The Halo franchise is one of the biggest selling franchises in video game history. Spanning over multiple titles, the game’s lore becomes fascinating for fans of the series. Some may appreciate the hidden fiction found in this list. Others may appreciate the behind-the-scenes facts of one of the world’s most popular games. Either way, listed below are ten strange facts you probably don’t know about Halo and its universe. Whether you’re a hardcore fanatic of the series, a casual gamer who indulges now and then, or a complete newbie yet to experience all the glories Master Chief has to offer, buckle up, because you’re in for quite a treat.
10. The Book Series is a New York Times Best Seller
The Halo franchise is most known for its frenetic, action-packed gameplay, its genre-defining multiplayer, and lots and lots of explosions. However, another popular aspect of the game series is the fiction of the world within the game. Deeply religious aliens (known as the Covenant) worship ancient structures they believe were built by the Forerunners (a wise race of creatures that came before the Covenant). With these Covenant waging a holy war across space, the player is given a unique story and world to explore. Outside of the video games themselves, many Halo books have been published. These novels sell lavishly and without respite. Four of the Halo novels have made an appearance on the New York Times Best Seller List. With an expansive pool of fiction, it’s no wonder the novels sell so well.
9. Covenant Vehicles Are Named After Different Spirits
With the Covenant acting as religious zealots, it only seems fitting that various aspects of their lives are filled with spiritual imagery. One of these areas people may not think about are the vehicles these aliens pilot. Out of all the popular vehicles in the game on the Covenant side, players are most familiar with the Banshee, Ghost, and Wraith. According to Irish mythology, a Banshee is a female spirit who cries and wails constantly. When these cries are heard, death is imminent to whoever heard it. Ghosts are apparitions of the dead, and Wraiths are ghostlike images of someone seen shortly before or after a person’s death. Digging a little deeper, all of these supernatural beings can be viewed as vessels for spirits in different forms. These parallel the actual vehicles which can be viewed as vessels for transportation.
8. The War Being Waged is a Religious One
Casual observers of the Halo games may simply see a video game in which super soldiers blast away alien scum. However, these observers’ narrow viewpoint vastly understates the plot of the game. The war between the Covenant and humans isn’t simply one of territory. It’s a holy war. The humans crash onto a mysterious ring, only to find out it’s a gigantic super weapon. This same super weapon is revered by the Covenant, mainly because of the power it harnesses. The Covenant’s foot troops aren’t fighting for their home. They’re fighting because their beliefs are being threatened by outsiders. It’s absolutely astounding that one of the most popular video games of all time is also a game that thrusts the mirror in our faces and makes us think about our world and our convictions.
7. Master Chief is Old
You wouldn’t think it when you see him. He seems to have the ability of ten men and the strength of 20. He has amazing accuracy and grinds through some pretty long combat campaigns. Many would speculate he’s in his 20s. However, the truth is that Master Chief is closer to 40. Even though he was in “cryo sleep” for chunks of years at a time, it is rumored that he is closer to 40 than anything else. When taking these cryo sleep spells into account, Spartan 117 looks as if he is 25. While he may move like a young spring chicken, he should probably be taking it easy.
6. The Warthog Has a Maximum Speed of 60 mph
Ah, the good old Warthog. Many players have spent countless hours driving/gunning on this beast of a vehicle. As one of the more trusty human vehicles, the Warthog has a special place in every player’s heart. Now, remember all those times you splattered the Covenant or other players online? Well, if you were gunning it, you were slamming into them at 60 mph. It seems slow considering you may actually own a vehicle that drives faster than this. But the truth is that the Warthog is so bogged down with armor and equipment, it can only travel so fast. It’s actually amazing it moves that quickly, considering how much a Spartan’s armor weighs. Speaking of which…
5. A Spartan’s Armor Weighs Approximately Half a Ton
Imagine you are a Spartan. You have just been outfitted into your battle armor. You move your arms and legs around, enthralled by your ability to move in your new armor. Then, imagine the fact that this armor weighs half a ton. The armor alone can crush people, cars, and enemies. If you’re going to be a super soldier, then your armor should be just as deadly as your combat skills. Not only does the armor weigh 1,000 pounds, but it also links into your neural network. The suit, in a sense, becomes one with you. It’s no wonder normal soldiers look at the Spartans in awe. They are staring at 1,000 pounds of combat defense.
4. Halo 3 Has Over 39,000 Lines of Dialogue
Following the classic cliffhanger of Halo 2, Bungie needed a slam dunk for the third and (at the time) final instalment of the Halo series. Since the inception of the original Halo in 2001, technology had drastically changed what could be done in a video game. Not only were these advances within the visual realm, but the audio realm as well. Capping off a trilogy is a huge task, and it needed to be done right. So, the writers cranked out over 39,000 lines of dialogue for Halo 3. For comparison, the original Halo had 3,000 lines of dialogue, and its sequel racked up 14,000. Bungie’s strategy of unfurling much of their story through words paid off, as Halo 3 remains a highly successful and critically acclaimed game to this very day.
3. Spartans Aren’t Volunteers
In Halo lore, the Spartans are a group of super soldiers who are physically and mentally augmented to protect humanity against themselves and any other opposing forces. They are trained from a young age, housed in boot camps, and are bred for war. But, what people don’t take into consideration is how these kids got there. Some people think the Spartans are volunteers who throw their bodies on the line in hopes of becoming a legend. This isn’t the case. Quite the opposite, actually, as the kids who are chosen for the SPARTAN program are kidnapped. Specifically, these candidates are sedated for easier transportation, and then physically taken out of the homes.
2. Halo Was Originally Debuted to the Public by Steve Jobs
Yep. It’s true. Before Microsoft and Apple were at each other’s throats, Jobs actually held Microsoft’s future in the palm of his hands. It’s Macworld 1999, and Steve Jobs steps onto the stage. He announces that a company who creates games exclusively for Apple is working on a new title. “Halo is the name of this game,” he says. As hundreds of pairs of eyes look upon the big screen, Halo is publicly revealed. It would only be less than one year later when Microsoft buys Bungie. The rest, they say, is history.
1. Halo Was Originally Planned as an RTS Game
When asked which FPS (first-person shooter) defines the Xbox, an overwhelming majority of people will answer with “Halo”. Not only influential in launching the Xbox into stardom, the franchise has also shaped the face of the FPS. And just think, all of this may never have happened. Why? Originally, Halo was designed as an RTS (a real-time strategy game). With RTS’s, the game is viewed in a top-down format. The player does not focus on ground combat. Rather, they are involved in troop movement and resource management. The decision to change Halo from an RTS to a FPS changed the very future of Microsoft and gaming in general. Without the FPS Halo, fans may have never fallen in love with the series. Along with the change in game types, many weapons and vehicles were deleted or heavily modified for the final product. A couple of examples include a precursor to the Elephant and a selection of ground troops known as “Heavy Troopers” (which may have been the precursors to the Spartans).