Set approximately 543 years in the future, the Halo Universe has humankind colonizing the galaxy only to stumble upon a hostile alliance of aliens known as the Covenant, who, motivated by the power of the Prophets and the promises of paradise-after-death, are bent on humanity's destruction. It is this universe where the Halo video game series: Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST and the game Halo Wars take place. In addition to the games a number of Halo's books have been released; these books involve Master Chief and many other characters. The books expand into the Halo Universe timeline before Halo: Combat Evolved, as well as running concurrently with the games' timeline.
Primary Factions Edit
In the Halo Universe, there are many players, factions, political groups, races, and species. The main factions are as follows:
United Nations Space Command
542 years into the future, most of humanity is ruled by the United Nations Space Command (UNSC). As the most of the canon material from the Halo Universe is from the ongoing war we see the future mainly through the eyes of the UNSC's military arm called the United Nations Space Command Defense Force (UNSCDF). The UNSCDF are commonly seen defending planets. During the events of Halo 2 the UNSCDF fought the Covenant over Earth in a last-ditch attempt to protect the human race. The UNSC was formed by the United Nations when over-population on Earth started becoming a severe problem in the early 22nd century. Run by HIGHCOM, the UNSC is Earth's premiere defense against the Covenant. The Navy houses the divisions of Marines (including the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers), the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), and the fleet. Originally designed to keep the peace between neighboring planets and star systems, when certain rebellious factions began to present a problem in the late 2510s, the UNSC was forced to police its colonies to keep privateers and pirates from raiding them. There are several breakaway factions opposed to the Colonial Administration Authority and UNSC as well, including the United Rebel Front.
The Covenant Edit
The two original species of the Covenant, the Prophets (San 'Shyuum) and the Elites (Sangheili), spent years locked in a bitter war over the control of the remains of an ancient race, the Forerunners. The Forerunners themselves were long vanished, but still large amounts of their technology existed. The Prophets wished to use the technology to search and explore the galaxy, but the Elites (Sangheili) believed such usage to be a desecration of their holy artifacts. As the devastating war ravaged both species, the Elites saw that the only way for them to win was to do the exact thing they opposed; use their own Forerunner technology to adapt and befit their vessels. The English word "Covenant" means "Religious Alliance" or "Binding Agreement" (between two or more parties), usually used to describe an alliance between a faction of men and a God, or between two factions of men in holy goals. This name is well suited to the Covenant because of the "binding Covenant" formed between the two alien races, the Prophets and the Elites, when the latter promised to defend the Prophets as they searched for the Sacred Rings which are said to start the "Great Journey". The "Great Journey" is the term that the Prophets use to explain the disappearance of their Gods, the Forerunner race. The quest of the entire Covenant, the Great Journey is the basis of all of their worship. As the Covenant Empire grew over a millennium, more species were enslaved to their cause, although, up until the Covenant Civil War, none of them were quite as important to the Prophets as the Elites. At first, the Covenant were mostly held together by a need to survive, but, as their society advanced, so did their technology, culture and religion. Now the polytheistic Covenant control a large part of the Orion arm of the Milky Way galaxy and their society is a complicated caste system, with the Prophets still on top, governing the Covenant along with the Elites. The Covenant is a theocracy, based on a prophecy about the Sacred Rings and the Great Journey. The actual context of this prophecy is unknown, but the Prophets' faith in it is the reason for their yearning desire to activate the Halos, to "propel all who are worthy along the path to salvation!". A theory is that the promise of the journey goes like this: The Forerunner were so advanced, that they had found a way to propel themselves to God-like status using their technology. To oppose this, a race called the Flood attacked the Forerunner and attempted to stop the activation of this technology, for some unknown motive. Before the Flood could stop them, the Forerunner activated the Halo array, and ascended to Godlike status. The Covenant design is to find the Halo array, and use it to propel themselves to Godliness as well. The three current leading Prophets, the Hierarchs of the Covenant, want to destroy Humanity due to the threat they pose to their religion: if Humankind really are the Forerunner's heirs, then all that the Covenant believe in is false. Not wanting the truth about humans to get out, the rest of the Covenant have been told that Humanity is a direct affront to the Forerunner, much like the Flood in goal, so must be exterminated if the Great Journey is to be completed.
Impact To our society Edit
The first Halo title Halo: Combat Evolved quickly became known as the first "Killer App" for Microsoft's popular Xbox video game console when it was released in 2001, achieving both critical acclaim and financial success. Halo was later published on the PC and finally released for the Mac (for which it was originally developed prior to Microsoft's acquisition of developer Bungie). Shortly after that, the company (Gearbox Software) that ported Halo to PC released Halo: Custom Edition as a free, downloadable and achievable extension to the Windows port of Halo. Plus, Halo Custom edition is downloadable at Halomaps.org. The second game, Halo 2 was released in 2004, breaking sales records and becoming the fastest selling United States media product in history. Halo 2 US sales top 125 million dollars; UK retail celebrates successful launch September 7, a possible 7 reference. A third game, Halo 3, has been released for the Xbox 360 and closes this chapter in the Halo series. The Halo games have become well known for the high quality of their graphics, gameplay, physics, and storyline. Halo Wars, a Real Time Strategy game, was released for the Xbox 360 in 2009. Halo 3: ODST, another First-Person Shooter, was also released in 2009. Further expanding the Halo universe are several novels, which provide insight into the background story, and another upcoming Xbox 360 project: Halo: Reach.