Real World

Halo Wars

From Halopedia, the Halo wiki

Halo Wars

Primary developer:

Ensemble Studios

Support developer(s):

Robot Entertainment (Post-launch support)


Microsoft Game Studios


Graeme Devine


Stephen Rippy


Phoenix engine


Xbox 360

Release date(s):

US: March 3, 2009 [1]
UK: February 27, 2009[2]


Real-time strategy


Campaign Mode, Multiplayer, Co-op Campaign Mode, Skirmish


ESRB: Teen (T) for Mild Blood, Mild Language, and Violence
PEGI: 16+ (Europe only)


"The Halo RTS has arrived."
— Halo Waypoint[3]

Halo Wars is the first real-time strategy game in the Halo franchise. The game takes place in the year 2531, 21 years prior to Halo: Combat Evolved, during the Covenant assault on the Outer Colonies in the Human-Covenant War. The game was developed by Ensemble Studios, and is an Xbox 360 exclusive. Notably, Halo Wars was the first game in the series to receive a "'T' for Teen" rating from the ESRB, downgraded from the "'M' for Mature" rating given to previous installments; however, PEGI rated the game 16+ as with prior Halo games. Downloadable content and support were handled by Robot Entertainment, a studio founded by ex-Ensemble Studios employees after the latter studio's closing.

The release of Halo Wars fulfilled the original concept that Halo: Combat Evolved was supposed to be a real-time strategy game before being turned into a third-person shooter, and then a first-person-shooter. A sequel, Halo Wars 2, was released on February 21, 2017.[4][5] Players who pre-ordered Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition received early access to Halo Wars: Definitive Edition, a remastered version of the game, on December 20, 2016.[6]

Plot synopsis[edit]

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
Harvest, just after the UNSC Spirit of Fire arrives in the system.

"At this point in time, the Covenant is at its most evil. They are hell-bent on the destruction of humanity, on scouring us from the universe."
— Graeme Devine, Lead Writer, formerly Lead Developer.

During the final days of the Harvest campaign, Sergeant John Forge, a Marine assigned to the support ship UNSC Spirit of Fire under the command of Captain James Cutter, is patrolling the northern regions of the planet Harvest. While Forge is on patrol, Alpha Base is attacked and destroyed by the Covenant, with the survivors fleeing to the countryside. After rounding up these survivors, Forge leads them in an assault that removes the Covenant presence and reestablishes Alpha Base, returning it to operational status.[7] Forge then leads an assault on a nearby Forerunner relic site itself, removing the Covenant occupants and preventing the enemy from destroying it to deny human access and securing the site for Professor Ellen Anders' examination. Shortly after, a Covenant counterattack cuts them off from Alpha Base.[8] Grizzly tanks deployed from Spirit of Fire cut through the Covenant, linking up with Forge and his Marines, and escorting them back out through the relic while forces from Alpha Base holds off the Covenant. Information gathered from the Harvest relic shows that the Covenant have been pointed to a second UNSC colony, Arcadia.[9]

Upon following the Covenant to Arcadia, Spirit of Fire's crew find that most of the orbital defense ships have been either destroyed or damaged in battle with the Covenant. Sergeant Forge and his forces are deployed on the ground in order to assist the Spartans of Red Team in the effort to evacuate civilians from Pirth City.[10] Afterward, the UNSC forces withdraw to a defensible area on the city outskirts, holding off Covenant attacks long enough for Spartan Team Omega to arrive and assist in the destruction of local Covenant forces.[11] At the same time, the Covenant have erected a large energy shield generator around a site of importance, with undiscovered ruins surrounding the area, forcing the UNSC to deploy prototype Rhino plasma artillery to penetrate it.[12] Moving in to examine what was of such interest to the Covenant, they come under attack from a Scarab, only partially complete though capable of destroying any UNSC forces in its line of sight. After the Scarab's destruction, Anders and Forge begin documenting the area, only for Arbiter Ripa 'Moramee to arrive, taking Anders prisoner and wounding Forge, with Red Team arriving too late to assist.[13] Rapidly heading out of the system aboard a starship, the Spirit of Fire follows, eventually emerging in orbit over a mysterious planet.[14]

