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Halo Wars
Halo Wars - Cover Art - Final.jpg
US Date Released
March 3rd, 2009 [1]
UK Date Released
February 27th, 2009[2]
ESRB rating:
Mature (M)(Or 16+) (In U.K. only) Teen (T) for Mild Blood, Mild Language, and Violence

[{{{website}}} Website]

Halo Wars is the first real-time strategy game in the Halo Universe. It begins in the year 2531, during the Covenant eradication of the Outer Colonies in the Human-Covenant War. The game was developed by Ensemble Studios, and is an Xbox 360 exclusive, like Halo 3. Unlike other Halo games, Halo Wars is rated "T" for Teen, downgraded from "M" for Mature given to previous installments. In the U.K, the game is a 16+ game, while its predecessor Halo 3 is a 15+ game although this is due to the two games using different rating boards (PEGI is stricter than the BBFC). Downloadable content and support is currently being developed by Robot Entertainment, a studio founded by ex-Ensemble Studios employees after its closing. [3]



A SPARTAN from SPARTAN Group Omega sporting an early concept design of the Mark IV armor (speculated) in the Halo Wars announcement trailer.
The control scheme in Halo Wars.

In the RTS game Halo Wars, players can command armies of both familiar and new UNSC units during its first encounters against the Covenant, a massive collection of alien races that threatens to destroy all of humanity. Halo Wars will immerse gamers in an early period of the Halo Universe, allowing them to experience events 21 years before Halo: Combat Evolved.

With the guidance of the A.I. Serina, who is commanding them from the UNSC CFV-88 Spirit of Fire, the player leads UNSC soldiers and vehicles against classic Covenant foes, such as Grunts, Elites, Ghosts, and Banshees. Each group has its own strengths and abilities in battle. Strategic-minded players who react well under pressure will emerge victorious over their foes.

Halo Wars can be played in both single-player and online cooperative campaign modes. Additionally, up to six players can play three-versus-three match head-to-head over Xbox Live. Published by Microsoft Game Studios, Halo Wars is a title exclusive to the Xbox 360. Despite speculation of a version for the PC, Ensemble and Microsoft have repeatedly said that no such plans have been made or even considered. The Covenant is playable only in multiplayer and Skirmish modes.

Ensemble Studios began recording the music for the game in March 2008, with Ensemble's Music and Sound Director, Stephen Rippy, flying to Prague for the orchestral and choral parts and to Seattle for the piano and mixing. [4][5][6]

The game was featured at the 2008 E3 event, held in July. It was shown on G4's E3 08 LIVE, showing a hands-on demo. [7] Some newer off-screen demos were released, showing how the controls work and how battles proceed.[8]

Campaign Missions

Campaign consists of fifteen levels which tells the story of Halo Wars.

  1. "Alpha Base"
  2. "Relic Approach"
  3. "Relic Interior"
  4. "Arcadia City"
  5. "Arcadia Outskirts"
  6. "Dome of Light"
  7. "Scarab"
  8. "Anders' Signal"
  9. "The Flood"
  10. "Shield World"
  11. "Cleansing"
  12. "Repairs"
  13. "Beachhead"
  14. "Reactor"
  15. "Escape"


UNSC and Covenant units clash in-game. Note in particular the Halo in the background of the image.
Harvest, just after the UNSC Spirit of Fire arrived in the system.
"At this point in time, the Covenant is at its most evil. They are hell-bent on the destruction of humanity, on scouring us from the universe."
—Graeme Devine, Lead Writer, formerly Lead Developer.

The game's story is told through in-game cut scenes and in-game moments, as with the other Halo games. The game is set in 2531[9] and focuses around the Marine forces of the UNSC Spirit of Fire as they engage Covenant ground forces after the discovery of an ancient artifact during a journey to the partially glassed Harvest.

The story begins with the UNSC's early battles on Harvest, but also features another colony world, Arcadia, which holds "something of great interest to the Covenant". The planet is subsequently invaded by the Covenant and the UNSC must evacuate the planet while engaging the invasion force. The Flood is significant in the storyline and several massive Forerunner structures are also explored.

This game differs from previous Halo titles in that Master Chief does not make any appearance, although several key SPARTANs, collectively known as Red Team, do factor into the plot. In contrast, the Spirit of Fire is "full of new characters", such as the A.I. Serina, Professor Ellen Anders, Sergeant John Forge, and the Spirit of Fire's commander, Captain Cutter.[10] Some of these characters go planetside to aid the player. The single player campaign is purely from the UNSC's perspective.

While Sergeant Forge is patrolling the northern regions, Alpha Base was attacked and destroyed by the Covenant, with survivors fleeing to the countryside surrounding the area. Rounding up these survivors, Forge leads them in an assault that removed the Covenant presence and reestablished Alpha Base, returning it to operational status.[11] Forge leads an assault on the relic site itself, removing the Covenant occupiers and preventing the enemy from destroying it to deny human access, and securing the site for Anders to examine it briefly before a Covenant counter-attack cuts them off from Alpha Base.[12] Grizzly tanks launched from the Spirit of Fire manage to cut through the Covenant, linking up with Forge and his Marines, and escorting them back out through the relic while forces from Alpha Base hold off the Covenant. Information gathered from the Harvest relic shows that the Covenant have been pointed to a second UNSC colony, Arcadia.[13]

Following the Covenant to Arcadia, they find that the most of the orbital defense ships have been either destroyed or damaged in battle with the Covenant (one of the many ships is the Pillar of Autumn which would be involved in the "Halo incident" twenty years later). Sgt. Forge and his forces deploy on the ground in order to assist the SPARTANs from Red Team in the effort to evacuate civilians from Arcadia City, via cargo transports.[14] Afterward, the UNSC forces withdraw to a defensible area on the city outskirts, holding off Covenant attacks long enough for SPARTAN Group Omega to arrive and assist in the destruction of local Covenant forces.[15] At the same time, the Covenant have erected a large energy shield generator around a site of importance, with undiscovered ruins surrounding the area, forcing the UNSC to deploy prototype Rhino plasma artillery to penetrate it.[16] Moving in to examine what was of such interest to the Covenant, they come under attack from a large Scarab, only partially complete and annihilating any UNSC forces in its line of sight. Eventually managing to destroy it, Anders and Forge begin documenting the area, only for the Arbiter to arrive, taking Anders prisoner and wounding Sergeant Forge, with Red Team arriving too late to assist.[17] Rapidly heading out of the system aboard a starship, the Spirit of Fire follows, eventually emerging in orbit over a mysterious planet in an unknown location.

