Halo 3 Hub
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Halo 3 is the third mainline first-person shooter game in the Halo franchise. Released in September 2007 for the Xbox 360, the game is the conclusion to the original trilogy storyline started in Halo: Combat Evolved and continued in Halo 2. With Covenant divided by civil war, the Flood loose, the Halo Array primed for firing and Earth under siege by the forces of the Prophet of Truth, the Master Chief finds himself in a race against time to ensure the survival of Earth, humanity and all life in the galaxy.
Halo 3 is the third mainline first-person shooter game in the Halo franchise, and a sequel to Halo 2. Developed primarily by Bungie and published by Xbox Game Studios, Halo 3 released on September 25, 2007 on the Xbox 360, later becoming playable on Xbox One via backward compatibility and inclusion in Halo: The Master Chief Collection, with a launch for PC in Summer of 2020. The game was the first Halo to be released on the Xbox 360 console, and was first revealed at E3 2006.
Halo 3 features an extensive single-player campaign, focusing on the efforts of the Master Chief as he attempts to save the galaxy from the Covenant and the Flood. The game can support two players on split-screen, with the second player playing as the Arbiter, while up to four players can play in co-operative campaign over Xbox LIVE - with players three and four taking the role of Elite allies N'tho 'Sraom and Usze 'Taham.
Due to the onset of the Great Schism in Halo 2, one of the biggest changes to Halo 3 campaign gameplay is the replacement of the Elites with the Brutes as the primary enemy type. To support their new role in the Covenant, the Brutes have been outfitted with a whole new suite of weapons, vehicles and armor to ensure their leadership goes unchallenged.
Halo 3 features a number of collectibles and easter eggs within its campaign levels, for unlock by the player. Most prominent among these are the Skulls and the Terminals. Each level features a hidden skull that, once picked up, can then activate unique gameplay effects to increase the game difficulty or add humorous effect.
The Terminals feature as a series of hidden text logs detailing the final days of the Forerunners' war with the Flood, serving as cryptic conversations and logs with deep links to lore from earlier media such as IRIS and later media such as The Forerunner Saga.
Halo 3 features an extensive multiplayer component, playable with up to four players via splitscreen and up to sixteen players over Xbox LIVE. The primary multiplayer component is played through online Matchmaking, though players are also able to create and edit custom map variants in Forge and play with custom rulesets and minigames in the Custom Games lobby. The game also features the Theater, allowing players to replay previous matches with the ability to pause, fast-forward, re-wind and free-cam.
Halo 3 allows players to battle each other in a variety of team-based and free-for-all multiplayer modes via the use of Matchmaking. In online multiplayer, players compete to win gamemodes across a varity of maps and modes, relying on skill to win. Matchmaking play allows players to increase their rank and unlock new armor and achievements.
Forge is a new addition to the Halo games, allowing players to place, edit and move objects placed around the various multiplayer levels. These changes can range from weapon and item placement tweaks to entire structures and minigames to art and aesthetic creations!
Custom Games are an additional component of Halo 3 multiplayer, allowing players to play custom map and gametype combinations with up to 16 players.
Halo 3 ships with 11 multiplayer maps on the disc, with a further 13 added across the DLC. All Halo 3 DLC is now permanently free on the Xbox LIVE marketplace, and is included in the Halo 3 component of Halo: The Master Chief Collection and the Halo 3: Mythic disc included with Halo 3: ODST.
Halo 3 supports a wide range of gametypes, allowing for a variety of playstyles ranging from small-team competitive deathmatch to large-scale capture the flag with vehicles. Custom game settings allow players to customise these game settings even further, allowing for the creation of unique minigames and game variants.
Between 2007 and 2010, Halo 3 had five sets of downloadable content released in the form of multiplayer map packs. These map packs (with the exception of Cold Storage) released for 800 Microsoft Points, though as of 2017 have been made permanently free downloads for Halo 3 players on Xbox 360 and via backward-compatibility. All DLC content is additionally included in the Halo 3: Mythic disc released with Halo 3: ODST, and included in the Halo 3 component of Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
The Heroic Map Pack was released on December 11, 2007 and consists of three new maps; Foundry, Rat's Nest and Standoff. Foundry emphasises an expansion of the Forge mode, while Rat's Nest and Standoff focus on mid-large team action with an emphasis on vehiclular combat.
The Mythic Map Pack was released in 2009 and was included in the limited edition release of Halo Wars and later released on April 9, 2009 for all players. Mythic includes three all-new maps, Assembly, Orbital and Sandbox.