Deploying ground forces to search for Anders, the UNSC and Covenant forces come under attack from a previously undiscovered alien organism - the Flood.[15] Managing to regroup and hold a defensible location, the UNSC forces manage to locate the source of the signal - an apparent body of water.[16] The UNSC forces withdraw back to the Spirit of Fire as a concentrated Flood force begins to gather momentum, narrowly escaping annihilation, regrouping at Spirit of Fire over the lake - which splits to reveal an entrance, and with swarms of Sentinels emerging to deal with the Flood.[17] Spirit of Fire manages to enter, proceeding through a docking system, removing Flood growths and moving through a system of concentric rings that filters out Flood biomass.[18] Spirit of Fire then emerges inside a massive Shield World, immediately engaging a Covenant destroyer and fending off attacks while conducting repairs.[19]

Meanwhile, the Arbiter uses Anders to activate an installation known as the Apex Site, revealing a fleet of Forerunner warships which the Covenant plan on using against humanity. Anders manages to escape, using what had been her stasis prison as a translocation device, teleporting to the surface of the shield world's interior and linking up with Forge and his Marines, who clear the area of Covenant forces and establish a base of operations on the shield world.[20] Removing the Spirit of Fire's FTL drive, the UNSC move it into the Apex, planning to detonate it - the chain-reaction will send the Shield World's sun into a supernova, destroying the installation and the fleet, denying it to the Covenant and saving humanity from near total defeat and extinction. The Arbiter attempts to stop them, but his Elites are killed by Red Team, and Forge manages to kill the Arbiter with one of his own Energy Swords.[21] Forge stays behind to detonate the reactor, while the rest of the UNSC forces activate a portal out of the shield world, evacuate to Spirit of Fire, and manage to slingshot around the sun to build up enough speed to escape the supernova's blast radius and the range of the shield world's debris.[22]

Now unable to return to human space with the speed an FTL drive would have afforded them, the crew enter cryonic storage. The ship begins her long journey home, likely to take many years or decades. Here, Forge's cryo-tube is closed by Captain Cutter, who briefly nods, acknowledging the sergeant's sacrifice.

Spirit of Fire, lacking an FTL drive, is left adrift in space. On February 10, 2534, the UNSC declares the vessel "lost with all hands". At the end of the credits, Serina is be heard saying, "Captain. Wake up. Something has happened."

Spoilers end here.


A Spartan from SPARTAN Group Omega sporting an early concept design of the Mark IV armor in the Halo Wars announcement trailer.

In Halo Wars, players command armies of both old and new UNSC units during its first encounters against the Covenant, a massive collection of alien races that threatens to destroy all of humanity. Halo Wars will immerse gamers in an early period of the Halo universe, allowing them to experience events 21 years prior to Halo: Combat Evolved. Players are given the Circle Menu to control buildings and increase their arsenal.

With the guidance of the AI Serina, from the UNSC CFV-88 Spirit of Fire, the player leads UNSC soldiers and vehicles against classic Covenant foes. Each group has its own strengths and abilities in battle. Strategic-minded players who react well under pressure will emerge victorious over their foes.

Halo Wars can be played in both single-player and online cooperative campaign modes. Additionally, up to six players can play three-versus-three match head-to-head over Xbox LIVE. Published by Microsoft Game Studios, Halo Wars is a title exclusive to the Xbox 360. Despite speculation of a version for the PC, Ensemble and Microsoft have repeatedly said that no such plans have been made or even considered. The Covenant is playable only in multiplayer and Skirmish modes.


Campaign consists of fifteen levels which tells the story of Halo Wars.