Deploying ground forces to search for Anders, the UNSC and Covenant forces come under attack from a previously undiscovered alien organism - the Flood.[18] Managing to regroup and hold a defensible location, the UNSC forces manage to locate the source of the signal - an apparent body of water.[19] The UNSC forces withdraw back to the Spirit of Fire as a concentrated Flood force begins to gather momentum, narrowly escaping annihilation, regrouping at the Spirit of Fire over the lake - which splits to reveal an entrance, and with swarms of Sentinels emerging to deal with the Flood.[20] The Spirit of Fire manages to enter, proceeding through a docking system, removing Flood growths and moving through a system of concentric rings that filters out Flood biomass[21], the Spirit of Fire emerges inside a massive Shield World, immediately engaging a Covenant Destroyer and fending off attacks while conducting repairs.[22]

The Arbiter uses Anders to activate The Apex, revealing a fleet of Forerunner warships which the Covenant plans on reverse-engineering and incorporating into their existing naval forces to crush the humans quickly, without needing to dedicate all of their existing forces to the war. Anders manages to escape, using what had been her stasis prison as a translocation device, teleporting to the surface of the Shield World's interior, linking up with Forge and his Marines, who clear the area of Covenant forces and establish a base of operations on the Shield World.[23] Removing the Spirit of Fire's FTL Reactor, the UNSC move it into The Apex, planning to detonate it - the chain-reaction will send the Shield World's sun into a supernova, destroying the installation and the fleet, denying it to the Covenant and saving humanity from near total defeat and extinction. The Arbiter attempts to stop them, but his Honor Guards are killed by Red Team, and Forge himself manages to kill the Arbiter with one of his own Energy Swords.[24] Forge stays behind to detonate the reactor, while the rest of the UNSC forces activate a portal out of the Shield World, evacuate to the Spirit of Fire, and manage to slingshot around the sun to build up enough speed to escape the supernova's blast radius and the range of the Shield World's debris.[25]

Now unable to return to UNSC space with the speed an FTL drive would have afforded them, the Spirit of Fire's crew enter cryonics storage. The ship begins its long journey home, likely to take many years or decades. Here, Sgt. Forge's cyro tube is closed by Captain Cutter, who briefly nods, upon which the camera pans down to find the words "Sgt. J. Forge", acknowledging the sacrifice of the valiant Marine Sergeant.

In the final moments of the credits, Serina speaks the final words of the game, saying "Captain. Wake up. Something has happened," As the logo appears on the screen.

The ultimate fate of the Spirit of Fire is unknown. Investigations by the UNSC and ONI are officially closed a few years after it is officially designated MIA, but there is some evidence that the ship does at some point return to UNSC space, with the strongest argument being the number of Spartans present during the Fall of Reach; At the time, 25 of the remaining 28 are present on the planet, with the three missing identified as Grey Team and the remaining dead or missing all previously identified, leading credence to the idea that Red Team, and thus Spirit of Fire, do eventually reunite with the UNSC. However it is noted that since Spirit of Fire's crew were the first humans to encounter the Flood, information should have been reported to ONI, but the first recorded Human-Flood encounter was in 2552, 21 years later, on Halo Installation 04, meaning that either the Spirit of Fire did not come back or ONI kept the 2531 Human-Flood encounter a closely guarded secret.


Aside from CGI cut scenes and on-the-battlefield appearances, characters in Halo Wars often appear in talking head animations where a small view screen appears in the upper left corner showing the face of the character speaking at the moment.




Throughout the game several other characters are either mentioned or seen.




United Nations Space Command


  • SPARTAN-II: SPARTAN-IIs are individually trained units who are arguably superior to all UNSC and Covenant infantry types. Spartans are equipped with a regenerating shield in addition to a health bar. They begin with dual-wielded SMGs and can hijack all enemy vehicles except the Scarab and Vulture gunship for balance purposes, bringing them under player control; they can also commandeer allied vehicles. They can be upgraded to wield chain guns and Spartan Lasers, as well as neural implants, which help them hijack vehicles much faster.[26] When a SPARTAN takes control of an allied or enemy vehicle, the Spartan's rank is added to the vehicle's rank and the vehicle's stats are greatly increased. Spartans can also engage in hand-to-hand combat against certain enemies (Elite Honor Guards, Infection Forms, etc). Only three SPARTANs can be deployed at a time and do not contribute to the player's population limit. They are outfitted with the MJOLNIR Mk. IV; the in-game units posses traits that are trademarks of the Mk. V armor, however, this is for gameplay considerations and is not accepted as canon.
  • Hellbringers[27]: Also known as "Flamethrower units", these Marines are specialists equipped with heavier armor and flame-throwers that can be used to torch entire infantry units. They can be upgraded with flash bang grenades, which stun enemies when hit, napalm ammunition, which allows their attacks to burn slightly afterward, and oxide tanks, which also increase damage. They are incapable of attacking air units, obviously because of their shorter hit range. They can run somewhat faster than Marines.[26]
  • UNSC Marines: Marines are the basic infantry of the UNSC who are armed with MA5 Series rifles and have the special ability to throw grenades.[28] The squads can be upgraded to replace their grenades with rocket launchers (called RPGs in-game), making them more effective against vehicles and giving them superior attack power against air units.[26] They usually operate in squads of four but may add another member to their squads via the "New Blood" upgrade[28], and a medic via the medic upgrade, adding up to a total of six squad members. However, the medic can only heal existing squad members, and cannot resurrect fallen squad mates.
  • Orbital Drop Shock Troopers: Also known as "Helljumpers", in reference to the heat of the HEV pods they use to descend from orbit, this is an available upgrade for marine squads. It can be upgraded at the Barracks.[29] The upgrades effects allow the player to substitute standard marine squads with ODST teams (armed with M90 shotguns), as well as the HEV drop. The HEV drops can also be used as a weapon similar to the MAC Blast and also like the MAC blast  the ability to drop has to be used in a visible area. To do so, the player must select the HEV drop ability and put them over the area that they wish to drop them in. ODST squads still possess the rocket launcher ability. They are only available as the special upgrade for Captain Cutter. Effects include increased line of sight and more hitpoints.


UNSC Behemoth-class Troop Transport (Elephant).
UNSC "Flame" Warthog and Covenant Honor Guard Wraith.
  • M12 Light Reconnaissance Vehicle (Warthog): Can be upgraded to carry an M41 LAAG and later an M68 Gauss Cannon at a reduction of speed. Can jump gaps, and has a ramming ability as its special attack. May be upgraded so its passenger has a grenade launcher. Ramming ability is strong enough to destroy a Ghost.[28] Warthogs can collect resources from crates found on the battlefield.
  • M808 Scorpion MBT: The M808 Scorpion is the basic UNSC tank. It can be upgraded to the "Grizzly" variant.
    • Upgrade 1: The Scorpion gains the "canister shell" secondary ability.
    • Upgrade 2: The Scorpion has a faster turret rotation speed.
    • Grizzly variant[27]: An upgrade of the Scorpion, it possesses two cannons and a machine gun. This upgrade is only available when the player chooses Sergeant Forge as his or her hero unit in Skirmish mode or multiplayer.
  • Behemoth-class Troop Transport[27] (Elephant): The Elephant, as it is more commonly known, can carry squads into combat and can fulfill the role of a barracks in the field, along with having the ability to be upgraded with a cannon (though only if deployed), twin engines to upgrade speed, and ceramic armor to allow the Elephant to take more damage. During the campaign, it is used to tow the Spirit of Fire's Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine up a mountain to the Apex. During multiplayer and skirmish, it is Captain Cutter's unique unit. Note that the dialogue of the Elephant is drastically reduced after the "Defense Turret" upgrade is unlocked.
  • Gremlin: A combat support vehicle, the Gremlin is Professor Anders's unique unit. It attacks with an EMP cannon that disables vehicles or non-infantry units temporarily. It can be upgraded to fire farther and hit harder and to make the EMP blast chain through multiple vehicles. The Gremlin has absolutely no combat efficiency against air units.
  • Rhino: The Rhino is a heavy tracked unit that has a greater defense but lower attack than the Scorpion. The Rhino is armed with a heavy prototype plasma cannon stolen from the Covenant that fires giant plasma bolts. The Rhino is only in the campaign and not available in Skirmish. It is incapable of attacking air units. During the campaign, it is used during Dome of Light to break through a Covenant energy shield on Arcadia.
  • Wolverine: The Wolverine is a specialized anti-aircraft vehicle that uses guided missiles to shoot down enemy aircraft, such as Banshees or Vampires. While powerful in this aspect, it is especially weak against infantry and anti-armor vehicles, and must be heavily protected.
  • Cobra[27]: The Cobra is a heavy anti-armor vehicle armed with a pair of rail cannons which can easily tear apart enemy armor. It can be outfitted with stronger armor when locked down and its rail cannons can be upgraded to penetrate multiple enemies. Its special ability allows it to lock down for greater range, at the expense of mobility. Cobras cannot attack aerial units.[30]
  • Cyclops Exoskeleton[27]: The Cyclops is a re-appropriated support exoskeleton that can crush ground enemies in close combat, often finishing off infantry with impressive fatality moves. It can also repair damaged vehicles and buildings if the player upgrades it once. A second upgrade of the unit improves speed. It can also throw debris at enemy units as its special attack. (Unique to Sergeant Forge)