Released in celebration of Bungie Day 2008, Cold Storage is a remake of the map Chill Out from Halo: Combat Evolved. Cold Storage was released for all players for free as a single map download on July 7, 2008.
The Legendary Map Pack was the second map pack released for Halo 3, released on April 15, 2008. It consists of three new maps; Avalanche, Blackout and Ghost Town. Avalanche is a massive big-team map and a remake of Combat Evolved's Sidewinder, while Blackout serves as a small-team remake of Halo 2's Lockout. Ghost Town serves as a small-mid sized map set in a water processing plant deep within the jungles of Kenya.
The Mythic II Map Pack is the second part of the Mythic map set, initially bundled with the Halo 3: Mythic disc and later released for all players on February 2, 2010. As the last map pack released for Halo 3, the map contains three final maps; a remake of Halo 2's Midship now-named Heretic and two new maps Citadel and Longshore.
John-117, better known as the Master Chief, is the main character of the Halo franchise, and the protagonist of Halo 3. A SPARTAN-II, he was kidnapped at the age of six by the UNSC's Office of Naval Intelligence and trained from a young age to be the "ultimate soldier", before being given biological augmentations and powerful MJOLNIR armour. The Master Chief was responsible for destroying the ancient superweapon of Installation 04, before eventually fighting for Earth and leading the assassination of the Prophet of Regret on Delta Halo. At the culmination of the conflict, John smuggled himself aboard the Prophet of Truth's dreadnaught to return to Earth and finish the fight.
Thel 'Vadam, more commonly known as the Arbiter, is a key supporting character of Halo 3 and a key ally of the Master Chief. This disgraced Sangheili warrior was the former commander of the Covenant fleet encountered in the first Halo game, before being branded a heretic by the Covenant for his failures. The Arbiter now seeks to lead his people against the Prophet of Truth and his Brute allies in revenge for the Prophets' lies, and forge an uncertain alliance with humanity.
The Prophet of Truth is the final survivor of the three Hierarchs who lead the Covenant. Having orchestrated the Changing of the Guard and the ensuing Covenant civil war, the Prophet is hell-bent on activating the Halo rings to ascend into godhood. The Prophet departed High Charity at the end of Halo 2 with the Master Chief in tow, and is now laying siege to the Earth with his armies of ever-loyal Brutes.
Commander Miranda Keyes is a UNSC Naval officer and the daughter of the late UNSC Pillar of Autumn Captain Jacob Keyes. Miranda was the commander of the UNSC forces deployed to Delta Halo, before being captured by the Covenant and eventually pivotal in forging the alliance with the Arbiter and his Elites. Keyes now leads the human resistance forces on Earth from a hidden facility deep within the jungles of Kenya.
Cortana is a human artificial intelligence, who served as a companion and friend to the Master Chief throughout the first two Halo games. She was created from a clone of the brain of renowned scientist Dr. Catherine Halsey, once the director of the SPARTAN-II program. During the conflict on Delta Halo, Cortana was left behind on the Covenant capital-station High Charity to ensure the destruction of the parasite if necessary, while John-117 returned to Earth alone. Cortana's whereabouts are now unknown, though her accrued knowledge and experience may hold the key to ending the Covenant and the Flood permanently.
Sergeant Avery Johnson is a UNSC Marine Corps veteran and long time friend of John-117. The Sergeant was involved in several major anti-Insurrection missions prior to the war with the Covenant, and was one of the first humans to encounter the Covenant on the planet Harvest in 2525. Since first contact, Johnson has fought alongside the Master Chief and his fellow SPARTAN-IIs on dozens of campaigns for nearly twenty-eight years, and now joins John-117 in defending the most important planet of all - Earth.
343 Guilty Spark is the ancient AI custodian of Installation 04, built by the Forerunners. Although the years have taken their toll on him, he remains dedicated to protecting the array and ensuring the prevention of the spread of the Flood. While he opposed John-117's efforts in Halo: Combat Evolved, he now stands as an ally of the UNSC and the Elites as long as they are dedicated to stopping the Prophet of Truth and the Gravemind.
The Gravemind is the centralised hive-mind intelligence that leads the armies of the Flood parasite. Imprisoned on Delta Halo for millennia, the Gravemind was able to escape following the outbreak of conflict on the ring, managing to find its way onto High Charity. The intelligence has since converted the Covenant holy city into a mobile hive capable of sundering entire planets, and is now preparing to lead a massive attack on Earth.