  1. Alpha Base - "Forge rallies the troops and retakes Alpha Base."
  2. Relic Approach - "Get Alpha Base up and running and find what the Covenant are up to."
  3. Relic Interior - "Forge and Anders are trapped in the relic. They must be rescued."
  4. Arcadia City - "The Covenant invasion of Arcadia is in full swing. Evacuation of its civilian population is UNSC's top priority."
  5. Arcadia Outskirts - "The civilian evacuation is complete. UNSC forces must safely withdraw from the city."
  6. Dome of Light - "Uncover what the Covenant were after on Arcadia."
  7. Scarab - "Send in ground units to destroy a Covenant super weapon."
  8. Anders' Signal - "Forge and Recon Groups ECHO and INDIA start the search for Anders."
  9. The Flood - "Find Anders and rescue her before it's too late."
  10. Shield World - "Spirit of Fire is being drawn against her will into the belly of a hostile planet. Ground force deployed to the planet's surface will be abandoned if the Spirit of Fire doesn't act quickly…"
  11. Cleansing - "Cleanse the infection forms from Spirit's hull before they penetrate the interior."
  12. Repairs - "Repair Spirit of Fire and drive Covenant forces back."
  13. Beachhead - "Protect Anders and escort her to the LZ."
  14. Reactor - "Pull the reactor core to the Apex Site."
  15. Escape - "Help the Spirit of Fire's crew escape the Shield world."


Main article: Skirmish
A screenshot of an early build of Halo Wars, depicting a UNSC army fighting the Covenant on Chasms.
Covenant forces engage humans on the level Chasms.

Just like other Halo games, Halo Wars has strong characteristics of online gaming. Halo Wars' live gaming characteristics include Direct voice communication & Online leader boards. Teams are differentiated by the color of the units. There is no specific information regarding player ranking but players are able to achieve the ranks of Recruit, Lieutenant, Major, Commander, Colonel, Brigadier, and General. Multiplayer is up to 6 players at a time in a match. Two player online Co-op for the campaign story is available in the game.[23]


Multiplayer maps are mostly based on the locations introduced in campaign. There are fourteen maps in the original release, and the number rose to eighteen after the release of downloadable contents.

Historic Battle Map Pack

The Historic Battle Map Pack was released to Xbox LIVE Marketplace on July 21, 2009 and sells for 800 Microsoft Points. Along with 4 new maps, the DLC includes 4 new achievements as well. The maps included in this Map Pack are:

Game concepts[edit]

Base assembly[edit]

At the start of matches or levels, players are given one base with one scout unit and a limited amount of resources. Using their scout unit (Warthogs for UNSC, Ghosts or Choppers for Covenant), the player can seek out more resources to build manufacturing sites and supply pads, which in turn let the player build more powerful units and gain resources faster. Bases can be built only in select sites, and a base already occupying that site must be destroyed before another can be built. Multiplayer matches are won by destroying the opposing team's bases, while campaign missions can call for other victory requirements.

Technology advancement[edit]

Throughout the campaign and in Skirmishes, the player must advance their technology in order to increase their army's power. When technology is increased, more units, upgrades, and buildings become available. For instance, infantry units can receive additional members or stronger weaponry. Field Armories or Temples (and the upgrades within them) can become available with increased technology as well.

The tech tree is different for the two playable factions. When playing as the UNSC, the player advances by building and upgrading reactors. The Covenant moves through the tech-tree in Ages by purchasing upgrades at the leader temple; players can advance to the Age of Doubt and the Age of Reclamation respectively. Both factions can also advance by capturing Forerunner secondary reactors.

When a Reactor is built or an Age is researched, or a Forerunner secondary reactor is claimed, the tech number on the top right of the screen goes up. Losing a source of tech level in the number goes down. Different buildings, units, and upgrades require higher numbers for use.

Veterancy points[edit]

Veterancy points increase a unit's statistics, including attack, attack speed, defense, and hitpoints. A unit's veterancy point is indicated by the number of stars the unit has above its health bar. The stars, or Veterancy Points, are acquired only after a unit or a group of units have defeated enemy structures, units, vehicles, or other combat-related situations. They are also gained by upgrading the unit. A mist effect appears briefly over a unit when it gains a veterancy point.

