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Halo 3

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Halo 3


Bungie LLC.


Microsoft Game Studios


Joseph Staten


Martin O'Donnell
Michael Salvatori


Blam engine


Xbox 360
Xbox One

Release date(s):

September 25, 2007 (United States)
September 26, 2007 (United Knigdom)
September 27, 2007 (Japan)
November 14, 2014 (Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One)
July 13, 2020 (Halo: The Master Chief Collection on PC)


First-person shooter


Campaign Mode, Co-Op, Multiplayer, Forge, Theater


ESRB: Mature (M) for Blood and Gore, Mild Language, and Violence
CERO: (D) Ages 17 and up
PEGI: 16+ (Europe only)
BBFC: 15 (UK only)
USK: 18 (Germany only)
ACB: Mature (M) for Moderate Science Fiction Violence


"Finish the fight."
Halo 3 tagline.

Halo 3 is a first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie Studios and published by Microsoft. It is a sequel to Halo 2 and concludes the original Halo trilogy. Halo 3 was released on September 25, 2007 in Australia, Brazil, India, New Zealand, North America, and Singapore; September 26, 2007 in Europe; and September 27, 2007 in Japan all exclusively for the Xbox 360.

The game is rated "M" for Mature for blood, gore, violence, and mild language by the ESRB. Europe's PEGI rating system gave the game a "16+" rating, and it is rated "15" by the BBFC for the UK release. The OFLC rated it "M" for the Australia and New Zealand release, although the New Zealand Classification Office later changed the rating to "R16" on December 1, 2017. Japan's CERO rating system gave this game a "D" rating.

Upon its release, Halo 3 grossed US$300 million in its first week. More than one million people played Halo 3 on Xbox Live in the first twenty hours. As of January 3, 2008, Halo 3 has sold 8.1 million copies, and was the best-selling video game of 2007 in the United States. Overall, the game was very well-received by critics, with the Forge and multiplayer offerings singled out as strong features. By March 2009 more than one billion online matches had been played.

Along with Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary and Halo 4, Halo 3 was released on the Xbox One as part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection on November 11, 2014. While initially advertised for a release date of July 14, 2020, the game was released on July 13 for PC platforms.[1][2][Note 1]


Characters and setting[edit]

Halo 3 spans over three different settings, starting with the East African Protectorate on Earth, then to the Forerunners' Ark installation, and finally on Halo Installation 08. The game continues the Master Chief's efforts in stopping the Covenant from activating the Halo rings. The Covenant has become embroiled in a civil war, with the Elites allied with humanity against the main body of the hegemony, now led solely by the Prophet of Truth. Meanwhile, the Brutes have taken the Elites' place as field commanders in the Covenant military.

The game takes place after the events of the Halo 2, directly after the events that transpired in Halo: Uprising.

Plot synopsis[edit]

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
John-117 and Thel 'Vadam in the East African jungle featured in the level "Sierra 117".

The storyline begins approximately two weeks after the events of Halo 2, on November 17th, 2552. John-117 enters Earth's atmosphere and crash-lands in an east African jungle. After being retrieved by Sergeant Major Avery Johnson, Arbiter Thel 'Vadam, and a handful of Marines, the group makes their way through the jungle toward a designated extraction point. Covenant forces are sighted in the area and Johnson makes a strategic decision to split the group up to reduce their chances of getting spotted. John-117 and Thel 'Vadam continue on their way to the extraction zone with the second squad, fighting off numerous Brute-led Covenant troops in the process, but upon reaching the extraction zone, Avery Johnson's Pelican group consisting of two Pelicans, are ambushed and shot down by Banshees. Johnson and his men are then captured and taken prisoner by a number of Brutes led by a Brute Chieftain. John-117, Thel 'Vadam, and company fight their way through hordes of enemies and eventually rescue them, after which a Pelican arrives and picks them up.

UNSC underground facility "Crow's Nest".

The Pelican brings them to Crow's Nest which is used as a local base of operations by the UNSC. Here, Commander Miranda Keyes and Fleet Admiral Terrence Hood plan a last-ditch effort to stop the Covenant from activating an artifact built by the long-vanished Forerunners who the Covenant worship as gods, uncovered outside the ruins of the city of New Mombasa. This artifact is believed to be the Ark, which, if activated, will fire the Halo Array, which the Covenant believe will herald a sublimation event called the Great Journey and propel the faithful to godhood, but will in fact wipe out all sentient life in the galaxy. Their plan is to have John-117 and a small group of marines punch a hole in the Covenant's anti-air defenses, so that Lord Hood can initiate a low level air-strike on the artifact. Their planning is quickly interrupted when power is cut and the High Prophet of Truth broadcasts an announcement to all surviving human forces that their doom is inevitable. Soon after that, the Covenant discover the facility and mount a heavy assault. After a brief struggle, the outpost is lost and is destroyed by a bomb activated by John-117. Deep underground, the Master Chief regroups with the surviving Marines and makes his way into the African city of Voi, Kenya via the Tsavo Highway. In Voi, John-117 along with a handful of Marines destroy the Covenant anti-air defenses. Lord Hood leads the last of Earth's military ships against Truth and the artifact. As Hood mounts his attack on the Prophet, Truth activates the artifact and creates an enormous slipspace portal, into which all the Covenant ships retreat.

