Halo is a military science fiction first-person shooter video game franchise managed and developed by 343 Industries, a subsidiary of Xbox Game Studios. Halo was originally developed by Bungie Studios. The series centers on an interstellar war between humanity and an alliance of aliens known as the Covenant. The Covenant, led by their religious leaders called the Prophets, worship an ancient civilization known as the Forerunners, who perished while defeating the parasitic Flood. The central focus of the franchise builds off the experiences of Master Chief John-117, one of a group of supersoldiers codenamed Spartans, and his artificial intelligence (AI) companion, Cortana. Other characters, such as Noble Six from Halo: Reach, are also introduced in the series. The term "Halo" refers to the Halo Array: a group of immense, habitable, ring-shaped superweapons that were created by the Forerunners to destroy the Flood, but which the Covenant mistake for religious artifacts that, if activated, would transport them on a Great Journey to meet the Forerunners. They are similar to the Orbitals in Iain M. Banks' Culture novels, and to a lesser degree to author Larry Niven's Ringworld concept.
The games in the series are critically acclaimed, with the original considered the Xbox's "killer app". This led to the term "Halo killer" being used to describe console games that aspire, or are considered, to be better than Halo. Fueled by the success of Halo: Combat Evolved, and by marketing campaigns from publisher Microsoft, its sequels went on to record-breaking sales. The games have sold over 65 million copies worldwide, with the games alone grossing almost $3.4 billion.
Halo: Contact Harvest is a military science fiction novel by Joseph Staten, based on the Halo series of video games. The book was released in October 2007 and is the fifth Halo novel, following 2006's Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, written by Eric Nylund. Staten is a longtime employee of Bungie, the developer of the Halo video game series; he directed the cut scenes in the video games and is a major contributor to Halo's storyline. He set out to write a novel that appealed to gamers, as well as those who had never read a Halo novel. Set in 2525, twenty-seven years before the events of Halo: Combat Evolved, the novel tells the story of the United Nations Space Command's first encounter with the alien collective known as the Covenant on the colony world of Harvest, and the beginning of the long war that follows. The novel is an ensemble piece, with the action being narrated from both human and Covenant viewpoints. The protagonist is a young Marine, Staff Sergeant Avery Johnson, who also appears in the Halo video games. Upon release, the book was generally well received and became The New York Times bestseller in its first week. Critics pointed to the novel's success as a sign of the increasing importance of story in video games. (Full article...)
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