  • D77-TC Pelican Dropship: The Pelican is used via a UNSC ability that is called from the Spirit of Fire menu. The pickup area is selected, then the drop-off area. The Pelican can transport multiple units at one time. A single Pelican drop can airlift 6 infantry squads and three vehicles. It cannot carry Elephants. If it is destroyed, all units being carried by it are lost as well.
  • Hornet[27]: The Hornet is a light gunship that can carry two passengers to provide support and fire on enemy ground and air targets. If upgraded once ("Wingmen" upgrade) two Marines equipped with rocket launchers ride on the Hornet for increased damage. A second passive upgrade ("Chaff Pods") allows for better avoidance of missile attacks.
    • Hawk: The Hawk is a further upgraded version of the Hornet that is equipped with a mounted laser for large damage. The dual autoguns have a slower rate of fire but sport increased damage per shot. (Unique to Professor Anders)
  • Vulture: The Vulture is a large gunship that can deliver heavy amounts of fire against all targets. It can be upgraded once to double the number of missiles to eight in its special attack "barrage", which previously carries four. It is the UNSC "Über-unit", and though it is nowhere near as strong or resilient as the Scarab, it makes up for this deficit by being less than a third of the cost of a Scarab in both population and supplies.
  • Pod: This dropship, larger than both the Pelican and Vulture, delivers extremely large objects, such as portions of Firebases, to ground positions.


  • Firebase/Station/Fortress: Provides the basic base of the UNSC with optional "add-on" buildings that can increase its usefulness. May be upgraded to a station then a fortress (Captain Cutter Can drop in already upgraded stations and starts with a Fortress).
    • UNSC Reactor: The reactor provides power for a UNSC base to run on. Can be upgraded once into an advanced reactor to double energy output.
    • UNSC Air Pad: This provides UNSC air units along with upgrades for them.
    • Vehicle Depot: A vehicle depot provides heavier vehicles for the UNSC to use and upgrade.
    • Field Armory: A combination of machine shop and laboratory that provides high-tech upgrades for the UNSC.
    • UNSC Barracks: The barracks can provide a number of infantry types for combat and to upgrade.
    • UNSC Supply Pad: Supply Pads are used to get supplies from the Spirit of Fire via Albatross dropships. Can also be upgraded to Heavy Supply Pads to double the rate of resupply.
    • Base Turret: Initially armed with an M202 XP Machine Gun. The turret may be outfitted with a rail cannon for use against vehicles, a flame mortar for use against infantry, or a missile launcher for use against aircraft. Only available on "Station/Fortress" Command bases.[31] They can be upgraded to Medium Turrets and Large Turrets at the Field Armory.
Brute Minors leading Grunts into battle.


The Brute Army Commander in Halo Wars
Concept art for the Elite grasping two energy swords.
A Covenant Scarab destroys various UNSC vehicles.


  • Unggoy: Fight in lances consisting of a Minor Elite (or, depending on the player's selected leader, a Minor Brute) and several Grunts. They have the secondary ability to throw plasma grenades and can be upgraded with needlers, additional members, and a Deacon to boost combat capabilities through spirituality.[32]
    • Suicide Unggoy (Suicide Grunts): Will berserk and blow themselves up on command. Leader-specific unit of the Arbiter. The explosion is very effective against buildings. They can be upgraded to receive more speed in suicide mode as well as to amplify damage to their suicide attack through the use of deadly adherents.
    • Bomber Unggoy: A grunt that carries an explosive that can eliminate an entire infantry squad. They only appear in Campaign.
  • Elites: In addition to leading Unggoy lances, Elites serve many other roles, such as drivers of vehicles and pilots of aircraft.
    • Honor Guard Elite: Honor Guards serve as powerful anti-infantry units, or more rather, a close combat substitute for Jackals. They can be upgraded with energy shields and active camouflage and are the leader-specific unit of the Prophet of Regret.
    • Ripa 'Moramee: An antagonist in the campaign and a leader unit in multiplayer. The Arbiter starts with dual energy swords and rage special attack that drains resources but makes 'Moramee go on a "killing spree". Upgrades for rage mode include restored health with every kill, cheaper cost to maintain rage, and increased damage to all friendly nearby units. 'Moramee can also upgrade his armor to reflect some damage back to the attacker, increase damage, and to incorporate permanent active camouflage. Ripa 'Moramee will face extreme difficulty against sentinels, even in rage mode. Counter this weakness with any unit that can attack air units or with the Arbiter "Fiendish Return" upgrade.
    • Needler Elites: A pair of Elites that wield Needlers and have an energy shield. They cannot be trained in skirmish mode even if a Covenant leader is played, and are exclusive to campaign mode.
  • Mgalekgolo (Hunters): Hunters are heavily armored and armed with fuel rod-launching assault cannons, like they are in Halo: Combat Evolved. They are the Covenant's primary anti-vehicle infantry. When upgraded, they can receive their traditional shield, a "Spirit Bond" to increase damage given that both of the initial Hunters are alive (this means resurrected Hunters do not receive the Spirit Bond upgrade), and later they can fire a more powerful beam from their cannons.
  • Kig-Yar (Jackals): Jackals fight in pairs in Halo Wars and provide good defense against Marines armed with conventional weapons but little defense against grenades, explosives or vehicles. They are originally armed with carbines without shields but can be upgraded to incorporate point defense gauntlets, beam rifles, and eventually stronger gauntlets in the later stages of the Covenant tech tree.
  • Jiralhanae (Brutes): In battle the Brutes wield Brute shots, which are devastating against infantry and effective against light vehicles. Due to their limited battlefield use prior to the events of Halo 2, they are apparently leader-specific units belonging to the unknown Chieftain. They can be upgraded to have Jump packs and install EMP grenades in their brute shots.[33]
    • Jiralhanae Chieftain. The only usable Brute Chieftain is the same Chieftain that can be selected as a leader, making him a "hero" unit for the faction like the Arbiter.[34]
  • San 'Shyuum (Prophets): Prophets fight from their Gravity Thrones and can attack enemy infantry with their destructive plasma weapons. The only usable in-game Prophet is the Prophet of Regret, who can only be used if he is chosen as a "leader" before the start of the game.[35] The Prophet's plasma cannons can be upgraded to fuel rod cannons for increased damage. His second upgrade adds a pair of Offensive Protectors to protect him and his final upgrade gives him full flight capabilities. His leader power is called "Cleansing", where an energy projector's beam is called down from an orbiting warship to quickly incinerate anything beneath it. The glassing beam can be upgraded to deal more damage.
    • Protectors - A pair of Sentinel-like Protectors guard the Prophet of Regret after the player researches "Ancestral Perversion".