A unit has a maximum of 3 stars, except a Spartan-commandeered vehicle, which has a maximum of 14 "Veterancy Points" for Scorpions/Grizzlies and Hornets/Sparrowhawks. All other Spartan-commandeered vehicles have a maximum of 13 "Veterancy Points". There are some special units in campaign mode (e.g. ODSTs in the level Anders' Signal) that have a maximum of 6 Veterancy Points.

Leader abilities[edit]

Certain characters belonging to both the Covenant and the UNSC are leaders, which are sub-factions with unique units and bonuses. All of the Covenant leaders appear on the battlefield and have unique in-game abilities. The UNSC leaders on the other hand do not appear on the battlefield, unless on certain campaign missions. They instead have economic bonuses and "super units" (upgrades of normal units). Leaders include Captain James Cutter, Sergeant John Forge, Professor Ellen Anders, Ripa 'Moramee, Avitus, and the Prophet of Regret.

In Campaign, the abilities "Transport", and "Heal and Repair" are available, while other bombs vary between levels. In Skirmish, all of the UNSC leaders have the aforementioned abilities, along with the "Disruption Bomb" ability as well as a bomb depending on the leader.

UNSC Leaders
Leader  Economic bonus  Hero ability Unique ability Unique unit Super unit
Captain Cutter Bases start with Station N/A MAC Blast/ODST Drop Elephant ODST
Sergeant Forge Supply Pads start as Heavy Supply Pads Warthog Ram/Shotgun barrage Carpet Bomb Cyclops Grizzly
Professor Anders Upgrade costs & durations reduced by 50% Repairs Cryo Bomb Gremlin Sparrowhawk
Covenant Leaders
Leader  Hero ability  Unique unit
Arbiter Ripa 'Moramee Rage Suicidal Grunts
Brute Army Commander Vortex Brute/Brute Chopper
Prophet of Regret Cleansing Beam Honor Guard Elites


Main article: Achievements (Halo Wars)

In addition to the eight new achievements from the Historic Battle Map Pack, there are a total of 58 achievements in Halo Wars, worth 1200 Gamerscore.

Main article: Halo Wars skulls

Halo Wars Skulls, just like previous skulls in other Halo games, are hidden in the campaign for the player to find, and when activated, modify gameplay elements. However, unlike previous games, players must eliminate a certain amount of particular enemy units in that level for the skull to appear in the game. When found, skulls are available for the player to activate in the game's pause menu in both campaign and Skirmish. Skulls that put players on the upper hand lowers the their final scores, while "Debuff skulls", skulls that put players in a disadvantageous situation, increase the player's final score. There are still skulls that make no change to the game's difficulty. Some skulls retain the names and effects from previous games, such as Cowbell, Catch, and Grunt Birthday Party.

Black boxes
Main article: Black Boxes

Black Boxes are collectibles in the Halo Wars campaign that when collected, they add new events in the Halo Wars Timeline. They look like black boxes with yellow stripes on them and can be picked up by any unit. When the player collects one they can just resign straight away and they will still have it. The timeline covers many of the important events from the games and the novels. There is only one black box on each campaign level in the game.

Online Stats[edit]

As of February 28, 2010 (or March 1, 2010), Halo Wars and support was transferred from Robot Entertainment to Halo Waypoint. It was stated that Waypoint would provide "exciting plans", but this has yet to come to fruition.[24]

On November 5, 2010, The Halo Wars Leaderboards were reset by popular demand.[24]

On November 16, 2010, it was announced that Halo Wars Online Stat Tracking would no longer be supported. Along with the act, 343 Industries and Halo Waypoint planned to release one final Title Update to fix a cutscene bug in Theater from Title Update 4, and to disconnect the game from the site, moving the forums to Halo Waypoint's. This change was to occur on December 15, 2010.[25] However, on December 8, 2010, 343 Industries and Halo Waypoint announced a reversal in their decision to cease Online Stat Tracking, citing they were "...always uncomfortable with the idea...", and "...decided that the current plan of action was not in line with how we have always intended to support Halo games and the Halo franchise in general."[26] The Halo Wars forums have been merged with Waypoint's forums and since then, Title Updates 5 and 6 have been released.[27]


Halo Wars features a "Skirmish Mode", where the player can battle on multiplayer maps against an AI opponent in 1vs1, 2vs2 and 3vs3 match. There are 14 skirmish and multiplayer maps.[24] There are two modes in Skirmish, Standard and Deathmatch. Three more modes are available if the player has the Strategic Options DLC (800 Microsoft Points): Keepaway, Tug of War, and Reinforcements.

