War Games

From Halopedia, the Halo wiki

"This unparalleled, revolutionary battle simulation is where Spartans go to hone their skills in competitive combat."
— Halo Waypoint
Blue and Red Teams in competitive War Games.

UNSC War Games, often shortened as War Games, is a form of UNSC combat training carried out in specialized locations. While frequently undertaken by Spartans,[1] War Games events are also held for non-augmented personnel of the United Nations Space Command armed forces for inter-service training.[2]


War Games exercises can be performed in either live or simulated environments.

Live training[edit]

Live War Games exercises are done in open environments with watchtowers and other buildings for the instructors to oversee the trainees. These exercises, unlike the simulated versions, are often carried out using live targets and ammunition.[3]

Red team ready for Breakout.

Simulated training[edit]

War Games chambers[4] use a combination of holographic projectors, millions of pneumatic risers,[5] props, and simulated sensory information fed through a neural interface to generate realistic environments in which combat simulations are initiated.[6]

Simulated training can be watched by via cameras or specialized areas spread out around the fields,[4] and some facilities even have an AI, such as one that manages the War Games simulator on the UNSC Infinity and acts as the games' announcer. Sarah Palmer, the commander of the ship's Spartan contingent, has a low opinion of the AI.[7]

Image of one of the calibration cards used during the Halo 5: Guardians E3 Hololens experience
A Spartan Optic calibration card.

On the UNSC Infinity, Spartans have to ensure optics are calibrated before they enter War Games simulations, using specialized Information cards.[8]

War Games simulations sometimes introduce "balancing" to several weapons and AI units. A notable example is the M6/E Selene's Lance, where balancing adds extra recoil to the weapon.

Training and events[edit]

The War Games scoreboard included in the Infinity Briefing Packet.
A scoreboard showcasing the outcomes of a match between Fireteams Majestic and Castle.

SPARTAN-IV fireteams routinely train in War Games simulations to hone their strength and skills. Upon reaching a Spartan rank of level 50, they are given the option to enlist in a specialization in their field of choice, should they wish, they may also apply for multiple specialist rankings.[9] Baseline soldiers who perform exceptionally in inter-service War Games events are sometimes picked as potential candidates for the SPARTAN-IV program.[2] The ANVIL initiative indicates a number of very select joint training engagements between SPARTAN-IVs and Sangheili of Arbiter Thel 'Vadam's Swords of Sanghelios aboard Anvil Station.[10] War Games simulations are not exclusively competitive; in some scenarios the participants train against AI-controlled Covenant[7] and/or Promethean enemies, and sometimes against AI and Spartans, with some simulations even featuring AI Marines.[11]

ODST forces also make use of the War Games for their own training and simulation, including simulation for operations against the Flood. After passing early trials, the UNSC ordered an update to these simulations and a new round of prepatory exercises.[12]


"I need you and as many Spartans as possible to hit the sim."
— Commander Agryna to a Spartan at the Avery J. Johnson Academy of Military Science.[13]

Before the end of the Human-Covenant War, War Games were mostly live training in locations such as the Military Wilderness Training Preserve on Reach before the planet's fall.[3] By January 2553, War Games simulations could not support AI-driven targets yet, forcing the need for live targets;[14] by March 2555, AI-driven targets such as Sangheili had been added to the simulations.[15]

By February 2558, War Game simulations were being used regularly by Spartans on the UNSC Infinity. Sometime after the UNSC encountered the Warden Eternal in October 2558 it was added to the Warzone section of War Games simulations, following the introduction of many other Promethean constructs to the simulator.

Some time in 2560 Spartan Commander Laurette Agryna had several of the Spartans under her command at the Avery J. Johnson Academy of Military Science participate in War Games to lure out the Banished AI Iratus.[13]

Facilities and locations[edit]

Live training[edit]

The Military Wilderness Training Preserve in the Highland Mountains within Reach's Viery Territory was a live War Games training ground most notably used to train the Spartan-IIs between 2517 and 2525.