  • Type-47 Ultra Heavy Assault Platform (Scarab): The Scarab is a super-unit that can destroy infantry, ground vehicles, and aircraft with ease. The Scarab is extremely resilient to most weapons fire. Both the Halo 2 and Halo 3 versions have been seen, though the Halo 2 era Scarab has not appeared in more recent Halo Wars videos and demos. Spartans are unable to hijack Scarabs, with the exception of one campaign level in which the Covenant abandon a scarab and you have a choice to get it. The Scarab is unique in its ability to traverse what is considered "rough terrain". In other words, the Scarab can climb over cliffs, mountains, and some structures because of its size and structuring. This makes it the only playable ground unit in the game able to do so.[36]
  • Super Scarab: Seen in the 7th campaign level and is larger and more powerful than a normal scarab. It's legs aren't built yet and cannot be used, but relies on power generators scattered throughout the map for energy to turn its head. Despite the vulnerability of its power source, it is still a very dangerous threat capable of incinerating anything in moments.
  • Type-32 Rapid Assault Vehicle (Ghost): The Ghost is a light attack vehicle that excels against infantry but not other vehicles. Can be upgraded to have a ramming boost ability, similar to the Warthog's Ram ability. Can also be upgraded to strafe as to avoid incoming grenades and rockets and to have a light energy shield.
  • Type-25 Rapid Assault Vehicle (Chopper): The Chopper is a scout-class vehicle available only to the Brute Chieftain leader. The Chopper starts without any guns and is only able to ram hostile ground targets. The Chopper can then be upgraded to include dual cannons on the sides of the Chopper to give the Chopper combat capability and additional ramming targets to increase ramming damage and decrease feedback damage (the damage the Chopper takes after ramming). The autocannons can also be upgraded to equip stabilizers, improving autocannon accuracy and damage.[37]
  • Type-25 Assault Gun Carriage: The Wraith is the main battle tank of the Covenant and is armed with a plasma mortar and a plasma turret capable of decimating enemy infantry and vehicles. It can also be upgraded to allow for the "Scorch" special ability, as well as to have an energy shield. The mortar can also be upgraded to receive a large overall damage boost.
    • Honor Guard Wraith: This unique looking type of Wraith is only available by activating a skull exclusive to the special edition, which also requires Xbox live to obtain.
  • Locust: A smaller counterpart to the Covenant Scarab which is described as a "building-killer". When upgraded with the overdrive ability, the Locust can drain its shields for extra power by using the secondary attack button. Another upgrade for the Locust allows its shield to regenerate faster, which can be bolstered by the "Forerunner Shield" upgrade to compound the recharge speed.


  • Type-26 Ground Support Aircraft, otherwise known as the Banshee: The Banshee can attack infantry, tanks and other air vehicles due to its twin Plasma Cannons and single Fuel Rod Cannon. With upgrades, Banshees' rate of fire on their Plasma Cannons is increased and Banshees can attempt to crash into enemy units or buildings when they are shot down, causing extra damage. Banshees also have the ability to boost after the 1st upgrade.
  • DX-class Dropship Spirit: The Spirit is the rival to the UNSC Pelican, capable of carrying vehicles and infantry in addition to giving them fire support. The screen for the Spirit of Fire is not available for the Covenant Leaders and therefore these cannot be called upon to transport troops or vehicles in skirmish or multiplayer modes.
  • Vampire: A Covenant flying vehicle; a potent craft fitted to fight against hostile air vehicles. It can be upgraded to have a stasis beam that drains enemy aircraft health and replenishes its own, and later they can create an explosion after stasis if fully upgraded. It should be accompanied by Banshees to defend from ground units.
  • Huragok (Engineers): Sent into combat zones to repair damaged vehicles and structures, as well as squads of infantry. The upgrade, State of Grace, will increase its repair rate while the upgrade, Harmonious Digestion, will increase its speed. An Engineer may repair other Engineers, but not itself. [38]


Glassing in Halo Wars.
  • Outpost/Keep/Citadel: Provides the basic base of the Covenant with optional 'add on' buildings that can increase its usefulness. Outpost can be upgraded to Keep and then to a Citadel.
    • Shield Generator: Provides shield protection for the whole Citadel. It is possible to have multiple shield generators, thus improving the Citadel's shielding.
    • Warehouse: The warehouse is how the Covenant receive supplies. Gravity lifts bring supplies down and workers move them to their proper area. The warehouse can be upgraded to a blessed warehouse receive supplies more often.
    • Heavy Plasma Turret: The main defenses of a Covenant base, the Turret first starts with Plasma Turrets, but can be upgraded with a Plasma Mortar, Fuel Rod Cannon, or a Heavy Needler.
    • Temple: A Covenant research building, the upgrades are very expensive but are very effective and powerful.
    • Summit: The roost of the Covenant air force, the Summit builds Banshees, Vampires and Engineers.
    • Hall: The home of Covenant soldiers, Grunt lances, Jackal pairs and Hunter pairs are trained here. The building also researches minor upgrades for Covenant infantry.
    • Factory: The manufacturing plant of the Covenant, the Factory builds Ghost scouts, Wraith tanks and Locust walkers.
  • Type-26 ASG (Shade): The Halo: Combat Evolved variant of the Shade is featured as a defensive Structure. This is only available in Campaign.[40]
  • Deployable Lookout Tower: Can be used to garrison infantry units from both players (in co-op), increasing their combat capabilities.
  • Mega Turret: A massive turret featured in campaign where the Mega Turret looks like a upgraded version for the Heavy Turret. It's power is very high and it is advisable to take it out with the MAC Blast. It is also featured as a neutral garrison able structure on Tundra. Here it fires in barrages and takes time to recharge. It is indestructible (but as always, the garrisoned troops can be killed).
  • Gravity Lift: Each Covenant base has a Gravity Lift right outside. Gravity Lifts let the Covenant's players to do "Hot Dropping" which allows to send any units (except the Scarab) directly to their Leader's location.[41]

Ship Support

  • Glassing: This appears to be used as a Covenant super weapon. The glassing ship can fire this from orbit to destroy ground positions and units. Can be upgraded for an even more devastating effect. This is named the "Cleansing Beam" in the game and is the Prophet of Regret's leader power.