In Standard mode, players start off with a tech level of 0 and 800 resources. All units must be upgraded including turrets and leader abilities. The population limit starts at 30 for the UNSC and 40 for the Covenant. In Deathmatch, players start with 15,000 resources and a tech level of 4 for the UNSC, and 3 for the Covenant (Building a Temple increases the tech level to six, but more importantly give the player the leader). All the player's units, buildings and leader abilities are already fully upgraded. The player's population starts at 15 and they gain 10 population for taking over a base, up to 99. When they lose a base, the population limit goes down by 10. In Keepaway mode, players capture the flag from their opponent and bring it back to their base. In Tug of War mode, the objective is who can field and maintain the strongest army who wins. In Reinforcements mode, the player needs to adapt their tactics as they are granted waves of troops, much like an endurance battle.












Technology and equipment




Pre-Halo Wars Phoenix artwork
Concept art of an "air carrier" from Phoenix.

Halo Wars started life as a project called Phoenix, a real-time strategy game being headed by Graeme Devine featuring Earthlings fighting Martians in a conflict similar to War of the Worlds.[28] This initial codename served as the basis for the name of the Spirit of Fire.[29]

Prior to developing Halo Wars, Ensemble Studios experimented with console control schemes using a modified Age of Mythology engine for a different project.[30] This was essential at the time, as real-time strategy games were unable to provide control schemes that would deliver a good gameplay experience on a console. The studio eventually concluded the experimentation with the concept of a centralized user interface system and settled for micromanagement and base-building and restricted resource gathering and management to bases. About a year later, these concepts were presented to Microsoft, who strongly insisted that the game be rebranded as a Halo title instead;[31] Microsoft doubted that a console RTS game could achieve adequate sales otherwise. Bungie didn't have the manpower to take on the game, and resented the use of the Halo IP in a different genre, going so far as to calling it a "whoring" of the franchise.[32]

Using references material previously planned for the Halo film adaptation, Ensemble had to recreate the game's assets from scratch. The studio focused on ensuring that the individual units are recognizable as being part of the Halo universe from a bird's eye view (a common element in real-time strategy): "[UNSC forces] need to fire lead, and [Covenant forces] need to fire plasma".[31] Renovating the game to take place in the Halo universe required a great deal of effort, despite Microsoft's misconception that the original assets could be simply "paint[ed] over with Halo stuff."[32]

All the cutscenes were pre-rendered CGI sequences created by Blur Studio.[33] This does not include the "vignettes" (introductory and conclusion sequences) which were rendered in-game using the game engine.


Main article: Halo Wars: Original Soundtrack

Ensemble Studios began recording the music for the game in March 2008, with Ensemble's Music and Sound Director, Stephen Rippy, flying to Prague for the orchestral and choral parts and to Seattle for the piano and mixing.[23][34][35]

The music for Halo Wars was composed by Ensemble Studios in-house composer Stephen Rippy, with additional music by his long time collaborator and game Audio Lead Kevin McMullan. It was recorded in Prague, Czech Republic by 45 members of the FILMHarmonic Orchestra and a 21 voice choir at CNSO Studio No. 1.[36] The score was released as a single CD package with a bonus DVD containing additional tracks, 5.1 surround sound mixes of some cues and a behind the scenes video showing the recording sessions of the Halo Wars main theme and various trailers for the game.[37] It was also put up for retail as a digital download over iTunes and Sumthing Digital.[38][39] The response to the score was almost universally enthusiastic, with most critics praising Stephen Rippy's taking the series into new stylistic territory while still paying homage to and reworking classic themes and ideas.[40]

Marketing promotions and release[edit]

Alpha test[edit]

A screenshot taken of an Alpha playtester.