Many locations house War Games combat decks, among them several warships including UNSC Infinity,[16] the corporate-sponsored Munera Platforms and other combat training orbitals,[17] and Anvil Station.[2]

In addition, several terrestrial military bases also house War Games simulators. The size and scope of each individual War Games facility varies based on the needs and resources of their associated installation.[16]

Simulated War Game maps[edit]

Most of the Simulated War Games environments are recreated from either detailed scans, partial records or remote survey data of actual locations around the galaxy, although artistic flourishes may be applied at the simulation designers' discretion. Examples of such conceits include the anachronistic use of given starship, vehicle or emblem designs sometimes encountered in War Games simulations.[18]

Problems arose as many departments were stretched thin due to the UNSC's struggle to maintain a cohesive presence across colonized space. Because of this, the military began the Cartographer Initiative to recruit much needed War Games map designers to help keep the Spartan branch operating efficiently.[19]

List of known map designations[edit]

Halo 2[edit]

Halo 2: Anniversary[edit]

  • War Games Map_Set/: 209-11 "Remnant"

Halo 3[edit]

Halo 4[edit]

  • War Games Map_Set/: 232-8 "Meltdown"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 259-3 "Vortex"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 309-8 "Harvest"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 389-4 "Haven"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 449-2 "Impact"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 490-2 "Skyline"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 505-2 "Abandon"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 593-6 "Shatter"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 615-3 "Complex"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 673-4 "Monolith"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 726-6 "Adrift"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 755-3 "Perdition"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 733-4 "Ragnarok"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 773-9 "Erosion"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 784-4 "Exile"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 822-2 "Outcast"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 891-3 "Landfall"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 893-3 "Wreckage"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 902-5 "Daybreak"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 951-3 "Longbow"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 982-3 "Ravine"
  • War Games Map_Set/: 992-0 "Solace"

Halo 5: Guardians[edit]

Simulated Gametypes[edit]

The following is a list of gametypes which are known to be included in War Games.

As a multiplayer mode[edit]

Introduction to Spartan career in War Games in Halo 4.

War Games was introduced in Halo 4 as the in-universe framing device for the game's multiplayer[20] and is featured in a similar fashion in the subsequent Halo 5: Guardians and Halo Infinite. 343 Industries writer Jeff Easterling has suggested that virtually all competitive multiplayer modes throughout Halo's history could be regarded as War Games exercises. However, he notes that fans should not "start splitting hairs about regarding specific time frames and extrapolating implications" from his statement.[1] Nevertheless, 343 Industries has assigned canonical War Games-based designations to several Halo 2 and Halo 3 multiplayer maps, indicating that they are meant to be seen as part of a War Games simulation.[21]

Halo 3: ODST Firefight was later included when the Flood were added to Firefight in Halo: The Master Chief Collection.[22]

While elements of the Halo Wars 2 multiplayer are canonical (such as some gamemodes and vehicles), the overall experience is considered just multiplayer for multiplayer's sake and is not considered canon.[23]


List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b Halo Waypoint: Canon Fodder 3-21-15 thread
  2. ^ a b c Halo Waypoint: Olympia Vale
  3. ^ a b Halo Waypoint: Behind the Scenes - Defiant Map Pack
  4. ^ a b Halo: New Blood - Chapter 15
  5. ^ Halo.Bungie.Org, Halo 4 Field Guide
  6. ^ Halo Waypoint: Canon Fodder - Beta Late Than Never
  7. ^ a b Halo: Escalation, Issue 1
  8. ^ Microsoft used the HoloLens for their Halo 5 tour, and it was pretty amazing
  9. ^ Halo 4 Limited Edition, UNSC Infinity briefing packet
  10. ^ Halo Waypoint - Canon Fodder: 2-20-15
  11. ^ Halo 5: Guardians Warzone
  12. ^ Halo Support, Halo: The Master Chief Collection (MCC) Update - April 2022: "The Gravemind’s most fervent wish is for a galaxy united in unlife, where it can look on the stars through every sentient beings eyes and raise a chorus to everlasting victory through their tortured and twisted throats. ODST forces who train to contain and eliminate the Flood have passed their first trials, but the parasite is always adapting, learning, and massing in hidden hives. To prepare for the inevitable return of the thinking dead, the UNSC has ordered an update of the War Games training simulations and a new round of containment exercises." (Retrieved on Aug 27, 2022) [archive]
  13. ^ a b Halo Infinite, Interference
  14. ^ Halo: Escalation Library Edition - Commentary
  15. ^ Halo: Hunters in the Dark - Chapter 4 Page 80(Physical edition)
  16. ^ a b Halo Waypoint: Canon Fodder - Needle Me This
  17. ^ Halo Waypoint: Munera Platform
  18. ^ Halo Waypoint: Halo 5 Truth
  19. ^ Halo Waypoint: Canon Fodder - Close Quarters
  20. ^ YouTube: Making Halo 4: First Look
  21. ^ Halo Waypoint: New Mombasa
  22. ^ Halo Waypoint, Entrenched Endeavors (Retrieved on May 26, 2022) [archive]
  23. ^ Twitter - Grim and Halo Wars 2 Multiplayer