Neutral Units


  • Insurrectionist Infantry: Can be found occupying neutral base sites, and the area around any Forerunner structures and/or garrisonable areas that give bonuses, supply elevators, reactors, etc. They come usually armed with Assault Rifles, and in conjunction may use Rocket Launchers.


  • Sentinel: Standard Sentinel, fires a standard beam, doing medium damage. Occupies Forerunner Neutral base sites and bonuses.
  • Super Sentinel: Can slow down enemy units and have a more powerful sentinel beam than the standard Sentinels, cannot attack air units, rendering it harmless against air units.
  • Protector: Able to be "attached" to units, providing either a rechargeable energy shield, replenishing health, or a pulse laser weapon depending on the type of Protector. The "Ancestral Perversion" upgrade gives the Prophet of Regret two of the pulse laser types on any map.
  • Forerunner Supply Elevator: Produces supplies when infantry are garrisoned inside it. Equivalent to an additional Supply Pad or Warehouse. Means you can build one less Supply Pad/Warehouse.
  • Forerunner Teleporter: Instantly sends units to another teleporter location. In most maps, these are just one way.
  • Forerunner Bonus Reactor: Increases tech level of any player that controls it. This will mean you can have an extra slot on open in a base for other usage.
  • Forerunner Life Support Pod: Increases the max population for any player who controls it. Only found on the multiplayer level Beasley's Plateau.
  • Forerunner Fort: Outpost guarded by automated systems, including laser turrets and a shield wall. Retracts in on itself after sustaining enough damage.
  • Protector Plant: Produces three types of Protectors for the player who stands near it. Only found on the multiplayer level Labyrinth.
  • Relic: Releases Flood upon an enemy when infantry are garrisoned inside it. Only found on the multiplayer level Release.

The Flood

Flood biomass and tentacles ensnare an Elephant, with Flood Infection Forms and Combat Forms in the background.
"There is quite a bit of concern regarding how we’re going to fit the Flood into our game and keep it in canon which surprised me, but I promised them all that the Halo 1 canon is intact and that they would have to wait and see how we integrate the Flood."
—Graeme Devine[42] The Flood are a faction within the game, though the player is unable to use them. The Flood gain units by taking over Human and Covenant troops.

Flood Infection Forms, Combat Forms, and Carrier Forms are the Flood's main attack force. In the February issue of GamePro, it is confirmed that there will be new Flood forms in Halo Wars. New ones tend to include a new form which appears to be named the 'Bomber Form'. It appears to drop acid on units and buildings and when killed, drops infection forms. The reason the Flood cannot be controlled by the player is due to balance issues, as they would have to be balanced out against the two playable factions. In the multiplayer map Release, they are a hostile force to both sides of the battle and can be exploited by the players as a blessing or a curse.

In respect to keeping the appearance of the Flood in canon with the rest of the series, the game has the Spirit of Fire traveling back to Earth at speeds slower than light after its mission had ended, making it impossible for them to report the existence of the Flood. However, this raises further controversy over the presence of the Spartans on board the Spirit of Fire.

Ground Forms
A Flood Infection Form is seen on the bottom left.
  • Infection Forms have the ability to crawl over walls, increasing its potent abilities, and is able to reach ground no other forces can reach. When any infantry units encounters Infection forms, they are usually attacked and infected. This applies to all combat infantry units(except hero units such as John Forge) in the game, including both Grunts and Jackals, turning them into Combat Forms and making use of their weapons.
  • Combat Forms: The standard fighting force of the Flood. There are six additional types of Combat Forms: Marine, Flamethrower, Elite, Brute, Jackal and Grunt forms in-game. Note when the infected units turn into the corresponding combat form, that unit's rank (if any) also goes with the combat form, making it more deadly.
  • Infected Marines: Marines or ODSTs(and possibly Medics) that have been infected by the Flood. They come in squads of four (or, in one mission, six) when they spawn on campaign and skirmish maps, or individually when they were formerly owned by a player and then infected. They always wield Assault Rifles and Shotguns despite previous equipment.
  • Infected Flamethrowers: Flamethrower marines that were once owned by a player and then infected. They always wield Flamethrowers, as with living UNSC Flamethrower Marines. Infected Flamethrowers are a bit of a sub-category of Infected Marines, as they are exactly like Infected Marines but just wield Flamethrowers.
  • Infected Elites: Elites that were infected by the flood. They come in pairs and use a melee attack instead of weaponry when they spawn, or individually when they were formerly owned by a player and then infected. They are the only Combat Form with a Melee attack.
  • Infected Brutes: Brutes that were infected by the flood. They come in pairs when they spawn in campaign, or individually when they were formerly owned by a player and then infected. They always wield Brute Shots, as with living Covenant brutes.
  • Infected Grunts: Grunts that were once owned by a player and then infected. Depending on their previous weaponry they will always wield either Plasma Pistols or Needlers. They also retain the ability to throw plasma grenades.
  • Infected Jackals: Jackals that have been infected by the flood. They come in pairs when they spawn on skirmish maps, or individually when they were owned by a player and then infected. They always wield Carbines and Defense gauntlets (that can be overloaded) when infected by player controlled Jackals, despite previous weaponry, but have been encountered with Beam Rifles when they are in scripted positions (i.e. additional reactors on flood levels).
  • Carrier Forms: A suicidal unit that explodes and delivers its payload of Infection Forms directly into enemy lines.
  • Flood Growth Pods now function as a double-edged sword: shooting them will sometimes releases precious resources for weapon and vehicle upgrades. At other times, however, they will release either a swarm of Infection Forms or a cloud of Flood spores, both of which can destroy infantry squads in seconds. They appear as either large flood "eggs" the size of small vehicles, or as multiple of the Halo 3 variety growing on tall stalks.
  • Flood Thrasher Forms: Large, about the size of an Elephant. Essentially an anti-vehicle Flood form, although easily killed.
  • Flood spore clouds: A green mist that if units are in for too long, they are killed and infected. It should be noted that these can not be killed except on occasion by flamethrower marines and will decimate infantry ground forces in seconds due to their superior speed in comparison to UNSC ground units. It is also advisable to keep vehicles separate from ground infantry as the infected troop will often destroy the vehicles as they transform.
Air Forms
  • Flood Swarms: The first-ever-seen flying incarnation of the Flood, described by developers as "infected buzzards crossed with evil bats". These creatures travel in large airborne packs, and can emit dart-like projectiles to puncture enemies.
  • Flood Bomber Forms: Large, bloated, airborne Flood forms. They attack by dropping Flood Growth Pods full of Infection Forms onto enemies.
Building Forms
  • Flood Barracks: Organic structures that ceaselessly churn out a variety of attackers. They can't be destroyed by "conventional" weaponry, but players can damage them enough to force them into a withered, dormant state. The effect is only temporary, and given enough time, the Barracks will recover and begin producing more Flood forms.
  • Flood Root: This form appears to be a defensive unit that "whips" or grabs units that get close to it.[43]
  • Flood Colony: A large structure found in heavily infested areas. Used as a "base" by the Flood.[44]Regenerates only in the Campaign mode, otherwise opens up new base slots when killed.
  • Proto-Gravemind: This appears to be the main Flood's base's building. It seems to be connected to the Colony Forms, as whenever they take damage, the Proto-Gravemind takes damage too.[45]
  • Flood Nest: A small organic building, shaped like a jellyfish which creates Infection Forms and Carrier Forms.[46]
  • Flood Launcher: Stationary tower-like forms that fire globs from their tops at enemies. These glob-like projectiles will release a spore cloud. This makes them dangerous to approach. It appears Spartans are immune to the clouds.
  • Flood Den: A medium-sized building form which Flood Swarms and Flood Thrasher Forms come out of.
  • Flood Vent: Large vents covered in Flood biomass which create Flood Bomber Forms.