The United Nations Space Command (UNSC) is the military arm of the Unified Earth Government, the primary governing body of humanity's interstellar empire. Although it had much experience countering rebellions and insurrections throughout its history, the UNSC's mettle was first truly tested by its war with the Covenant, a conglomeration of aliens who viewed humanity as an affront to their gods and sought to exterminate them. The UNSC has fought a losing war against the Covenant for twenty-eight years and now has its back against the wall defending the human homeworld - Earth.
The Covenant separatists are the former-Covenant personnel led by the Arbiter now caught up in the civil war against the Prophet of Truth. Primarily composed of Elites, the separatists have allied themselves with the UNSC in recognition of their mutual enemies - and may be the only guarantee for humanity's survival in the near-future. The separatist Fleet of Retribution is one of the most visible elements of the separatists' military power.
The Covenant is a union of several alien species, brought together by faith and fervor to worship the Forerunners and search for the Halo rings. Due to misinterpretations of Forerunner scripture, the Covenant believe that lighting the rings will allow all true believers to ascend into godhood, and will stop at nothing to achieve this. More recently, the Covenant has become embroiled in a bitter civil war between the former-leadership caste of the Elites and their instilled replacements, the Brutes. Led by the High Prophet of Truth, the Brute-led loyalists now pose a grave threat to all life in the galaxy.
The Ecumene was the ruling government of the Forerunners, before their civilization mysteriously vanished one hundred millennia ago. The Forerunners constructed the Halo Array and a number of other artifacts now scattered across the galaxy, and ultimately came into contact with the Flood. The Forerunners warred against the Flood for centuries, but were ultimately forced to use the Halos to wipe out all life in the galaxy to stop the Flood, and now their only relics are the gargantuan megastructures they left behind.
The Flood is an alien parasitic life form and the ultimate threat to life in the Milky Way galaxy. The Flood has been contained on Forerunner installations for millennia, and was able to escape thanks to the actions of the Covenant on Delta Halo. In control of the Covenant space station High Charity, the Flood is now poised to begin an invasion of Earth and finish the work they started 100,000 years ago.
Voi is an industrial port town in East Africa, now-situated on the outermost edge of the Artifact. The town has since come under occupation by the Covenant, and is now the site of numerous anti-air batteries preventing an aerial assault on the Artifact beyond.
Tsavo is a desert expanse in Kenya. The wastes have become a vicious battleground for humanity and the Covenant in Africa, the landscape littered with the skeletal remains of the fallen Mombasa Orbital Elevator. Controlling the highway running through the region could be key to ensuring victory on Earth.
Crow's Nest is an old military facility located in Kenya, and now the primary operating base of the UNSC resistance forces in the East Africa region. Crow's Nest hosts a large garrison of Marines, and is the last bastion for UNSC holdouts against the Covenant on Earth.
The Artifact is a gargantuan Forerunner megastructure of unknown purpose buried beneath the sands of Africa. When the Covenant invaded Earth, they concentrated all of their forces on the East African megacity of New Mombasa. Within the day, the aliens had begun digging and excavating a massive Forerunner relic hidden beneath the Earth for unknown millennia. Now, the Excession at Voi has been uncovered, and the Forerunner Dreadnought has made landfall on its surface. The UNSC now believes the Artifact to be the Ark - the key to activating - or preventing the activation of - Halo.
The Ark, officially designated Installation 00, is a large megastructure constructed by the Forerunners and situated outside of the Milky Way galaxy. Safe from the effect Halo array's firing thanks to its distance, the Ark served as a refuge for species preserved by the Forerunners and reseeded following the Great Purification. The central forges of the Ark strip-mine the planetoid in the centre for resources used in constructing Halo rings.
UNSC Forward Unto Dawn is a Charon-class light frigate in service with the UNSC Navy and captained by Commander Miranda Keyes. The frigate is one of the few surviving vessels of the UNSC Home Fleet left to defend Earth after weeks of battling the Covenant in space.
Anodyne Spirit, more commonly known as the Forerunner Dreadnought, is a titanic Forerunner spacecraft now commanded by the Prophet of Truth. For millennia, the ship sat at the heart of High Charity as a symbol of the Covenant's unification and a limitless power supply for the city, but was used to escape the outbreak of the Flood parasite during the onset of the Covenant civil war. John-117 was last seen aboard the Dreadnought, as it made its way toward Earth.
Shadow of Intent is a CAS-class assault carrier formerly under Brute control and now commandeered by Elite commander Rtas 'Vadum. The carrier now serves as the flagship of the Arbiter's Fleet of Retribution, and a vital prize for either side of the war.