An Alpha test was done for Halo Wars,[23] concluding during May, 2008. The test was open only to several thousand Microsoft employees, including Bungie Studios, in order to locate any bugs or glitches, and to test its performance over Xbox Live. It consisted of a brief "tutorial" and multiplayer, and was "limited to a specific set of units." It is unknown how long the Alpha test was conducted, or when it began.[citation needed]

During the Alpha test, anti-air units were glitched, so that their effectiveness was lessened, and Scorpion tanks and aircraft were extremely powerful. Aircraft strength was lessened to prevent players from sending in air-strikes against the enemy Command Center and crippling them too easily, ruining many a protocol player's chances of victory.[24] This actually isn't an element of the game, but in fact a "balance issue".


Main article: Halo Wars Demo

On February 5, a demo for Halo Wars was released on Xbox Live for the first time for Gold Xbox Live Subscribers. The demo was made available to non-Gold subscribers on February 12. The demo also set a record for most downloaded demo in one day.

The demo had been downloaded over two million times in the week following its debut, setting a "day one record" in its initial release.[41]

Spirit of Fire Archives[edit]

Main article: Spirit of Fire Archives

A series of personal logs, crew reports, and incident reports centered around the staff of the Spirit of Fire were written in the months prior to the release of the game on lead writer Graeme Devine's personal website. These are admitted by the writer to be "basically fanfiction" and are not considered canon, though some elements have made it into the canon proper.


E3 2008[edit]

Main article: Five Long Years Cinematic

Five Long Years is a Halo Wars cinematic preview released on the July 14th of 2008 depicting the five year long struggle to reclaim Harvest from the Covenant, as well as being the first cutscene for the game. The trailer can be downloaded from the Halo Wars official website or here.

An early build was shown on G4's E3 08 LIVE, showing a hands-on demo. Some newer off-screen demos were released, showing how the controls work and how battles proceed.[42]

Field Trip To Harvest[edit]

Field Trip To Harvest is a cinematic preview of the first two cutscenes that was released to the public on October 3, 2008 showing the UNSC's retaking of the planet Harvest and the Covenant's finding of a Forerunner structure.

The Call To Battle[edit]

The Call to Battle is a collection of already known cinematics, but it also shows some campaign maps. The video also shows a higher population limit compared to the final game.

Unknown Trailer Video/ Blur Demo Reel[edit]

On February 8, 2009, the Taiwanese Xbox Live website released a four minute-long trailer which contained spoilers detailing the later story of Halo Wars. It was soon taken down, and other sites which put it up, including, removed it at the request of Microsoft Game Studios. However, several sites still have the video. The music from the trailer has been confirmed to be "Optimus vs. Megatron", a soundtrack from the Transformers movie. It can be watched here. This video is a demo reel of the work done by Blur Studios on the game's cutscenes, and can be viewed in high-definition on their website.[43]

ViDoc: Halo Times Ten[edit]

Main article: Halo Wars ViDoc: Halo Times Ten

On January 23, 2009, the first ViDoc of Halo Wars was released on Xbox LIVE marketplace. It tells how a different perspective can change the gameplay and an announcement of the demo was planned for February the 5th.

ViDoc: Expanding The Arsenal[edit]

Main article: Halo Wars ViDoc: Expanding The Arsenal

On February 3, 2009, the second Halo Wars ViDoc was released. It tells about Spartans and hero unit abilities.

ViDoc: Strategy on Xbox[edit]

Main article: Halo Wars ViDoc: Strategy on Xbox

On February 12, 2009, the third Halo Wars ViDoc was released. It describes the controls featured and what expectation there are of the game. Like the previous ViDocs, this one also featured cinematic scenes.

ViDoc: Jaws of Victory[edit]

Main article: Halo Wars ViDoc: Jaws of Victory

On February 19, 2009 the fourth Halo Wars ViDoc was released. It informs the viewer about tactics, including multiplayer and the developers' tactics.