Arcadian Civilian

Civilians are only encountered on Mission 4: Arcadia City, where the Spirit of Fire and Spartan Red Team helps them board Cargo ships for evacuation from the city. They function as normal infantry units, with five people per "squad" and a health bar that can be healed from a Repair Beam.

Arcadian Police: They come armed with M6D pistols, but do little damage and are easily killed.

Known Civilians
  • Adam - Adam is a male civilian, possibly a child due to the fact of a mother heard asking where her son Adam is near a terminal. He is only seen when you activate a control panel that opens up a door to a tower. He runs out and goes toward Cargo Ship Two. If you can manage to escort him to the ship without him dying, you will unlock "The Real Winner" achievement. But the one thing that makes it difficult is that if he gets shot once, he dies.
  • Adam's mother - She is not seen, but when you move your troops close to the terminal, or activate it, she will ask if you have seen her son.
Ambient Life
Thorn Beast seen in the middle of a battle.

Ambient life forms were planned to be encountered during gameplay. They may have been found on the battlefield, and might have reacted to the actions of the player's forces (such as firing a weapon, flying around or near them, etc.).[47] Examples include the Space Owl, the Harvest Whale, the Arctic Beast, Ice Hound and some sort of eel-snake creature that has yet to be named.

These creatures have been cut from the game, as the only ambient life visible on any campaign or multiplayer maps are birds who do not visibly react to actions taken by the player.

Game Concepts

Technology Advancement

Throughout the campaign and in Skirmishes, the player must advance their technology in order to increase their army's power. When technology is increased, more units, upgrades, and buildings become available. For instance, infantry units can receive additional members or stronger weaponry. Field Armories or Temples (and the upgrades within them) can become available with increased technology as well.

The tech tree is different for the two playable factions. When playing as the UNSC, the player advances by building and upgrading reactors. The Covenant moves through the tech-tree in Ages by purchasing upgrades at the leader temple; players can advance to the Age of Doubt and the Age of Reclamation respectively. Players can also advance by capturing Forerunner Bonus Reactors .

When a Reactor is built or an Age is researched, OR a Forerunner Bonus Reactor is claimed, the tech number on the top right of the screen goes up. If, say, a reactor is destroyed, the number goes down. Different buildings, units, and upgrades require higher numbers for use.

Veterancy Points

Veterancy points increases a unit's statistics, such as attack, attack speed, defense, etc. This number can be calculated by counting how many stars a unit has above their health bar. This is the number of veterancy points said unit has. The stars, or Veterancy Points. are acquired only after a unit or a group of units have defeated enemy structures, units, vehicles, or other combat related situations. They are also gained by upgrading the unit. A unit has a maximum of 3 stars, except a Spartan-Commandeered vehicle, which has a maximum of 14 "Veterancy Points" for Tanks/Grizzlies and Hornets/Hawks. All other Spartan-Commandeered vehicles have a maximum of 13 "Veterancy Points". Some special player units in campaign mode (example: ODSTs in the level Anders' Signal) that have a maximum of 5 Veterancy Points. A mist effect appears briefly over a unit when it gains a veterancy point, though this is hard to see unless closely watching the unit.

Leader Abilities

Certain characters belonging to both the Covenant and the UNSC have been confirmed to be "leader factions", which are sub-factions with unique units and bonuses. All of the Covenant leaders appear on the battlefield and have unique in-game abilities. The UNSC leaders on the other hand do not appear on the battlefield but instead have economic bonuses and "super units" (upgrades of normal units). Currently known leaders are Captain James Cutter, Sergeant John Forge, Professor Ellen Anders, Ripa 'Moramee, an unknown Brute Army Commander and the Prophet of Regret. Each leader has a number of unique features, for the UNSC it's "super units", economic bonuses, unique units (Cutter's Elephant, Forge's Cyclops and Anders' Gremlin.) and leader powers (ODST Drop/MAC Blast, Carpet bomb and Cryo bomb, respectively to leaders stated previously) that can be called from the Spirit of Fire. The Covenant on the other hand have a unique unit (two for the brute leader) and a "hero unit" (their leader) with their leader power attached to the "hero unit". The Prophet of Regret's ability is to glass enemy forces (known as the "Cleansing Beam" in Halo Wars), which causes significant damage to both structures and units, however it also drains resources while active. His unique units are Sangheili Honor Guards. Ripa Moramee can go into a rage mode and wield two energy swords and can upgrade to infinitely cloak himself, but at the cost of draining resources for every second these modes are active.[48] Ripa Moramee will also have the ability to train Suicidal Grunts. The Brute Chieftain can use his Gravity Hammer to create a vortex which sucks in infantry, then the player can press the A button to create a massive explosion. The Brute Chieftain's unique units are a pair of Brute Shot wielding Brutes (which can be upgraded to have jump packs) and the Chopper.

Although Covenant leaders are limited to one at a time, they are some of the strongest units in the entire game and are immune to stun effects. They can also empower surrounding units.[49]

UNSC Leader Powers

  • Transport: Call a Pelican down to transport selected units (maximum of three vehicles and a number of infantry) to a selected area of the map.
  • Disruption Bomb: A bomb that deactivates any leader powers and prevents others being activated in a short radius during the effect.[50]
  • MAC Blast: Calls down a MAC blast from Spirit of Fire's onboard MAC. Upgrades allow for more shots before the power has to recharge. This power can only be used by Captain Cutter.
  • ODST Drop: ODST pods, individually aimed by the user, are called down at 100 resources each. The pods will spawn a whole ODST squad. Note that it is much faster to drop them from their pods than producing them in a Barracks or via the Elephant, but beware; if your reactors are destroyed or a bonus reactor garrison squad is killed you won't be able to to drop more.[52] (Unique to Captain Cutter; only available after the ODST upgrade has been researched)
  • Cryo Bomb: The Cryo Bomb freezes any units and buildings within the blast radius. Units are unable to move when frozen, and buildings halt all activity. When frozen, air units have a chance of falling to the ground, shattering instantly. The more the Cryo Bomb is upgraded, the freeze time and the chance to make air units fall increases. Note that this also has an effect on your team. (Unique to Professor Anders). Any units that are equipped with shields fare better against the cyro bomb and also have extra time escaping then other ground units.
  • Carpet Bomb: Calls in a bomber to wipe out a large area. Effective against mass infantry or ground vehicles. The more times it is upgraded, the stronger and larger the carpet bomb is. (Unique to Sergeant Forge)

Black Boxes

Main article: Halo Wars Black Boxes

Black boxes are a new feature in the game. Black Boxes are collectibles in the Halo Wars campaign that when collected, they add new events in the Halo Wars Timeline. They look like black boxes with yellow stripes on them and can be picked up by any unit. When you collect one you can just resign straight away and you will still have it. The timeline covers many of the important events from the games and the novels. There is only one black box on each level in the game.

