The Pillar of Autumn
From Halopedia, the Halo wiki
For more articles of the same name, see The Pillar of Autumn (disambiguation).
The Pillar of Autumn is the first level in the campaign of Halo: Combat Evolved and the Halo game series overall. The UNSC Pillar of Autumn, having escaped the destruction of Reach, has arrived near a strange object. Unfortunately, the Covenant, who are here as well, attack the ship. Master Chief Petty Officer SPARTAN John-117 is awakened from his cryo-sleep and makes his way to the bridge of the titular ship to be debriefed by Captain Jacob Keyes about their current situation. After the brief meeting, the Master Chief, with his AI companion Cortana, makes his way off the ship via a Bumblebee escape pod.
Fades into space. Installation 04 is visible above Threshold. The Pillar of Autumn appears, moving slowly toward the ring. Longsword escorts soar alongside. In Anniversary, the camera fades into the Autumn and pans to show Installation 04 and Threshold as the ship moves.
The camera slowly turns and zooms in on the Pillar of Autumn.
Inside the ship's bridge, the camera focuses on Keyes.
Keyes begins pacing around, looking at viewscreens.
Keyes looks at a bridge crewman's console.
The crewman presses some buttons. The screen shows a diagram of Threshold with Installation 04 in orbit.
Keyes examines the main screen, pulls his pipe out of his mouth and shakes some ash off it. He closes his eyes wearily.
Alarm klaxon sounds. Crewmen run towards their stations.
Cortana's avatar appears on a holotank.
Cuts to the one of the launch bays of the Pillar of Autumn. A Marine waves light batons to guide a Pelican into the correct docking position. The view moves towards the lower deck.
Marines get in two lines, facing each other. Johnson walks down the column between the formation.
The Marines break formation and run out of the area, as Johnson follows them slowly.
Cut to a computer screen.
The crewmen begin pressing buttons.
Note: Testing only happens in single-player, on Easy and Normal difficulties.
Tube cover lifts itself, Shephard, standing in front of it, salutes.
The Chief looks around.
The heads-up display's health bars appear.
The Master Chief gets out of the cryo chamber. On Cooperative Play, a second Spartan also gets out from a cryo chamber next to the Chief's.
Shephard walks over, soon Master Chief follows him and stands on a red square.
If Chief does not face Shephard or begins to wander:
When the Chief faces Shephard and stands on the square:
Chief looks at the flashing lights.
The pitch is inverted.
The Chief looks at the panel.
The Chief decides the way he wants.
Cortana then proceeds to give PA announcements coordinating the crew's defense against the Covenant boarders that loop till John-117 meets Keyes on the bridge.
If Chief does not look at Shepard.
If Chief does not stand on the square
The Chief steps into the square.
The Chief's shield meter appears, and charges to full.
The Chief's shields get depleted, and recharge themselves again.
Banging is heard on one of the observation chamber doors. An alarm activates and flashes red.
The Sangheili turns around and tries to shoot at the Master Chief from above, but can't get through the glass. The Sangheili runs off.
Shephard unlocks the exit door.
If the level is played on Heroic or Legendary, gameplay begins here.
Shephard leads Master Chief out of Cryo Two and down a corridor. Shephard tries to open the second door, which explodes, killing him. The Master Chief leaves the area and sees crewmen battling the Covenant while another crewman is killed by an explosion.
A few crewmen run into the room while the blast doors are closing.
A crewman runs away from the blast door, with a second directly behind him.
The crewman is killed by an explosion just as he reaches the blast doors, which shut slowly.
If Chief lingers around the area:
The Chief finds his way to a corridor intersection where (on Easy and Normal) he comes face to face with a Sangheili Minor. It growls at him but is suddenly attacked by Marines, and the Sangheili flees behind a closing door.
The Chief follows Dubbo through an emptied armory with a few dead or wounded Marines. Outside there's another fight between the crew and the Covenant. The Chief arrives just in time to witness a crewman being killed in an explosion.
The blast doors close, locking the Covenant out.
The Chief and Dubbo get to the bridge:
The Chief approaches Keyes.
Keyes turns away from the main view screen and shakes the Master Chief's hand.
Cortana's avatar appears on the holotank.
A loud explosion rocks the bridge. The Chief lurches and Keyes grabs a pedestal for support.
Cortana's avatar disappears.
Cortana's avatar reappears.
Cortana looks around the bridge for one last time, then sighs.
Captain Keyes pulls a data chip out of the holotank and Cortana disappears. He gives the chip to the Master Chief.
The Chief slides the chip into the back of his helmet.
AI Constructs and Cyborgs First!
Keyes hands his pistol to the Chief.
