Halo: Combat Evolved, simply known as Halo, is a first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released as a launch title for Microsoft's Xbox video game console on November 15, 2001. Microsoft released versions of the game for Windows and Mac OS X in 2003. The game was later released as a downloadable Xbox Original for the Xbox 360. Halo is set in the twenty-sixth century, with the player assuming the role of the Master Chief, a cybernetically enhanced supersoldier. The Chief is accompanied by Cortana, an artificial intelligence. Players battle various aliens as they attempt to uncover the secrets of the eponymous Halo, a ring-shaped artificial world.
Bungie began the development of what would eventually become Halo in 1997. Initially, the game was a real-time strategy game that morphed into a third-person shooter before becoming a first-person shooter. During development, Microsoft acquired Bungie and turned the game into a launch title for its new video game console, the Xbox.
Halo was a critical and commercial success and is often praised as one of the greatest video games of all time. The game's popularity led to labels such as "Halo clone" and "Halo killer", applied to games either similar to or anticipated to be better than it. Its sequel, Halo 2, was released for the original Xbox in 2004, and the game spawned a multi-billion-dollar multimedia franchise that incorporates games, books, toys, and films. The game inspired and was used in the fan-created Red vs. Blue video series, which is credited as one of the first major successes of machinima (the technique of using real-time 3D engines, often from video games, to create animated films).
More than five million copies had been sold worldwide by November 2005. A high-definition remake, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, was released for Xbox 360 on the 10th anniversary of the original game's launch. Anniversary was re-released for Xbox One as part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection in 2014, and was released on Windows PCs in March 2020.
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