Cut Content

The asteroid that never was...

Five units, the UNSC Cougar, UNSC Fox Cannon, Covenant Air Artillery, Covenant Gorgon, the UNSC Falcon, and the UNSC Leviathan[citation needed] were under development early in the game along with the ability to actually construct individual buildings. The developers later announced that these units been cut, as they had decided to focus on more recognizable Halo units and simpler gameplay.

Before Ensemble conceived the idea for The Apex, the storyline was supposed to feature a Covenant mining asteroid that was located at a Forerunner ore refining mechanism. This concept tries to show the scale of the large Forerunner machinery in place with machines that are still operational, although now controlled by the Covenant. In the end the mining aspect of the story was removed from the game.[53]

Another piece of deleted content is ambient life (i.e. Thorn Beasts, Harvest Whale, etc.) This may have been because the game already has some minor 'pathfinding issues' and the wildlife would have just been an obstacle.

Halo Wars Multiplayer

Covenant forces engage humans on the level Chasms.

Just like Halo 2 & Halo 3, Halo Wars has strong characteristics of online gaming. Halo Wars' live gaming characteristics include Direct voice communication & Online leader boards. Unlike any of the other Halo games, now your vehicles' and troops' armor will change to the teams color so you can get red Hunters, purple Grunts, etc. There is no specific information regarding player ranking but players are able to achieve the ranks of Recruit, Lieutenant, Major, Commander, Colonel, Brigadier, and General. Multiplayer is up to 6 players at a time in a match. Two player online Co-op for the campaign story is available in the game.[54][55]


Each multiplayer map apparently takes place on a different "world", each with its own musical theme and playlist.[56] The Halo Rings won't be in the story, but may be included in future maps for multiplayer.

  • Beasley Plateau - A multiplayer map set on a dense jungle plateau.[57]
  • Chasms - A multiplayer map set on a frozen region of Harvest.[58]
  • Blood Gulch - A multiplayer map based off designs from Blood Gulch, the Halo: Combat Evolved map.[59]
  • Release - A multiplayer map set on a Flood-dominated environment.
  • Fort Deen - A multiplayer map set on Fort Deen, UNSC military base.
  • Tundra - A multiplayer map set on a icy area and has a mega turret in the center with Covenant Energy Barriers surrounding it.
  • Pirth Outskirts - A multiplayer map set on the outskirts of Pirth.
  • Crevice- A multiplayer map set on a Flood-dominated environment.
  • The Docks - A multiplayer map set in the city of Arcadia.
  • Labyrinth - A multiplayer map set on a open, bridge-like map in a forest environment.
  • Repository - A multiplayer map with a Sentinel factory in the middle.
  • Terminal Moraine - A multiplayer map set on in an icy environment with two timed Forerunner bridges that provide access to tactically important locations.
  • Frozen Valley - A multiplayer map set in a large, open area of snow with a Forerunner Spire of Healing in the center.
  • Exile[60] - A multiplayer map set on a Flood-dominated environment.

Historic Battle Map Pack

The Historic Battle Map Pack was released to Xbox LIVE Marketplace on July 21st, 2009 and sells for 800 Microsoft Points. Along with 4 new maps, the DLC includes 4 new achievements as well. The maps included in this Map Pack are:

Skirmish Mode

Halo Wars features a "Skirmish Mode", where the player can battle on multiplayer maps against an AI opponent in 1vs1, 2vs2 and 3vs3 match. There will be 14 skirmish and multiplayer maps at launch.[61] There are two modes in Skirmish, Standard and Deathmatch. Three more modes are available if you have the Strategic Options DLC (800 Microsoft Points): Keepaway, Tug of War, and Reinforcements.

In Deathmatch, you start with 15,000 resources and a tech level of 4 for the UNSC, and 3 for the Covenant (Building a Temple increases your tech level to six, but more importantly give you your leader). All your units, buildings and leader abilities are already fully upgraded. Your population starts at 15 and you gain 10 population for taking over a base, up to 99. When you lose a base, the population limit goes down by 10. In Standard mode, you start off with 0 tech level and 800 resources. All units must be upgraded including turrets and leader abilities. The population limit starts at 30 for the UNSC and 40 for the Covenant. In Keepaway mode, you capture the flag from your opponent and bring it back to your base. In Tug of War mode, the objective is who can field and maintain the strongest army who wins. In Reinforcements mode, you have to adapt your tactics as you are granted waves of troops, much like an endurance battle.

Editors of OXMs January 2009 Halo Wars article played on a multiplayer map called "Blood Gulch". It was stated that it is not the same map as that in Halo: Combat Evolved, but some elements have clearly been used in the design for the map.[62] It is also known that you have to win a Skirmish match on every playable map and with all the different leaders in order to achieve the Playin' the Field and the Gallivant Around The Galaxy achievements.


Main article: Halo Wars: Original Soundtrack

The music for Halo Wars was composed by Ensemble Studios in-house composer Stephen Rippy, with additional music by his long time collaborator and game Audio Lead Kevin McMullan. It was recorded in Prague, Czech Republic by 45 members of the FILMHarmonic Orchestra and a 21 voice choir at CNSO Studio No. 1.[63][64] The score was released as a single CD package with a bonus DVD containing additional tracks, 5.1 surround sound mixes of some cues and a behind the scenes video showing the recording sessions of the Halo Wars main theme and various trailers for the game.[65] It was also put up for retail as a digital download over iTunes and Sumthing Digital.[66][67] The response to the score was almost universally enthusiastic, with most critics praising Stephen Rippy's taking the series into new stylistic territory while still paying homage to and reworking classic themes and ideas.[68][69][70]

Marketing Promotions and Release

Alpha Test

A screenshot taken of an Alpha playtester.

An Alpha test was done for Halo Wars[71], concluding during May, 2008. The test was open only to several thousand Microsoft employees, including Bungie Studios, in order to locate any bugs or glitches, and to test its performance over Xbox Live. It consisted of a brief "tutorial" and multiplayer, and was "limited to a specific set of units." It is unknown how long the Alpha test was conducted, or when it began.[72]

During the Alpha test, anti-air units were glitching so that their effectiveness was lessened, and Scorpion tanks and aircraft were extremely powerful. Aircraft strength was lessened to prevent players from sending in air-strikes against the enemy Command Center and crippling them too easily, ruining many a protocol player's chances of victory.[73] This actually isn't an element of the game, but in fact a "balance issue".


Main article: Halo Wars Demo

On February 5th, a demo for Halo Wars was released on Xbox Live for the first time for Gold Xbox Live Subscribers. The demo was made available to non-Gold subscribers on February 12th. The demo also set a record for most downloaded demo in one day.