Merchandise and Promotions[edit]

Features Standard Limited
Image of contents HaloWarsWithTeen.jpg Halo-wars-limited-edition-box-art.jpg
Game disc & manual Yes Yes
Halo Wars: Genesis No Yes
Halo 3: Mythic Map Pack No Yes
6 Leader cards No Yes
UNSC Spirit of Fire emblem patch No Yes
Honor Guard Wraith No Yes

Halo Wars was released in two separate versions. The Standard Edition contains the game disc and manual. The Limited Edition, contained in a metal case, contains the game disc, manual, the Halo Wars: Genesis graphic novel, a one-time only code to download the Halo 3: Mythic Map Pack for free, six Leader cards, which show information on all six UNSC and Covenant leaders, a UNSC Spirit of Fire embroidered ship emblem patch and the Honor Guard Wraith. The GameStop Limited Edition included an excerpt of the Halo Wars: Official Strategy Guide, detailing strategies for the campaign mission Relic Approach.

A special in-game "Fireball Warthog" unit is only available to customers who pre-ordered Halo Wars.

Release and reception[edit]

Halo Wars received generally positive reviews. Will Porter of IGN praised the developers for creating the atmosphere in "musky UNSC-scent" by using familiar sound effects, and for creating an "RTS that works, and works well, on console."[44] The storyline, although "mystical and slightly wonky", was presented well through Blur's "stunningly-rendered CG cut-scenes".[44] The campaign was praised for its "imaginative flair", but Porter also described it as "incredibly linear" and "over all too quickly".[44] In addition, he lamented over how the units' effectiveness over each other are left to the player to explore, which was even more obvious for the Covenant in multiplayer. He praised multiplayer for its wide variety of possible gametypes, and, when combined with a slower pace with the opponents, they create replay value.[44] Other criticisms of the game were how "it rarely feels like [the player is] playing a sentient opponent" in campaign, and that cooperative play "[leaves] each player in the dark as to exactly what their counterpart is up to".[44] Porter rated the game 8.2/10, comparing its uniqueness among RTS games akin to how Halo: Combat Evolved was able to set itself apart from other FPS games, and praised the game for being able to satisfy both RTS fans and Halo fans.[44]

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By March 19, 2009, the game had sold 1 million copies, with 118 total years of time spent in online skirmish matches.[45]


Halo Wars show reel

  • On the cover of Halo Wars, Jerome-092's helmet visor reflects the Arbiter and part of the honor stave on cover from the Limited Collector's Edition, implying that the two sides are meant to be "facing" each other.
  • According to a concept art note, there would have been Sangheili heretic "creep units" that would've been recruitable. The note also makes mention of similar "rogue" cyclops units.
  • Before Ensemble conceived the idea for The Apex, the storyline was supposed to feature a Covenant mining asteroid that was located at a Forerunner ore refining mechanism. This concept tries to show the scale of the large Forerunner machinery in place with machines that are still operational, although now controlled by the Covenant. In the end the mining aspect of the story was removed from the game.[46]
  • The Doritos snack food held a sweepstakes where the winner got a voice role in the game.[47] The winner was Nate Beeler, who voiced a Pelican pilot on mission 5.
  • Canada-based Mega Brands has released several Halo Wars construction sets.
  • Halogen, a conversion mod for the real-time strategy game Command and Conquer: Generals, was halted by Microsoft when Halo Wars began in development.
  • The backside of the Halo Wars case shows a Protos Scarab from the game's early development, although in final gameplay, the model is a Deutoros Scarab.
  • A promotional image for Halo Wars appeared briefly in the background of the 2014 E3 Phantom Dust trailer.[48]
  • Halo Wars lead writer Graeme Devine described a brief outline of how the game would have continued. The core of Shield 0459 transported Forge to another location in space, thus saving him from the shield world's destruction. Anders, who had programmed to release herself from her cryochamber shortly after Cutter entered cryostasis, followed Forge's signal and directed UNSC Spirit of Fire to his location. After three years, one hundred and seven days, Cutter was awakened by Serina, Anders and Forge.[49]