At the same time, the Indulgence of Conviction, a Ket-pattern battlecruiser controlled by the Flood, a parasitic species which nearly wiped out the Forerunners, arrives suddenly via slipspace and crashes in Voi. The parasite quickly spreads throughout the entire city and infects many, minutes after they arrive. As the Human forces attempt to fight the infestation, many become infected by the Flood. The Sangheili, led by Shipmaster Rtas 'Vadum, arrive at Earth and assist the struggle against the infestation. The Elites inform Commander Keyes that a UNSC construct is aboard the crashed Flood ship, and identify it as Cortana. After retrieving Cortana, John-117 returned to the Elites' flagship, Shadow of Intent, to oversee the repairs made by 343 Guilty Spark. However, it is only a recorded message from her. Cortana's message says that the Gravemind is bringing the infested High Charity to Earth with an army of Flood, and that on the other side of the portal is a solution to the Flood infestation, without having to fire the rings. Lord Hood questions Cortana's plan, assuming that it could be a Flood trap, but John-117 firmly tells Hood that he trusts her.

Lord Hood and the rest of the UNSC remain on Earth to defend it against the incoming Flood invasion while Commander Keyes and the Elites journeys through the Portal. Arriving at the true Ark, which is several thousand light years beyond the rim of the Milky Way, the Sangheili engage Truth's fleet while the UNSC launches a ground campaign. After landing on the Ark, 343 Guilty Spark helps lead the Master Chief and UNSC forces to the Ark's Cartographer, the map room of the Ark, to locate the Control Room of the Ark. In order to access the Control Room, the UNSC and the Sangheili must deactivate three shield generators which are inside three separate towers. While John-117 and the Arbiter succeed in deactivating the first and second towers, Johnson radios Keyes, telling her that he must retreat due to the heavy enemy assault. When John-117 and the Elites arrived to the third tower, Johnson and his men are nowhere to be seen. After the final shield barrier protecting the Control Room deactivates, the Flood-infested High Charity arrives via slipspace and crashes onto the Ark, releasing Flood dispersal pods as it falls.

After handling the nearby infestation, John-117 leads the remaining UNSC and surviving Sangheili forces via armored vehicles in an assault on the Citadel containing the Control Room, which is heavily defended by Covenant forces. Once inside the Citadel, Truth broadcasts his sermon and reveals the captured Johnson to his followers. Just as Truth is about to force Johnson to activate the rings, Keyes crashes into the Control Room using a Pelican. While she tries to fight off all the Brutes, Johnson realises that she must kill him and herself to stop the rings from being activated. From behind, Truth kills Keyes, and then using Johnson's hand on the nearby terminal, activates all of the remaining Halos in the galaxy.

Just as John-117 and Thel 'Vadam reach the top, two Flood tank forms confront them. The Gravemind, communicating through the two Flood forms, urges the two to join forces in stopping the initiation of the Halos and Truth. With the Flood's help, John-117 and Thel 'Vadam slaughtered all the Covenant forces defending Truth. Upon arrival to the Ark's Control Terminal, they find Johnson mourning over the loss of Keyes, and Truth partially infected. Thel 'Vadam, after a short confrontation with Truth over the true purpose of the Halos, executes Truth with his energy sword, just as John-117 deactivates all the Halos. Shortly after the deactivation of the Halos, the Gravemind betrays them and prevents the duo from escaping - although Johnson manages to escape using Keyes' crashed Pelican.

The duo escapes from the Citadel via an access tunnel near the elevator they used earlier. John-117 then experiences a hallucination of Cortana and follows the figure to a control panel. He then activates the panel, finally learning Cortana's plan: the Ark is manufacturing a replacement Halo after the destruction of the previous one. Knowing that the threat of the Flood is undeniably apocalyptic, and that the new ring is unconnected to the rest of the Array, John-117 decides he will activate the new Halo. Needing an Index in order to fire the ring, SPARTAN-117 journeys into the crashed High Charity to retrieve Cortana, keeping his promise and knowing that she still has the Index she acquired from the original Installation 04. Once retrieved, Cortana instructs the Spartan to overload High Charity's engines in order to destroy the Gravemind. Thel 'Vadam arrives via Banshee to assist the Spartan in fighting the Flood. The two escape from High Charity before it explodes using a damaged but still flyable Pelican.