E3 2008 Trailer

Main article: Five Long Years Cinematic

Five Long Years is a Halo Wars cinematic preview released on the July 14th of 2008 depicting the five year long struggle to reclaim Harvest from the Covenant, as well as being the first cutscene for the game. The trailer can be downloaded from the Halo Wars official website or here.

Field Trip To Harvest

Field Trip To Harvest is a cinematic preview that was released to the public on October 3rd, 2008 showing the UNSC's retaking of the planet Harvest and the Covenant's finding of a Forerunner structure. Also, in the conversation between a Zealot and the Arbiter, there is mention of "the Infection". This was speculated to be an introduction to the Flood in Halo Wars before the release of the game, but because no Flood were encountered on Harvest, it is almost certainly just a name for the Humans on Harvest.

The Call To Battle

The Call to Battle is a collection of already known cinematics, but it also shows some campaign maps. You can also see that you can make a lot more units than in the demo.

Unknown Trailer Video

On February 8th, 2009, the Taiwanese Xbox Live website released a four minute-long trailer which contained spoilers detailing the later story of Halo Wars. It was soon taken down, and other sites which put it up, including, removed it at the request of Microsoft Game Studios. However, several sites still have the video. The music from the trailer has been confirmed to be "Optimus vs. Megatron", a song from the Transformers movie. It can be watched here.

ViDoc: Halo Times Ten

Main article: Halo Wars ViDoc: Halo Times Ten

On January 23rd, 2009, the first ViDoc of Halo Wars was released on Xbox LIVE marketplace. It tells how a different perspective can change the gameplay and an announcement of the demo planned for February the 5th.

ViDoc: Expanding The Arsenal

Main article: Halo Wars ViDoc: Expanding The Arsenal

On February 3rd, 2009, the second Halo Wars ViDoc was released. It tells about Spartans and hero unit abilities.

ViDoc: Strategy on Xbox

Main article: Halo Wars ViDoc: Strategy on Xbox

On February 12th, 2009 the third Halo Wars ViDoc was released. It describes the controls featured and what expectation there are of the game. Like the previous ViDocs, this one features cinematic scenes.

ViDoc: Jaws of Victory

Main article: Halo Wars ViDoc: Jaws of Victory

On February 19th, 2009 the fourth Halo Wars ViDoc was released. It informs the viewer about tactics, including multiplayer and the developers' tactics.

Downloadable Content

The first of Halo Wars DLC was released on May 21st. The DLC includes three new gametypes, Keepaway, Tug of War, and Reinforcement. It also adds four new Achievements worth a total of 100 points.

The Historic Battle DLC, the second of DLC, was released on July 21st and comes with another four achievements.


  • The Doritos snack food held a sweepstakes where the winner got a voice role in the game.[74]
  • The ODSTs in the game seem to emerge from 1 drop pod, instead of individual HEVs like in the other Halo games and media.
  • Halo Wars didn't start as a Halo game at all. Six months were spent developing a control scheme for a viable RTS for the Xbox 360, which was later pitched to Microsoft, asking to use the Halo IP, to which Microsoft agreed.[75]
  • There are Skulls in the campaign like in Halo 2 and Halo 3, which add replay value. They may increase or decrease the score, and there is an achievement for getting Gold on a mission with all "Rebel" skulls which make gameplay harder when turned on.[76]
  • During the introductory level in the E3 demonstration video, UNSC Marines can be seen doing push-ups behind the barracks, being drilled by a Drill Instructor. This has been dropped from the final version.[77]
  • An article released by ShackNews states that Halo Wars is Ensemble's last game, and that they are laying off any personnel not essential to the game's completion.[78] In fact, the supposed layoffs were confirmed merely as a rumor, and that while Ensemble was indeed shutting down after the shipment of Halo Wars, layoffs had not begun. However, some of Ensemble's employees had started the company Robot Entertainment and offered the executives at Ensemble a job there.
  • There have been several bugs in the game since the first Xbox LIVE update. One particularly irritating bug is when in game lobbies, every button except the analog sticks are rendered useless for a variable amount of time.
  • The demo had been downloaded over 2 million times in the week following its debut, setting a "day one record" in its initial release.[79]
  • On the cover of Halo Wars, the helmet visor of the front most Spartan reflects the Arbiter and part of the honor stave on cover of the Limited Collector's Edition of Halo Wars, implying that the two sides are meant to be "facing" each other.
  • Canada-based Mega Bloks has recently released LEGO-style "Halo Wars" construction sets.



  3. [
  4. Halo Wars Monthly Update 03/27/08
  5. Interview-Graeme Divine.
  7. 2008-05-07, Next-Gen’s 30 Most Anticipated Games of E3. Joe Keiser. Accessed on 2008-13-07
  10. Interview-Graeme Devine
  11. Halo Wars, "Alpha Base"
  12. Halo Wars, "Relic Approach"
  13. Halo Wars, "Relic Interior"
  14. Halo Wars, Arcadia City (Level)
  15. Halo Wars, "Arcadia Outskirts"
  16. Halo Wars, "Dome of Light"
  17. Halo Wars, Scarab (Level)
  18. Halo Wars, Ander's Signal (Level)
  19. Halo Wars, The Flood (Level)
  20. Halo Wars, Shield World (Level)
  21. Halo Wars, Cleansing (Level)
  22. Halo Wars, Repairs (Level)
  23. Halo Wars, Beachhead (Level)
  24. Halo Wars, Reactor (Level)
  25. Halo Wars, Escape (Level)
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 E3 2008: Halo Wars Hands-on. Alex Simmons. Accessed on 2008-17-07
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 27.4 27.5
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Halo Wars CES 09 Cam Footage. G4. Accessed on 2009-01-20
  29. January 2009, Official Xbox Magazine, pp 38-43
  30. [1]
  31. [2]
  41. 1
  47. Halo Wars Update; 2008-02-07, Ambient Life.
  48. OXM January 2009 article
  49. 2008-17-11, Halo Wars Hands-on Preview. Videogamer. Accessed on 2008-19-11
  51. 2008-04-11, TGS08: Halo Wars Gameplay Presentation. Gamereactor TV. Accessed on 2008-17-12
  53. Halo Wars Update: On an Asteroid Far, far away...
  59. Official Xbox Magazine, January 2009 Article
  61. [3]
  62. OXM January 2009 article
  63. [
  64. [4]
  65. [
  66. [5]
  67. [6]
  68. [7]
  69. [8]
  70. [9]
  74. Official Xbox Magazine Issue 74, page 32
  75. Xbox 360: Australia's 100% Game Magazine Issue 28 p28/29
  76. Official Xbox Magazine January 2009 Edition
  77. Xbox World 360 Issue 63 p8
  79. 2009-02-13, Halo Wars Demo Downloaded Over 2 Million




Halo Games
Halo Trilogy Halo: Combat EvolvedHalo 2Halo 3
Other Halo Games Halo WarsHalo 3: ODSTHalo: Reach
PC/Mac Halo PCHalo 2 Vista
Cancelled Titles Halo ChroniclesHalo MMOHalo DS

This article uses material from the "Halo Wars" article on the Halo wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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