Box art[edit]

Promotional images[edit]

Concept art[edit]



  1. ^ Kotaku: CES 09: Whoops! Halo Wars Release Date Still March 3
  2. ^ Halo Wars (Xbox 360)
  3. ^ Halo Waypoint: Halo Wars
  4. '^ Kotaku: Halo Wars (Xbox 360)
  6. ^ Halo Waypoint: Halo Wars: DE Early Access
  7. ^ Halo Wars, campaign level Alpha Base
  8. ^ Halo Wars, campaign level Relic Approach
  9. ^ Halo Wars, campaign level Relic Interior
  10. ^ Halo Wars, campaign level Arcadia City
  11. ^ Halo Wars, campaign level Arcadia Outskirts
  12. ^ Halo Wars, campaign level Dome of Light
  13. ^ Halo Wars, campaign level Scarab
  14. ^ Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 180
  15. ^ Halo Wars, campaign level Anders' Signal
  16. ^ Halo Wars, campaign level The Flood
  17. ^ Halo Wars, campaign level Shield World
  18. ^ Halo Wars, campaign level Cleansing
  19. ^ Halo Wars, campaign level Repairs
  20. ^ Halo Wars, campaign level Beachhead
  21. ^ Halo Wars, campaign level Reactor
  22. ^ Halo Wars, campaign level Escape
  23. ^ a b c Joystiq: Halo Wars Alpha Spotted on Xbox Live
  24. ^ a b c d Official Halo Wars Community Site
  25. ^ Official Halo Wars Community Site: Halo Waypoint Transitions (Please Read)
  26. ^ Official Halo Wars Community Site: Halo Wars Stat-Tracking To Continue
  27. ^ Giant Bomb: Halo Wars Title Updates
  28. ^ GamaSutra, Ensemble Studios: The Last Tour (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
  29. ^ Twitter, Graeme Devine (@zaphodgjd): "The “Spirit of Fire” spaceship name from Halo Wars is a direct reference to the code name for the project which was “Phoenix”." (Retrieved on Oct 19, 2020) [archive]
  30. ^ Worthplaying: "Halo Wars" (X360) Developer Interview Part 1
  31. ^ a b Gamasutra: Q&A: How Ensemble Gets Halo Fans To Appreciate Halo Wars
  32. ^ a b GameIndustry: Tony Goodman: "The publisher as we know it may become extinct"
  33. ^ Blur Studio Work: Animation, Design, VFX
  34. ^ Official Halo Wars Community Site: Halo Wars Monthly Update 03/27/08
  35. ^ Interview-Graeme Divine.
  36. ^ Official Halo Wars Community Site: Over and Out
  37. ^ Amazon: Halo Wars / Game O.S.T.
  38. ^ iTunes - Music: Halo Wars (Original Soundtrack)
  39. ^ Sumthing Digital: Halo Wars Original Soundtrack
  40. ^ Original Sound Version: Under a Dark Halo: The Brooding Sounds of the Halo Wars Original Soundtrack (Review)
  41. ^ Shack News: Halo Wars Demo Downloaded Over 2 Million Times, Sets New Record
  42. ^ IGN - Xbox 360: Halo Wars Video — TGS 2008: Beating Mission (Off-Screen Demo)
  43. ^ Blur Studio - Halo Wars
  44. ^ a b c d e f IGN: Halo Wars UK Review
  45. ^ Gamasutra: Halo Wars Sells 1 Million
  46. ^ Official Halo Wars Community Site: On an Asteroid far far Away...
  47. ^ Official Xbox Magazine, "Issue 74", page 32
  48. ^ Youtube - Halo Wars 2 Teased In Phantom Dust Trailer?
  49. ^ Reddit: Halo Wars - Halo Wars AMA with Graeme Devine is here!
  50. ^ Twitter, @zaphodgjd: "Old old concept poster for Halo Wars." (Retrieved on Oct 19, 2020) [archive]

Related links[edit]