The surviving Sangheili and UNSC personnel return to Earth leaving only Sergeant Johnson, John-117 with Cortana, and the Arbiter to make their way to the new Halo. As they make their way to the new Halo's Control Room, Flood forms arrive via dispersal pods to prevent the activation of the Halo. From here, they quickly discover that Gravemind is attempting to reconstruct itself on the new Halo. As Sergeant Johnson tries to activate the ring, 343 Guilty Spark fires his defensive laser at him after realizing that it will destroy the installation and the Ark. The Monitor then turns against the Spartan and blasts the Arbiter out of the Control Room, leaving the Spartan to destroy Guilty Spark by himself. John-117 successfully destroys the Monitor with the Spartan Laser and tries to mend Johnson. Mortally wounded, Johnson urged the Spartan to send him out "with a bang".

With the Halo activated, John-117 and Thel 'Vadam race towards the frigate Forward Unto Dawn using Johnson's Warthog. With no time to reach the bridge, John-117 uploads Cortana into the frigate to start taking off before the Arbiter is able to take the controls. The front half of the Dawn, containing the Arbiter, makes it through the portal. However, as Halo shakes itself to pieces during its firing sequence and damages the Ark, the portal deactivates as the other half of the Dawn containing Chief and Cortana enter it. This causes them to rip off from the other half of the ship and be sent to an unknown area of space far enough from the Halo's blast. However, since they didn't come out of the other side of the portal, they never make it back to Earth.

Back on Earth, Lord Hood holds a memorial service in honor for those who died in the Human-Covenant War, with the Arbiter and many Marines in attendance. With Truth dead, the Covenant defeated, and the Flood wiped out, the long and devastating war is finally over. Though he says he can never forgive the Arbiter for what the Covenant did to the human race, Lord Hood sincerely thanks him for standing by the Master Chief until the end. After the service, the Sangheili return to their home planet.

After the credits, it is revealed that John-117 and Cortana are still alive aboard the rear section of the Dawn, which had apparently torn off before going through the other side of the portal. The SPARTAN floats to a cryo chamber and as he climbs in, Cortana comments "I'll miss you." He replies "Wake me, when you need me." If the last level is completed on Legendary difficulty, the section of Forward Unto Dawn that Cortana and the Chief are aboard is seen drifting towards a Forerunner world.

Spoilers end here.


Halo 3 incorporates many of the gameplay features previously made available in Halo 2, refining the gameplay design and expanding the amount of resources in the sandbox to diversify the gameplay experience. For example, dual wielding has been retained as a feature in both campaign and multiplayer, HUD elements have been repositioned so that they are more prominently available to the player, and boarding vehicles have more varied animations and are more balanced.

Vehicles now feature more complex collision damage based on their size, mass and speed. For example, the Brute Chopper can destroy a UNSC Warthog with a head-on ram, and colliding head-on with a solid object in a Ghost can kill the player.

The game enhances the core gameplay design by introducing deployable equipment as well as giving players the ability to use turret weapons. Equipment is a collection of tools accessible to players to assist them in their objectives. This ranges from a spherical shield that protects players temporarily, a device that drains power from electrical appliances to a device that propels personnel into the air. Turret weapons allow players to wield heavy weapons in a third-person perspective at a slower pace.

Help.png This section needs expansion. You can help Halopedia by expanding it.


The campaign in Halo 3 consists of ten levels which tell the story of the final days of humanity and the Sangheili's conflict with the Prophet of Truth's Covenant forces.

  1. Arrival - "Brace for impact." (cutscene, tutorial on single player)
  2. Sierra 117 - "Rise up. Start the fight."
  3. Crow's Nest - "Clear the base, whatever it takes."
  4. Tsavo Highway - "Mount up. Get to Voi."
  5. The Storm - "Reclaim the city. Make a hole."
  6. Floodgate - "Stop the infestation. Find Cortana."
  7. The Ark - "Search the waste for the Cartographer."
  8. The Covenant - "Breach the barrier. Stop Truth."
  9. Cortana - "Cleanse High Charity. Save Cortana."
  10. Halo - "Light the ring. Destroy the Flood."


A total of 24 multiplayer maps are available in Halo 3. As of 2021, three additional maps were added to Halo 3 in The Master Chief Collection from the cancelled Halo Online - bringing the total map count for this version of Halo 3 up to 27.