UNSC Aegis Fate is another Charon-class light frigate in service of the UNSC Navy. It serves alongside Forward Unto Dawn in Battle Group Victory to defend the Earth, and can be seen in the skybox of the multiplayer level Sandtrap.
Indulgence of Conviction is a Ket-pattern battlecruiser formerly of Covenant service. During the Battle of Installation 05, the vessel fought in orbit above the installation, and was part of the effort to quarantine the Flood outbreak on High Charity and in the Covenant fleet. Ultimately, the ship succumbed to the infection and, having broken the quarantine of the Coelest system, is now on a path to transport armies of the Flood to Earth.
High Charity was the holy city and crown jewel at the heart of the Covenant empire. For millennia, High Charity boasted the seat of the Hierarchy and the High Council alongside numerous ministries and billions of Covenant citizens. The city fell to the Flood in the battle at Delta Halo, and is now occupied by the gargantuan Gravemind and untold hordes of the Flood.
Humans are a mammalian species that expanded out into the galaxy. After a disastrous first contact, humans are facing near extinction due to the Human-Covenant War. The UNSC, the primary fighting force for the human species has attempted to fight for survival but has now been pushed back to their cradleworld - Earth. John-117, one of the most legendary SPARTAN-IIs is Earth's and humanity's best hope for survival.
The Elites are a saurian species from Sanghelios, who were one of the founding members of the Covenant and one of the former leadership castes. The Hierarch Prophet of Truth betrayed the Elites beginning a large scale civil war. Some Elites have joined the separatist Fleet of Retribution led by the Arbiter and have allied with humanity.
The Brutes are mammalian species from Doisac, added relatively recently to the Covenant. With the help of the Prophet of Truth, the Brutes have replaced and become embroiled in a civil war with the Elites. The Brutes remain steadfast and loyal to the Prophet of Truth. Their most fearsome warriors are the Brute Chieftains who wield the Brute created gravity hammer.
The Grunts are a small, methane breathing arthopodal species from Balaho. Acting as the frontline infantry of the Covenant for entire war, a number of Grunts have chosen to side with the Brutes and the Prophet of Truth. Unlike other members of the Covenant, they breathe through specially designed methane tanks on their backs.
The Jackals are an avian species from Eayn. Mostly known for being pirates, the Jackals have maintained a position in the Covenant for hundreds of years. Following the beginning of the civil war, they have chosen to side with the Brutes and Prophet of Truth. When not in sniping roles, they are often seen with their wrist mounted shields.
The Hunters are a formed colony of small worm-like creatures named the Lekgolo from the gas giant of Te. One of the more enigmatic species of the Covenant, some Hunters have chosen to side with the Brutes and Prophet of Truth where they act as a large, formidable force.
The Drones, or Buggers, are a flight-capable insectoid species from Palamok. Like the Jackals, the Drones have been a part of the Covenant for hundreds of years. As with other species, when the civil war broke out, many Drones chose to side with the Brutes and the Prophet of Truth.
The Flood is a hostile all-consuming parasite that nearly destroyed all life in the Milk Way 100,000 years ago. The Flood that was being studied on Delta Halo, managed to escape the ring thanks to the battles going on there and infect the mobile station/city of High Charity. Now, the Flood is positioning itself to infect Earth and wipe out all the species of galaxy.
Halo: Uprising picked up where Halo 2 left off, and bridges the gap between that game and the opening of Halo 3. The four-part comic series details the Master Chief's attempts to pursue the Prophet of Truth aboard the Keyship, while also providing a glimpse into the ongoing battle for Earth, focused on Ruwan Ackerson and the Covenant invasion of Cleveland.
IRIS is an alternate reality game created and run in the buildup to Halo 3, detailing the Forerunner AI Adjutant Reflex and the ultimate downfall of the Forerunner civilization 100,000 years ago. The ARG has deep ties to the Terminals and included the release of the one-off webcomic Halo 3: The Cradle of Life. The Halopedia archive maintains archives of the original IRIS website, which can be viewed here.
Halo 3: ODST is a standalone game released in 2009 - two years after Halo 3 - and built on the Halo 3 engine. Despite this, Halo 3: ODST is a prequel story set during the events of Halo 2, following the actions of a squad of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers fighting in New Mombasa. The game helps bridge the gap between Halo 2 and Halo 3, showcasing the fighting on Earth outside of the Master Chief's perspective.
Halo: Landfall is a series of live-action short films created by Neill Blomkamp and WETA Workshop to market Halo 3. Divided into three shorts; Arms Race, Combat and Last One Standing, the series depicts a Misriah Armory munitions factory on Mars and the actions of several Orbital Drop Shock Troopers during the Battle of Sector Six on Earth, taking place simultaneously with Halo 3's opening.
