When you think about the pioneers of gaming, a lot of titles come up – but for many gamers, one stands out above the rest. Even people who don’t usually play games, or haven’t heard of many, know this one: Halo.

Back in 2001, developers Bungie and publishers Microsoft put their first foot in the door of modern console gaming with Halo, a first-person action shooter which would go on to be a best-selling title for the Xbox for years to come, spanning seven main titles and four spin-off games, uniting a generation of gamers both young and old.

The first game was the one that initiated many people’s burning passion for the series – Halo: Combat Evolved. Releasing in November of 2001 as a launch title for Microsoft’s first entry into the console world as well, the original Xbox. Halo: CE would go on to sell over a million copies in its first five months of release, and would receive a whopping total of 48 awards in various categories, including from The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, Electronic Gaming Monthly and IGN. Halo is often praised as one of the greatest video games of all time.

Three years later, Microsoft would go on to release Halo 2. Building on its narrative with protagonist Master Chief and following him on more adventures, Halo 2 would also go on and revolutionize the multiplayer FPS (first-person shooter) scene for gamers globally. Even if you weren’t playing Halo 2 at the time, FPS games for years to come felt and looked the same and used similar gameplay mechanics. Similar to the success of its older brother, Halo 2 won many accolades and awards from the media and gaming community, selling 1.5 million copies in preorders three weeks before release! By this point, it’s safe to say that Microsoft was onto a winner.

From here, Microsoft built a little suspense in its fanbase – it worked for three years before releasing another entry in the Halo series. In September of 2007, the most-loved and treasured Halo game launched: Halo 3. More often than not, if you ask someone their favourite Halo game, it’s Halo 3. Halo 3 is iconic in its own right and stands atop a mighty pedestal for amazing narrative and multiplayer gameplay. Amassing an incredible $170 million in sales on its first day in the US alone, Halo 3 was well-received everywhere.

Four years later, Microsoft took a tangent in the Halo franchise, this time not following our usual protagonist Master Chief. Halo: Reach would release in September of 2010, and (as per usual) was immediately loved by fans globally. Taking place a few weeks before Halo: Combat Evolved in the series’ timeline, Halo: Reach tells the story of the planet of Reach and humanity’s attempt to save it from the Covenant Empire. Grossing $200 million on launch day alone, Halo: Reach smashed yet more records! This title would also be developer Bungie’s last entry in the series, handing the reins over to 343 Industries for Halo 4.

If you missed any of these incredible games as they came out back in the day, fear not – you can play them all on Xbox Game Pass right now in The Master Chief Collection. All the games have been remastered and reworked for the modern Xbox. Multiplayer is back in all forms, and it’s better than ever! Xbox Game Pass is bundled with a brand new Xbox One as part of our Xbox All Access offer at one low monthly subscription price.

So after all these years and many, many Halo titles, you’d surely think Microsoft would be done…definitely not! Many fans are eagerly awaiting the release of the next installment of the tales of Master Chief with Halo Infinite! We’re ready to take on more adventures later this year, too, as Halo Infinite launches alongside the brand new Xbox Series X later this year.