Heroic Map Pack[edit]

Main article: Heroic Map Pack

Legendary Map Pack[edit]

Main article: Legendary Map Pack

Cold Storage[edit]

Main article: Cold Storage

Cold Storage is downloadable through Xbox Live Marketplace for free and is the seventh downloadable map for Halo 3. It was released on 07/07/08, Bungie Day, as a free gift to the entire Halo 3 community around the world.

Mythic Map Pack[edit]

Main article: Mythic Map Pack

Mythic Map Pack II[edit]

Main article: Mythic II Map Pack

Halo: The Master Chief Collection-exclusive[edit]


Service tags[edit]

The service tag is how players can be identified quickly on the battlefield, instead of the long names and complex number combinations which are not suitable for battle situations that require quick tactical orders or communication. The service tag is comprised of a letter followed by two numbers. A few examples of service tags are K90, C27, A12, S86, D17, and D21.

Certain service tags are disallowed, and entering them will yield the error message "This Service Tag is currently in use by the UNSC." Generally, tags that identify Halo characters, trademarks, or offensive words are disallowed. Such tags include: "I17", "N64", "P52", "A55", "P00", "J00", "F49", "A23", and "T17". "O00" is blocked due to its usage in Temporary Profiles. Anything ending in 00 is blocked.

According to Bungie, as of March 14 the most used Service Tags by players of Halo 3 are, in descending order, O07, M16 , I69, P26, S80, N99, F18, H20, I87, and D13.[citation needed]

Armor permutations[edit]

Main article: Armor customization (Halo 3)

There are two player models which players can choose from, the standard SPARTAN model or an Elite model. Each model has several armor permutations which can be combined. All armor permutations do not have any effects on gameplay.


Main article: Multiplayer Emblems

An Emblem is a highly customizable image that appears on the right arm of a Spartan and the back of an Elite during multiplayer matches, they are there to give a player an identity for themselves. Halo 3 introduces several new emblems for the player to use along with new backgrounds to further customize that emblem.


There are ten base and primary colors, each with three shades of one another that are used to customize your multiplayer color and emblem. On the armor detail color, there is a small painted VI most noticeable on Mark VI shoulder.

  • Steel, Silver, and White
  • Red, Mauve, and Salmon
  • Orange, Coral, and Peach
  • Gold, Yellow, and Pale
  • Sage, Green, and Olive
  • Teal, Aqua, and Cyan
  • Blue, Cobalt, and Sapphire
  • Violet, Orchid, and Lavender
  • Crimson, Rubine, and Pink
  • Brown, Tan, and Khaki
  • Black can still be used but, only in Forge or Custom gametypes, as a forced player color under general settings.
  • Zombie a slightly more yellowish version of Green to make players look like zombies. Only available in Forge or Custom gametypes as a forced player color under general settings.


Original Halo 3[edit]

For subjects that appear in the terminals, see here.









Technology and equipment



Halo: The Master Chief Collection only[edit]

Main article: Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Following the release of Halo 3 onto the PC version of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, more story elements have appeared, a number of which are carried over from Halo Online.

Species and entities







Help.png This section needs expansion. You can help Halopedia by expanding it.


Main article: Halo 3 Engine

The unnamed Halo 3 Engine[3] is the game engine developed for and implemented in Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST. Its unique features include advanced graphics technologies such as high dynamic range, global lighting, and depth of field effects within cutscenes.[4]


Halo 3 utilises Waves audio plugin which allows audio to be processed in real time as the game engine generates the audio calls.[5]

Help.png This section needs expansion. You can help Halopedia by expanding it.


Main article: Matchmaking

Matchmaking is where people can play with and against each other through a specially designed search system and multiple playlists. In matchmaking, EXP and Skill can be earned to raise ranks. Also, on some maps like "Guardian" and "Narrows", various equipment such as the Flare and Radar Jammer have been removed due to balance changes.


Main article: Playlist

Playlists are lists of different game variations from free-for-all to team games. They are split into Ranked, Social, Hardcore, Community, DLC, Tournaments and Double EXP Weekends.


The Veto system is a new addition to Halo 3. In a game, after the map and game type loads for each player, a 10 seconds countdown starts. If the majority of players in the match decide to veto, by pressing the (X) button, before the countdown ends, a different map and gametype from the playlist will be selected to be played on.

If a map and gametype is vetoed by a majority of players, the option to veto will be lost during the next countdown. In some cases, players will see the map and gametype change, but players still get the veto option. This is just because the host's connection cannot support the map, or if anyone in the party cannot play the map. When this happens, you still have the right to veto the next map and game type.