If Chief lingers next to Captain Keyes:
If Chief stays on the bridge but not next to Captain Keyes:
If Chief uses the pistol to kill Captain Keyes or any crewmen:
The doors leading to bridge lock up. Invincible Marines come in and quickly kill the Master Chief, taunting him afterward.
When Chief moves away from Keyes, the PA announcements Cortana was doing is replaced by PA announcements by Keyes. These loop till the end of the mission.
Continuing, without killing anyone on the bridge, the Chief picks up ammunition for the pistol, and meets three Unggoy, who he quickly deals with. He enters the door on the opposite wall and sees groups of Marines engaging the Covenant in the mess hall.
The Chief steps over a body of a dead Marine and picks up an Assault Rifle.
From here to the end of the level, if Chief takes a hit with his shields down:
The Chief clears the mess hall then heads out into the corridors. He comes across a group of three Marines fighting a Sangheili. After he helps them kill the Sangheili, the ship is rocked by a violent explosion.
An explosion comes from the airlock, caused by a Covenant boarding vessel crashing into the ship, killing the two Marines standing guard next to it. Covenant troops pour into the corridor. The Chief and the Marines eliminate them. If John-117 enters the Covenant boarding craft:
The Chief leaves the airlock area.
The Chief finds a trio of Marines fighting Covenant while taking cover behind Combat Barriers.
The Chief enters a room where the Covenant are on a ledge above him. Marines engage the boarders by taking cover behind the central staircase.
After the battle on the ledges, the Chief climbs the staircase to the second floor. The Chief sees a lifepod launching with pulse lasers bursting all around the airlocks.
Plasma torpedoes continue to hit the hull. Three lifepods launch from the airlocks in sequence. The third one is hit by enemy fire and explodes.
The Chief passes a set blast doors, the blast door closes, leaving any of the surviving accompanying Marines behind the door.
Note: The following only occurs in Easy and Normal difficulties.
The Chief enters the access tunnel, and after eliminating two Unggoy who were exploring the tunnel, he finds an opening.
The Chief approaches the first door. Red dots surround his position on the motion tracker.
The Chief finds another locked door. Red dots still appear on the motion tracker.
The Chief finds an unlocked door leading into a darkened room.
On Easy and Normal, the Chief encounters a broken door.
The Chief melees the door and it opens.
As the Chief crosses through the control room for his cryo bay, he sees a trio of Sangheili looking around in the bay.
The Sangheili intruders spot the Master Chief, open fire on him (with no effect due to the glass protection), and soon leave the cryo bay.
The Chief leaves the control room and makes his way to another access tunnel.
Later, while the Chief passes through a damaged part of the ship:
The Chief fights his way to the final airlock. With the help of the surviving Marines, the Spartan defeats the immediate Covenant forces around the last airlock.
The Chief heads for the last airlock.
A Marine heads for the airlock, but is thrown to the ground by an explosion.
The Marine looks behind him and sees the Master Chief, who picks him up and throws him into the life pod.
The Chief sweeps his rifle into the hallway one last time to check for enemies, and then enters the lifeboat. He grabs onto a handhold on the ceiling, while the Marine he picked up crawls into a seat.
The pilot seals her eye visor. The lifeboat launches out of the airlock.
The Chief pats him on the shoulder.
The Chief steps up front. Halo swings into view and the Bumblebee drops towards it.
The Chief dashes to the back of the lifeboat, and watches the Autumn.
The Autumn accelerates and flies over the life pod (past the pod's starboard side in Anniversary). It is struck by multiple plasma torpedoes.
The Chief grips the sides of the lifeboat, and bends his knees.
The Bumblebee heads into Installation 04's atmosphere.
Fade to white.
The following achievements can be unlocked on The Pillar of Autumn across the Xbox 360 and Halo: The Master Chief Collection editions of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. The original Xbox and PC and Macintosh releases of Halo: Combat Evolved did not contain achievement unlocks.
Bungie designer Jaime Griesemer led the gameplay design of The Pillar of Autumn, while artist Paul Russel was responsible for the level environment. Russel's art design for the interiors was inspired by the work of artist Ron Cobb on the films Star Wars and Alien.
In both the opening and ending cinematics, the Pillar of Autumn model remains static. Instead, the movement of surrounding objects and background matte painting forged an illusion that the ship was moving in space.
The events of this level occurs concurrently with the Halo: Fireteam Raven level Escape, which takes place on the same ship. John-117 makes a brief cameo on Escape in a re-interpretation of his actions in the final cinematic of this level. Like in the cinematic, the Spartan throws a Marine into the Bumblebee pod, but, with Covenant still in the hallway on Escape, he fires his M6D pistol at the boarders before running into the escape pod.
Halo: Combat Evolved
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary