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 3: ODST is a 2009 first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It is part of the Halo franchise, and was released on the Xbox 360 video game console on September 22, 2009. Players assume the roles of elite human United Nations Space Command soldiers, known as "Orbital Drop Shock Troopers" or ODSTs, during the events of Halo 2. In the game's campaign mode, players explore the ruined city of New Mombasa to discover what happened to their missing teammates in the midst of an alien invasion. In the "Firefight" multiplayer option, players battle increasingly difficult waves of enemies to score points and survive as long as possible; Halo 3's multiplayer is contained on a separate disc packaged with ODST. New copies of the game also contained access keys to the Halo: Reach multiplayer beta release. Bungie initially conceived ODST as a small side project to produce in the lull between Halo 3's completion and Halo: Reach. During development, the planned expansion grew in scope to that of a full-sized game. Upon release, ODST became the top-selling Xbox 360 game worldwide. The title received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the atmosphere, music, and story approach. Reviewers were divided on whether the relatively short campaign and included extras were enough to justify the game's US$60 price tag. The game was the top-selling title in the United States in September 2009, and sold more than 3 million copies worldwide. (Full article...)
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