Main article: Rank

The ranking system is based on real military ranks. To progress in rank, players must earn the required amount of EXP. For Officer ranks, players must also reach a certain skill level in a ranked playlist. If a player earns a certain amount of experience, but does not reach the required skill level to reach the next officer rank, they will instead be promoted to a higher grade of their current rank (For example, A Major who earns 200 EXP but does not have a skill level of 35 will be promoted to Major, Grade 2 upon earning 300 EXP).

Each Officer rank has a "final" grade which is represented by a unique name instead of a number. Gunnery Sergeant also has this feature. Many players judge others that have the grade 4 rank or "gold bars" as a sign of lack in skill, though not necessarily always true. Halo 3 uses the Trueskill system created by Microsoft to determine skill level in ranked playlists.


Custom games[edit]

Main article: Custom game

In the Custom Games Lobby, players are given the option to choose the gametypes and maps players have made and want to play with their friends, these include Custom Game types and Map Variants. Unlike matchmaking, custom games do not give EXP.

Standard gametypes[edit]

  • Slayer - Kill your enemies. Kill your friends' enemies. Kill your friends.
  • Oddball - Hold the skull to earn points. It's like Hamlet, with guns.
  • King of the Hill - Control the hill to earn points. Earn points to win. It's good to be king.
  • Capture the Flag - Invade your opponent's stronghold, seize their flag, and return it to your base to score.
  • Assault - Carry your bomb to the enemy base, plant it, and defend it until it detonates.
  • Territories - Defend your territory and control the land. Teams earn points for territories they control.
  • Juggernaut - If you meet the Juggernaut, kill the Juggernaut.
  • Infection - The timeless struggle of human versus zombie. If you die by a zombie's hand, you join their ranks.
  • VIP - One player on each team is Very Important. Take down the enemy's VIP for points, but take care of your own.

Custom gametypes[edit]

In Halo 3, there are a number of options that can be changed for custom games. By pressing X in the pregame lobby the host can change the default options, to whatever the player chooses and can save the changes when finished by pressing X again to save as custom game type.

Options that can be changed:

  • Damage resistance
  • Shield multiplier
  • Shield recharge rate
  • Immune to headshots
  • Grenade counts (Grenade Regeneration, on or off)
  • Infinite ammo
  • Weapon pickup (Enabled, Disabled)
  • Player speed
    • (25%, 50%, 75%, 90%, 100%, 110%, 125%, 150%, 200%, 300%)
  • Player gravity
    • (50%, 75%, 100%, 200%)
  • Vehicle use (Full Use, Passenger only, None)
  • Motion tracker (off, friendlies only, normal, enhanced)
    • Range (10m, 25m, 75m, 100m, 150m)
  • Indestructible vehicles (On, off)
  • Player forced Colors (Like Black or Zombie)
    • Meaning all players in game will be forced to the color of your choice.
  • Over shields and active camouflage can be given to a certain team/player or everyone on spawn or re-spawn.


Main article: Forge

Forge is an "object editor" that can be used to edit multiplayer maps. It does not allow as much freedom to edit/make maps as a PC map editor, such as the Halo: Custom Edition and Halo 2 for Windows Vista editing kits. Players can, however, edit objects, spawn points, weapons, teleporters and properties of objects on the map, etc. While in a forge map, players may start editing maps by press up on the D pad; when a player goes into edit mode they take on the appearance of a Forerunner Monitor similar to 343 Guilty Spark. The player now obtains the ability to spawn weapons, vehicles and objects in-game, as well as move and adjust them. New DLC maps like Sandbox and Foundry will allow a player to make their own map using the amount of objects included in the map. While the forge may not allow as much freedom as other map editors, it makes it easier for a player to make a map with "simple" objects.


Main article: Theater

The Theater mode allows players to save films from the Campaign, Multiplayer, and Forge, and also get film clips and screen shots. This feature of Halo 3 has been exploited for making Machinima videos and Montages.


Saved Films allow a player to view any game, campaign or multiplayer, from any angle. It uses game data to re-create the games, which makes file sizes very small (5 MB for a 15-minute multiplayer match). In the film, players can either watch themselves play through an entire mission or match, or use a bird's eye view to see the bigger scope of how the match or mission plays. Players can go anywhere they want, within the limitations of invisible barriers, so that players cannot fly as high as possible or go very far from their character. In multiplayer matches, players can fast forward or rewind the film so that players can relive the parts you missed. Campaign films cannot be rewound for technical reasons. Only the previous 25 games will be saved under the recent films category on the Xbox 360 console. Older films will be deleted.


When playing a film, players can record a particular part of the film from any angle they want. Doing this allows players to look back at their saved clip without having to watch the entire film. Players, however, cannot record clips of campaign films due to unknown technical reasons. If players are in a party viewing a film, they will not be able to record clips, nor take screenshots. Also, players may find that when viewing a film clip in a party, the film will not load until there is only one player left in the party.


Screenshots can be taken in any sort of film; all screenshots taken by Xbox Live players are sent to via the Internet. You must be in single-player theater or film to take a screenshot. Screenshots that are favored by many or impress Bungie employees may be uploaded to Bungie Favorites.


Main article: Halo 3: Original Soundtrack

The Halo 3: Original Soundtrack was composed by Martin O'Donnell with the help of Michael Salvatori and was released on November 20, 2007. It is a two-disc set featuring all the music heard in-game, in order of appearance.

Marketing promotions[edit]

Viral Campaigns[edit]

Beta and Epsilon[edit]

Main articles: Halo 3 Beta, Halo 3 Epsilon

The Halo 3 Beta was a phase in the development of Halo 3, produced by Bungie Studios and organized by Microsoft. A public version of the beta was released to the public for three weeks to give people an early chance to play the game and to test amounts of stress on the servers.

Several months after the Beta was closed down, Bungie released Halo 3 Epsilon, an internal-only Halo 3 build, to Microsoft employees. The Epsilon featured Campaign (both single-player and cooperative gameplay) on the level Tsavo Highway, as well as Forge and multiplayer on six maps: Epitaph, High Ground, Last Resort, Sandtrap, Snowbound, and Valhalla.


Main article: Iris

On June 11, 2007, at 10:26AM PDT, the viral marketing campaign for Halo 3 started, with a believed "hacking" of's forums throughout the next several months fans followed the various clues and hints to unlock "servers" which would reveal the final moments of the Forerunners. Cradle of Life: The Cradle of Life is a short flash animation web comic, and is one of the first parts of the Iris campaign.


Main article: Believe

Believe was the marketing slogan and campaign for Halo 3 developed by both Bungie Studios and Microsoft. The word "Believe" appears to be honoring the legacy of SPARTAN-117, citing him as a hero of humanity whose brave actions inspired other servicemen of the United Nations Space Command during the final days of the Human-Covenant War. It has been noted that the Believe trailers took place about 50 years after Halo 3's storyline.


Announcement trailer[edit]

Main article: Halo 3 Announcement Trailer

Halo 3 was officially announced via a cinematic trailer rendered in real-time, on May 9, 2006 during the Microsoft press conference. The reveal utilized real-game assets, fiction and locations. The trailer shows John-117 walking through wreckage of the New Mombasa space elevator with Cortana appearing at several intervals. He then stops at the edge of a cliff where the Covenant forces are hovering over a Forerunner structure. The trailer ends with the structure opening and firing a beam of light.

Starry Night[edit]

Main article: Starry Night

The Starry Night trailer was released on December 4, 2006 during Monday Night Football on ESPN. It shows two children staring at the stars talking about whether there is life out there in the universe, before switching to a dazed Master Chief recovering from some form of blast. Once back on his feet, he picks up his helmet and then uses a Bubble Shield to defend himself from an incoming Wraith's plasma mortar. He then quickly charges forward, eventually jumping over a cliff into a swarm of Covenant Loyalists. It is speculated, yet left to interpretation, that the two children are John-117 and Kelly-087 when they were young.

ViDoc: Et Tu, Brute?[edit]

Main article: Halo 3 ViDoc: Et Tu, Brute?

The Et Tu Brute ViDoc was released before the end of 2006 and was a behind-the-scenes look at the development of Halo 3, specifically focusing on the Brutes in Halo 3. This 7:03 min clip interviews various Bungie employees about the Brutes, their development and flaws in Halo 2, and how they were expanded upon in Halo 3.

ViDoc: Is Quisnam Protero Damno![edit]

Main article: Halo 3 ViDoc: Is Quisnam Protero Damno!

The Is Quisnam Protero Damno ViDoc was released several months before the release of the Halo 3 Beta. The video focuses on the multiplayer in Halo 3. This 7:12 minute clip interviews various Bungie employees about the development of the various multiplayer aspects of the game.

ViDoc: Cinema Paradiso[edit]

Main article: Halo 3 ViDoc: Cinema Paradiso

Cinema Paradiso is the third and final ViDoc released by Bungie before the release of Halo 3. Released on September 20, 2007 the 7:13 video interviews various Bungie employees about the development of the theater and forge features of the game.

E3 2007 Trailer[edit]

Main article: Halo 3 E3 2007 Trailer

Revealed at the end of Microsoft's E3 press conference on July 11 this trailer was the final trailer to show off the actual game itself and unlike the previous trailers, the Halo 3 E3 2007 trailer focused on showing various gameplay and cinematic clips. While the trailer did little to further knowledge about the Halo 3 plot, it confirmed many speculations about the game, the least of which was that the Arbiter and the Master Chief will fight alongside one another in the game.