Believe was a marketing campaign conducted for Halo 3, comprising of a number of trailers and other advertisements - many of which framed as in-universe interviews with veterans and survivors of the war with the Covenant. Most notably, the Believe campaign created a massive diorama depicting a huge battle between UNSC Marines and Covenant Brutes, culminating in the depiction of the Master Chief captured by a Brute Chieftain. The old Believe website, while now defunct, is now available to view in its entirety thanks to the Halopedia archive, and can be viewed here (Flash player required).
The Lost City is a visual look-development level that was developed during the production of Halo 3. The level was based around a Forerunner city and was described as being so immense that ""it could be a game in itself".
The Medical Troop Warthog is a Warthog type included in the files of Halo 3 but is inaccessible during gameplay. It's appearance is that of a Troop Warthog, but with two benches being replaced with stretchers.
The Standard Edition is the regular edition of the original release of Halo 3. It contains the game disc, the Halo 3 Instruction Manual, and the standard cover/sleeve. The case it comes in is the standard green plastic that Xbox 360 games come in.
The Limited Edition is the next edition up from the Standard. It features everything from the standard edition plus a three-way folding steel container, the Bestiarum (which details some lore elements of the species and civilizations of the Halo universe), an extra disc featuring the "Making of Halo 3", and more.
The Legendary Edition is the final edition type. It contains most of the same features and elements than the previous two editions plus: a scaled down model of Master Chief's MJOLNIR Mark IV helmet, the Warthog Launch flashgame, the legendary DVD with extra developer commentary and insight and more.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection is a compilation of all the first-person shoot games of the Halo franchise, save for Halo 5: Guardians. Halo 3 is included with its multiplayer, campaign and Forge integrated. These elements are playable alongside and back to back with other Halo titles. Halo 3 is only playable on PC through Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
Believe is a campaign focus on several connected in-universe events and story elements. This includes a historic recollections of the Second Battle of Mombasa in 2610, the introduction to the Museum of Humanity and the story of Jake Courage a long with many more smaller elements. The old Believe website, while now defunct, is now available to view in its entirety thanks to the Halopedia archives, and can be viewed here (Flash player required).
IRIS was a forum based alternate reality game for Halo 3. IRIS details both the story of the Forerunners, fighting against the Flood as well as the Society of the Ancients. The Halopedia archive maintains archives of the original IRIS website, which can be viewed here (Flash player required).
The Halo 3 announcement trailer was a trailer shown off at E3 2006. It features Master Chief on Earth as the Covenant flyby, along with the ghostly apparitions of Cortana.
The Halo 3 E3 2007 Trailer was a trailer shown off at E3 2007. It features numerous gameplay and cutscene footage from the campaign of Halo 3.
Starry Night is a short, mixed live action/CGI film about the Master Chief's childhood and as well as one battle on Earth as an adult soldier.
Darkness is a short trailer for the Legendary Map Pack that is primarily composed of gameplay footage of the three maps in the pack along with a reading of a poem written by George Byron.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
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Q: When was Halo 3 released?
A: Halo 3 was released on September 25, 2007, for Xbox 360 devices.
Q: What platforms can I play Halo 3 on?
A: Halo 3 was originally released on Xbox 360, and this version of the game is now backwards compatible on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S devices. Additionally, Halo 3 is included in the Master Chief Collection, a collection of all first-person-shooter Halo games released for Xbox and Xbox 360. The collection provides numerous minor improvements to Halo 3 such as 1080p and 4K UHD support, 60fps and cross-game play with other Halo titles included in the collection. The Master Chief Collection is currently available on Xbox One and will be available for Xbox Series X, though the Halo 3 component of the game is set to launch on PC in the near-future.
Q: Can I install Halo 3 and Halo 3: Mythic onto my Xbox 360 hard drive?
A: While you can install Halo 3 onto your Xbox 360 hard drive, you will experience longer load times due to how Halo 3 dealt with cache regarding the map files. This issue will not affect the game on the Xbox One family of consoles and Halo 3 on the Master Chief Collection.
Q: When will Halo 3 release on PC?
A: Halo 3 is set to be released on July 14, 2020, on PC.
Q: Do I need to be familiar with any other Halo media?
A: Halo 3 begins mere hours after the final cutscene of Halo 2 and continues most of its plot elements. Meaning that players should be familiar with the events that transpired in that game in order to fully understand the plot of this game.