Halo: The History of a Legend

There are few games that have ever been released that have helped define an entire era of console gaming quite like Halo. Halo: The Master Chief Collection hits store shelves on November 11th and APGNation would like to take a look back at just how big a deal 343 Industries’ shooter really is.

The “Halo” Franchise:

The “Halo” franchise is an award-winning collection of properties that have transcended video games and grown into a global entertainment phenomenon. Beginning with the original “Halo: Combat Evolved” (2001), the critically acclaimed and record-shattering series of games have reinvented how people think about video games and has since built a fan base of millions worldwide and inspired multiple New York Times best-selling novels, a live-action digital series, comic books, action figures, apparel and more.

Published by Microsoft Studios, the “Halo” franchise of games is exclusive to Xbox platforms, Windows 8 PCs, tablets, and Windows Phone 8 devices.  To date, more than 60 million copies of “Halo” games have been sold worldwide, driving nearly over 6 billion hours of gameplay by fans connected to Xbox Live.


343 Industries. Stewards of Halo.

343 Industries:

343 Industries is the developer of the blockbuster “Halo” series of video games and, as part of Microsoft Studios, oversees the “Halo” franchise, including games, linear programming, novels, comics, licensed collectibles, apparel and more. 343 Industries is home to world-class talent that delivered award-winning titles like “Halo 4” and “Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary” as well as the action-shooter “Halo: Spartan Assault” and the live-action digital series “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn.” The studio is currently developing “Halo: The Master Chief Collection,” “Halo: Spartan Strike” and the next installment in the legendary saga of the Master Chief, “Halo 5: Guardians,” while continuing to transform entertainment experiences across the “Halo” universe with groundbreaking projects, including the “Halo Channel,” an upcoming Halo television series, and the all-new digital series, “Halo: Nightfall.”

“Halo” Titles

TitleDeveloperPublisherPlatformLaunch Day
“Halo 5: Guardians”343 IndustriesMicrosoft StudiosXbox OneFall 2015
“Halo: Spartan Strike”343 Industries, Vanguard GamesMicrosoft StudiosWindows 8 and Windows Phone 812/12/14
“Halo: The Master Chief Collection”343 Industries, Saber Interactive, Certain Affinity, and Ruffian GamesMicrosoft StudiosXbox One11/11/14
“Halo: Spartan Assault”343 Industries, Vanguard GamesMicrosoft StudiosWindows 8 and Windows Phone 8
Xbox One
Xbox 360
“Halo 4”343 IndustriesMicrosoft StudiosXbox 36011/6/2012
“Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary”343 Industries, Saber Interactive, Certain AffinityMicrosoft StudiosXbox 36011/15/2011
“Halo: Reach”Bungie StudiosMicrosoft StudiosXbox 3609/14/2010
“Halo 3: ODST”Bungie StudiosMicrosoft StudiosXbox 3609/22/2009
“Halo Wars”Ensemble StudiosMicrosoft StudiosXbox 3602/26/2009
“Halo 3”Bungie StudiosMicrosoft StudiosXbox 3609/25/2007
“Halo 2” for Windows VistaHired Gun of Microsoft Game StudiosMicrosoft StudiosPC5/31/2007
“Halo 2”Bungie StudiosMicrosoft StudiosXbox11/9/2004
“Halo: Combat Evolved” for WindowsBungie Studios and Gearbox SoftwareMicrosoft StudiosPC9/30/2003
“Halo: Combat Evolved”Bungie StudiosMicrosoft StudiosXbox11/15/2001

“Halo” Entertainment

TitleProductionDistributorRelease Date
The Halo Channel343 IndustriesMicrosoft Studios11/11/14
“Halo: Nightfall”343 Industries, Scott Free ProductionsMicrosoft Studios11/11/14
“Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn”343 Industries, Herzog and CompanyMicrosoft Studios, Machinima Prime10/5/12
“Halo: Legends”343 Industries, Warner Bros, Bones, Toei Animation, Casio Entertainment, Production I.G, Studio 4°CWarner Home Video2/16/10

“Halo” Franchise by the Numbers:

Accolades and Awards:

The “Halo” series of games is amongst the most critically acclaimed of all time:

  • Over the past ten years, “Halo” games have collectively garnered more than 740 media and industry awards, accolades and nominations.
  • “Halo” games have received more than 100 “Game of the Year” awards from major media organizations, as well as multiple “Game of the Decade” accolades for their impact on the industry and global pop culture.
  • Guinness World Records named “Halo” the number one game series of all time, based on a 2010 reader poll.
  • “Halo: Combat Evolved” appeared as one of 20 unique cover designs for Edge Magazine’s 20th anniversary edition, which came out in August 2013. The publication celebrated the defining games of each year that has passed since Edge’s launch in August 1993, and “Halo: Combat Evolved” was chosen as the defining title of 2001.

Interesting facts:

  • More than 60 million copies of “Halo” games have been sold worldwide.
  • The “Halo” franchise has generated over $4 billion in worldwide sales to date.
  • “Halo 4” surpassed more than $220 million in worldwide sales in the first 24 hours and more than $300 million worldwide in its first week, making it the biggest “Halo” launch in history.
  • “Halo: Reach” generated more than $200 million in sales in the United States and Europe in its first 24 hours, eclipsing all previous 2010 U.S. entertainment launches, including the three-day opening weekends of Hollywood blockbusters “Iron Man 2,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Toy Story 3.”
  • First-day sales of “Halo 3” reached $170 million in the U.S., breaking all previous single day entertainment launch records, and breaking the record held by “Halo 2” ($125 million).
  • “Halo” games are bestsellers on both the original Xbox and Xbox 360 platforms. “Halo: Combat Evolved” and “Halo 2” were the top two selling games on Xbox, and “Halo 3,” “Halo: Reach” and “Halo 4” are three of the bestselling games on Xbox 360.
  • More than 11 million copies of the “Halo” series of books, comics and strategy guides have been sold. Twelve of the 14 novels are New York Times bestsellers.
  • The live-action digital series “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn,” which premiered on Oct. 5, 2012, has generated more than 59 million total views across all online content.
  • In its first week after launching on Oct. 22, the “Halo 4” soundtrack broke franchise records by peaking at #50 on Billboard’s top 200, #10 in the United States Independent Album charts, and #3 in the National U.S. Soundtrack chart.
  • The “Halo 3” soundtrack made the Billboard 200 on Dec. 15, 2007, and also reached a peak position of #18 on Billboard’s Top Soundtracks list, and #20 on Top Independent Albums. The “Halo: Reach” soundtrack eclipsed the success of all previous “Halo” soundtracks when it reached the #8 spot on Billboard’s Top 10 Soundtracks list on Sept. 23, 2010.
  • For the “Halo 4” launch, the Didact glyph fly-over was the largest and brightest man-made flying structure to ever fly over London, measuring 50ft in diameter and weighing 3.2 tons. In total there were 113,096 LEDs onboard.
  • More than 2.7 million people played the “Halo: Reach” multiplayer beta in May 2010 over two weeks, surpassing all previous console video game beta tests on record, and tripling the number of players who participated in the “Halo 3” beta in half the amount of time.
  • Since the launch of “Halo 3,” players have generated more than 120 million pieces of user-generated content from within the game.
  • More than 5.8 billion hours of “Halo” gameplay has been logged by players on Xbox Live.
  • The “Halo” franchise averages over 3 million online users per month across all titles.  

Key Beats in the “Halo” Franchise Timeline:

  • The first Halo novel, “Halo: Fall of Reach” released in Oct. 2001; 13 other novels follow, 11 of which become New York Times bestsellers.
  • “Halo: Combat Evolved” launches on Nov. 15, 2001; becomes the gold standard for console shooters.
  • “Halo 2” launches on Nov. 9, 2004; bestselling original Xbox game of all time and sets a new record as the biggest entertainment launch ever with day one revenues over $125 million.
  • “Halo” graphic novel releases on Jul. 19, 2006 from Marvel Comics.
  • The “Halo 3” Beta launches May 11, 2007 and 820,000 players clock upwards of 12 million hours of play over the four weeks of the Beta.
  • “Halo 3” launches on Sept. 25, 2007; sets record as the biggest entertainment launch in history and becomes bestselling game of 2007.
  • Marvel releases limited edition comic series between Oct. 2007-Jun. 2009; makes the New York Times bestseller list for graphic books.
  • “Halo Wars” launches on Feb. 26, 2009; makes history as the bestselling console real time strategy game ever.
  • “Halo 3: ODST” launches on Sept 22, 2009, selling more than 2.5 million copies within two weeks of release, totaling more than $125 million in sales.
  • “Halo” Encyclopedia published on Oct. 19, 2009 from DK Publishing.
  • “Halo Legends” anime series released by Warner Home Video on Feb. 16, 2010.
  • The “Halo: Reach” Multiplayer Beta runs from May 3, 2010 through May 20, 2010 and more than 2.7 million people participate, surpassing all previous console video game beta tests on record, and tripling the number of players who participated in the “Halo 3” Beta.
  • and sees over 2.2 million players log upwards of 24 million hours of play.
  • “Halo: Reach” launches on Sept. 14, 2010; becomes the biggest game yet in the “Halo” series and surpasses all previous 2010 U.S. entertainment launches with more than $200 million in day-one sales.
  • “Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary,” a remastered version of the original “Halo” campaign with fan-favorite maps and new features, launches on Nov. 15, 2011 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the franchise
  • “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn,” a groundbreaking live-action digital series premieres on Oct. 5, 2012.
  • “Halo 4” launches on Nov. 6, 2012, breaking the record for the biggest launch in franchise history with more than $220 million in day-one sales and more than $300 million in first-week revenue.
  • “Halo: Spartan Assault” launches on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 on July 18, 2013, becoming the first “Halo” game designed specifically for touch-based devices.
Halo swag ya'll

That uh.. that is a lot of Halo swag. Dang.

“Halo” Licensed Products:

From clothing to collectible action figures to award-winning soundtracks, the “Halo” franchise extends far beyond the games. With over 35 licensees helping expand the “Halo” universe, there is something for every “Halo” enthusiast. More than $1B in sales is a testament to the growth and success of this program:

  • More than $1 billion in “Halo” consumer product sales worldwide
  • Over 12 million Halo action figures have sold since 2005
  • Over 50 million Halo Mega Bloks products have been sold since 2009
  • Over 11.5 million fiction novels, graphic novels, comics, art books & strategy guides sold
  • Over 950,000 Halo soundtracks sold
  • Over 1.4 million Halo individual music tracks downloaded

Whether you’ve moved on to the series like Call of Duty or Battlefield there is no denying Halo‘s status as one of the top tier console franchises around. The numbers speak for themselves. Halo: The Master Chief Collection releases on November 11th with Halo 5: Guardians to follow in the fall of 2015.

Jeff Pannell
Written by
"Nation! I face you! This is Jeff, resident horror aficionado and lifelong video-game addict, reporting for duty. I'm currently 30 years old, living in Texas (born and raised) and gaming is, well, more than just a thing I do. It is a passion. I love to write about it, talk about it, think about it and well.. GAME. I was but a young lad when I was introduced to the wonders of the Atari 2600 and, eventually every single console imaginable. Obsessed with RPGs and fighting games and binging on any and all video games he can. I serve as Lead Editor and member of the APGNation Editorial Board. I look forward to bringing you news, reviews and interviews for many years to come.

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