Halo: Landfall[edit]

Main article: Halo: Landfall

Halo: Landfall is a trilogy of short films that were designed to promote the release of Halo 3. Directed by Neill Blomkamp with props and costume design by WETA Workshop Landfall tells the story of two ODSTs on a mission to coordinate Master Chief's rescue.

Merchandise and Promotions[edit]

Features Standard Collector's (Limited) Legendary
Image of contents Halo 3 Standard.JPG Halo 3 Limited.JPG Halo 3 Legendary.JPG
Game disc & manual Yes Yes Yes
Interactive Xbox 360 disc No Yes Yes
Bestiarum No Yes (Book) Yes (DVD)
Legendary DVD No No Yes
Master Chief helmet case No No Yes

Halo 3 was released in three separate versions. The Standard Edition contains the game disc, manual, and a small poster with the game's control-map and artwork. The Limited Edition, contained in a metal case, contains the game disc, manual, poster, interactive Xbox 360 bonus disc with several featurettes, and a hard cover bound "Bestiarum", which is a collection of information and art covering the species, cultures, and civilizations of Halo 3. The final version was marketed as the "Legendary Edition", which contains the game disc, manual, poster, interactive bonus disc, Bestiarum (on one of the DVD discs), Legendary DVD containing special content exclusive to the Legendary Edition, and a scale replica of the Master Chief's helmet as a case for the three discs.

The launch of Halo 3 also coincided with the release of various games, action figures, collectibles and marketing promotions. This included a Halo 3 Spartan Edition Controller and Halo 3 Covenant Edition Controller that features Halo 3 themed artwork from renowned artist Todd McFarlane. The controllers included a Master Chief figurine. While previous Halo action figure series were produced by Joyride Studios the studios closure in 2007 allowed Todd McFarlane's McFarlane Toys to release Halo 3 Action Figures. On September 18, 2007 Wizkids released the Halo ActionClix collection. The tabletop game features miniature characters and vehicles from the Halo universe. Microsoft also collaborated with Pepsi-Cola to release the first promotional soft drink for a video game. Mountain Dew Game Fuel was a soda which was released on August 13, 2007 and was available for 12 weeks to promote the launch of Halo 3. 7-Eleven sold a Slurpee version of the drink along with several collectible cups. On September 16, 2007 Microsoft released a Halo 3 edition of the Xbox 360. The console includes various Halo 3 themed items including a Halo 3 headset, and special exclusive gamer pics and themes only available to those who purchase the console. As part of the Halo 3 marketing assault Microsoft also released a Halo Trilogy-themed Zune media player. It features Halo content in many media formats including exclusive artwork from the trilogy and a special Red vs Blue PSA. Master Replicas also released ornament Halo 3 scale replica weapons. Burger King also announced a Halo 3 Promotion from a Microsoft press release on August 9, 2007, the promotion which started September 24 including limited edition FRYPODS and 42 oz drink cups featuring Halo designs and characters on food wrappings. Pontiac produced a special Pontiac G6 GXP Street Edition, outfitted with a Halo 3 styled paint job. It was part of a sweepstakes hosted by Best Buy, called the Best Buy Play & Win Sweepstakes.[6]

There was also a song called Face It commissioned by Microsoft in Australia, performed by Australian rapper Phrase and the Australian band Karnivool.[7]

Release and reception[edit]

Internet Sites
Reviewer Score
Gamepro 5/5
TeamXbox 9.3/10
IGN 9.5/10
GameInformer 9.75
1up A+
Gametrailers 9.8/10
Famitsu 37/40
X-play 5/5
ComputerVideogames 9.6/10
GameSpot 9.5/10
Country Magazines
Official Xbox Magazine (UK) 9/10
Official Xbox Magazine (IT) 9.8/10
Official Xbox Magazine (US) 10/10
Official Xbox Magazine (Australia) 10/10
Compilation Websites
Metacritic 94%
Game Rankings 93%

Halo 3 was called the most sought-after video game of 2007,[8][9] and one of the most hyped video games of all time.[10][11][12] Prior to its launch, Halo 3 was expected to be one of the biggest entertainment events of the year,[13] and among the biggest entertainment releases of all time.[14][15][16][17] Additionally, Halo 3 was expected to stir the sales of the Xbox 360 console[18][19] - being a "killer application".[20][21] The craziness of the Halo 3 launch was compared to the madness of the iPhone, Harry Potter books and Star Wars movies releases.[10]

As with its predecessors, Halo 3 was considered a very successful, record-breaking game. With 1.7 million preorders in the U.S, few expected it not to break any records. 24 hours after release, however Halo 3 had generated a record-breaking $170 million in the U.S, beating the $155 million that Microsoft was expecting. Although Microsoft never released a 24-hour sales figure, it is estimated to have sold in the region of 2.4 - 2.5 million copies within 24 hours of availability in the U.S. - approximately 1.8 million units after 8 hours - with that number increasing to 3.3 million units, 12 days after release. Within 24 hours, over 1.1 million gamers had played Halo 3 on Xbox Live. One week after release, over 2.7 million players - nearly one-third of the total Xbox LIVE members at that time - had played it on Xbox Live. As of November 17, 2008, Halo 3 had reportedly sold 8.8 million copies worldwide.

