Marine hitting an Elite from behind, so that he falls down and is shot dead by another Marine. Then it cuts to a panorama, showing nine Marines cheering and a Warthog overlooking the battlefield; a destroyed city with a burning CPV-class heavy destroyer in the distant sky, presumably shot down by UNSC forces.

An Elite impaling a wounded Marine
  • Cutter: "At first it was going well."

Fade to black

  • Cutter: "Then setback after setback..."

An Elite pierces a Marine with his energy sword. UNSC troops are overwhelmed by plasma fired by Elites and Banshees. The camera then cuts to a scene where three Elites jump over a crumbled wall, the two in the background wielding plasma rifles, the one in the foreground activating two energy swords.

  • Cutter: "Loss after loss..."

Two Covenant destroyers begin to glass Harvest.

  • Cutter: "Made what was going to be a quick and decisive win..."

A surviving Marine attempts to crawl to safety when an Elite approaches and stabs him with his energy sword.

  • Cutter: "Into five years of hell."

Camera turns toward the skies and another ship appears and activates its energy weapon. White follows.

Transcript ends


  • The Marine who is strafed by the Banshee utters the famed Wilhelm scream as he dies.
  • The Pelicans have the Legendary symbol on the nose of their fuselages.
  • A screenshot from this cinematic, showing Marines celebrating the destruction of a CPV-class destroyer, is seen in Halo 2: Anniversary on a UNSC billboard.