The Banished are the main enemy in Halo Infinite, with War Chief Escharum taking up the mantle as Master Chief’s new nemesis. If you’ve only played Halo 1 till 5, you’ve probably never heard about this Covenant remnants before. Although Escharum is first introduced in Halo Infinte, The Banished as a group have played a major role in the universe ever since 2017, and their role will only increase with the release of Halo Infinite.
Now is the time to catch up on The Banished, so we’ve assembled a list of all media featuring the ragtag band of Covenant-dissidents.
Halo Wars 2
The Banished played their biggest role yet in Halo Wars 2. In the real-time strategy game, they are introduced as the main antagonist.
Taking place after the conclusion of Halo 5: Guardians, The Banished, led by Brute Chieftain Atriox, have conquered the Forerunner installation The Ark. The UNSC Spirit of Fire stumbles upon them by accident and battles the new enemy all over the installation. In the downloadable expansion Awakening the Nightmare, the player takes command of The Banished troops, as they accidently unleash The Flood on The Ark.
Halo Wars 2 is a pretty good RTS worth playing. Halo Wars 2 is true to the lore and contains beautiful custscenes created by BLUR, who also made the cutscenes for Halo 2: Anniversary. There are also ties to both Halo 5: Guardians and Halo Infinite.
Halo: Rise of Atriox
The comic book anthology Halo: Rise of Atriox dives deeper into the origins of The Banished. The series covers how Atriox rebelled against the Covenant and assembled his own faction, by conscripting new allies and defeating those who stand against him. The comic features other characters from Halo Wars 2 as well, like Decimus and Shipmaster Let ‘Volir.
Although much information is already covered in Halo Wars 2, Rise of Atriox really brings The Banished more to life. If you want to know more about the new enemy, this is the best place to start.
Halo: Tales from Slipspace
Graphic novel anthology Halo: Tales from Slipspace consists of seven brand new stories from the Halo Universe, with one of them featuring The Banished. In Hunting Party, the Sangheili special operations team Silent Shadow encounters The Banished and their leader Atriox. Silent Shadow appeared in other Halo stories as well, including The Master Chief Stories Silent Storm and Oblivion, so we might just meet them again in Halo Infinite.
Hunting Party might not the most essential story about The Banished. If you’ve played Halo Wars 2 however, or if you’re planning to, Tales of Slipspace also contains another interesting tie-in story taking place between Halo Wars 1 and 2, when a Flood outbreak threatens the UNSC Spirit of Fire, as well as some interesting stories about the universe after Halo 5. Tales of Slipspace is definitely not an essential read, but interesting enough for the fans who want to dive deeper into the lore
There are a few novels in which The Banished are mentioned, but don’t actually appear. If you really want to know everything there is to know about The Banished, you might want to read these books as well:
- Halo: Smoke and Shadow (Check on Amazon)
- Halo: Envoy (Check on Amazon)
- Halo: Retribution (Check on Amazon)
Prepare for Halo Infinite
Halo Infinite takes place a little more than one year after the events in Halo Wars 2. Sometime before the start of Halo Infinite, The Banished under the command of Escharum managed to conquer Installation 07, also known as Zeta Halo. As Escharum has not been mentioned anywhere before, it is yet unknown how he managed to conquer Zeta Halo.
If you’ve read both Rise of Atriox and Tales from Slipspace (or at least the short story Hunting Party) and played Halo Wars 2, you are fully up to speed and know everything there is to know about The Banished.
Halo Infinite will drop in 2021, on pc, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. Want to dive deeper into the Halo universe? Be sure to check out our Halo Timeline: a complete overview of all Halo games, books, comics and films in chronological order.