Halo 3 has received mainly positive reviews from both the online gaming sites and country specific magazines. Each review has praised it, stating "the winning formula is still apparent" with "multiplayer constantly surprising and engaging", while new features of Forge and Saved Films were singled out as particularly interesting new features. Halo 3 has also gone on to win a number of awards from:

  • Spike TV Awards: Best Multiplayer Game, Most Addictive Video Game Fueled by Dew.
  • TIME: Game of the Year.[22]
  • Geezer Gamers: Geezer Game of the Year, Multiplayer Game of the Year.
  • Gametrailers: 2007's Best Xbox 360 Game of the Year, Best Multiplayer of the Year, Best First Person Shooter
  • X-Play Presents "G-Phoria": Game of the Year.
  • EDGE: The Edge Award For Interactive Innovation.
  • IGN: Xbox 360 Best Online Multiplayer, Xbox 360 Most Innovative Design.

Halo 3: ODST[edit]

Main article: Halo 3: ODST

Halo 3: ODST was originally intended to be campaign extension that covered the events of the Battle of Earth, and ends roughly one month before Halo 3 begins. However, during its development, ODST quickly evolved into what was essentially a full game in its own right. In ODST, the player takes control of an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper as he navigates though the Covenant occupied New Mombasa trying to discover the fate of his fellow squad members.


  • At precisely 6:36pm PST on the 28th of February 2009, in a three-minute and nineteen second game of Infection on Foundry, four players participated in Halo 3's one billionth match.[23] In comparison, Halo 2 has to date only had 800 million games played.
  • For Christmas 2006, Microsoft and Bungie gave U.S. Troops in Iraq a chance to play the Halo 3 multiplayer alpha build of the game.[24]
  • On the Cops & Robbers commercial for the Xbox 360 at the Xbox Live Marketplace, one of the license plates says HA LO307, or Halo 3 07.
  • The game has 39,377 lines of dialogue, most of them randomly triggered during game play.[25]
  • The original Halo 3 before the Auto-Update 2 patch contained 49 Achievements, which is a seven reference 7x7=49, and these together are worth 1000 Gamerscore.
  • To date, the Campaign kill count online has surpassed the current Human population on Earth.
  • Argos, a UK retail store, started accidentally selling copies of the game one week prior to the actual release date. All Halo 3 products were removed from shelves when the store realized its mistake. However, a number of copies still made it into the hands of the public and a video showcasing the ending made it onto YouTube.
  • Halo 3 multi-player was shown at the Penny Arcade Expo as the final round of the Omegathon and showed the level Guardian before its release date.
  • Halo 3 has been referenced in various examples of outside media. Footage of Halo 3 can be seen in an episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Glee as well as in the feature film Jumper, Bride Wars, Knight Rider, and CSI: Miami, although in Jumper and CSI, an original Xbox controller is used. Also, Halo 3 game play is featured in music videos for the songs 'Beggin' by Madcon and 'Riverside' by Sidney Samson. In addition, in the movie Eagle Eye, the two main characters venture into a Circuit City, where they receive shocking news. In the background before they enter a room, one can see a Halo 3 promotional poster behind them. This poster can also be seen in the background in The Day the Earth Stood Still.
  • Halo 3 was released on the 25th of September, this is most likely a seven reference (2+5=7).
  • Forge is one of the new features not seen in previous games. Along with Theater mode, these two allow things not available in other games. Forge is accurately described as an object editor, allowing the player to customize many aspects of the game from scenery to weapons.
  • As of 1 March 2009, the total amount of online Matchmaking time accounted to 2,023,153,340,764 seconds, equal to 64,109 years of playtime.[23]
  • Players who played this game with their current LIVE account will unlock the Halo 3 Visual Flair in Halo: Reach.
  • During development, Bungie staff planned out where all the missions take place on the Ark, including cut content. This was done to assist level designers with the creation of skyboxes among other things for the game.[26]



Cover art[edit]

Concept art[edit]


Manual cover art candidates[edit]

Promotional material[edit]


  1. ^ This article uses the Pacific Time Zone to determine the release date.


See also[edit]

External links[edit]