Halo Timeline – Everything in Chronological Order

The chronological order of Halo isn’t easy. The Halo Universe includes not just games, but also dozens of books, comics, and movies that complement the story. With so many different media and intersecting story arcs, it’s hard for newcomers to determine where to start. That’s why we created the Halo Timeline. The Timeline explains the order of Halo’s books, comics, and films & series, with the games as the central thread. The Halo games are published in this order:

  1. Halo: Combat Evolved (2001)

    This game takes place during the Original Halo Trilogy
    Available for Xbox One as part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

  2. Halo 2 (2004)

    This game takes place during the Original Halo Trilogy
    Available for Xbox One as part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

  3. Halo 3 (2007)

    This game takes place during the Original Halo Trilogy.
    Available for Xbox One as part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

  4. Halo Wars (2009)

    This game takes place during the First Contact with the Covenant.

  5. Halo 3: ODST (2009)

    This game takes place during the Original Halo Trilogy.
    Available for Xbox One as part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

  6. Halo Reach (2009)

    This game takes place during the First Contact with the Covenant.
    Available for Xbox One as part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

  7. Halo 4 (2012)

    This game takes place during the Reclaimer Saga.
    Available for Xbox One as part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

  8. Halo 5: Guardians (2015)

    This game takes place during the Reclaimer Saga.

  9. Halo Wars 2 (2017)

    This game takes place during the Reclaimer Saga.

  10. Halo Infinite (2020)

    Halo Infinite ushers in a new era.

This entry was updated in July 2021.

Now we place the games in the complete Halo Timeline, along with all the books, comics, movies and series. We’ve arranged all media in the Halo universe in chronological order as far as possible . However, due to flashbacks, time jumps or stories that take place over a longer period of time, that’s not always feasible. In that case we use an order that is as logical as possible.

Timelines at Beyond Video Gaming are divided in different eras. Click or tap on a title to see all the media within the era. The following icons will mark whether something is a game, book, comic or movie.

  • Game
  • Book
  • Comic
  • Film or tv-series

If possible, we provide you with a link that enables you to play, read, watch, or buy it right away. We may earn a commission for purchases using our links.

Halo Forerunner Era

The Halo universe goes back to a hundred thousand years ago, when the Forerunners ruled the universe and mankind was still a rather primitive race. The Forerunners have always had a central role in the games. In fact, they are the creators of the titular Halos. Yet there is no game that takes place in the time when this civilization reached its peak.

If you want to delve deeper into this period, you’ve come to the right place with the Halo books from The Forerunner Saga, a trilogy by Greg Bear, which describes the rise and inevitable downfall of this civilization and teaches us a lot about The Librarian, The Didact, The Flood and the ring worlds.

The Forerunner Saga (Chronological order)

Also in this era

Halo Founding of the Covenant

The Covenant is the central enemy in Halo. It’s a diverse collection of different alien races that have united. The political relations within this fragile alliance have received attention since Halo 2, but the games don’t really describe how the Covenant came about. A number of other media pay more attention to this.

 

Halo First Contact

In the 26th century the United Nations Space Command (UNSC) is engaged in a difficult war with the Insurrectionists, when suddenly a much bigger threat occurs: the Covenant. The games Halo Wars and Halo Reach take place in this era, although even in those games the war has been going on for a number of years. There is hardly any attention for Insurrectionists, and also the origins of the Spartans, including Master Chief, are barely touched. Other media, such as the Halo book Contact Harvest, amply fill this gap.

In Chronological Order:

Halo Master Chief Origin

The story of Master Chief’s origins takes place almost in parallel within this time span. Originally trained to fight the Insurrectionists, he and the other Spartans were soon deployed against the Covenant. His story of origin begins and ends with the novel Halo: The Fall of Reach, which for convenience we consider as the first book in his origin story. The other stories are actually in between. The story of The Fall of Reach was later adapted into a comic and animated film.

Master Chief’s origin story in Chronological Order:

 

Halo Trilogy

Both Halo Reach and Halo: The Fall of Reach seamlessly connect to the very first game. Halo: Combat EvolvedHalo 2 and Halo 3 tell how the war between humanity and the Covenant is escalating as Master Chief and Cortana discover the first Halo ring world. Pretty little takes place between the games, as they follow each other in quick succession. The novel Halo: First Strike and comic Halo: Uprising follow Master Chief between the games though. The important novel Halo: Ghosts of Onyx also takes place at this time, although it has no direct connection with the games.

In Chronological Order:

 

Halo Reclaimer Saga

Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians throw the player in the middle of a universe full of new conflicts and characters. The Kilo-Five trilogy mainly describes how the tensions between the various factions have risen again between Halo 3 and Halo 4. Subsequently, almost all characters from Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians have gotten their own book, comic or movie. For example, the movie Halo: Nightfall introduces Jameson Locke, comic Halo: Initiation does that with Spartan Palmer and the books: Halo: New Blood and Halo: Last Light tell more about Buck and Blue Team respectively. Some media have even been given a sequel (i.e. Halo: Bad Blood as a sequel to New Blood, and Retribution as a semi sequel to Last Light), making it difficult to discern the individual storylines. In chronological order, as far as possible:

Kilo-Five Trilogy (Chronological Order):

Also in this era:

Halo Infinite

With Halo: Infinite 343 Industries starts a new chapter. 343 Industries describes Halo: Infinite as a spiritual reboot. Thanks to a leap in time and by putting Master Chief back in full focus, Halo: Infinite should become an excellent starting point for newcomers, while all previous media still play a role. It is expected that Halo: The Television Series will hook up with Halo: Infinite.

Halo Timeline

There are also a number of collections of short stories set in the Halo Universe. These stories take place in a wide variety of eras and these collections cannot be categorized like the other media. Therefore below an overview of these collections of short stories in order of publication. Some stories from these collections have also been published separately and thus already mentioned in the Halo Timeline.

In order of issue:

 

And finally, we have a single medium that is not a canon. Nevertheless, for the sake of completeness we would like to mention these media in the Halo Timeline.

 

This Halo Timeline has been composed with as much care as possible. Nevertheless, it is possible that an error has crept into our chronological order. Are you an even bigger Halo fan than we are? Please contact us and tell us what we did wrong!

Lars Cornelis

Lars is a game journalist since 2005. He loves virtual adventures and appreciates a good story, whether told through environmental storytelling or deep lore. He has a large collection of books and comics based on his favorite games, like Halo, Assassin's Creed, and Metal Gear Solid.

10 thoughts on “Halo Timeline – Everything in Chronological Order

  • 25 July 2021 at 18:23
    Permalink

    Great timeline Lars! These things can be very time consuming, I admire the work put into it.

    Question: I get that that Halo CE comes before the Flood book, but why does the Anniversary edition come after?

    I’m planning on doing a chronological read/watch/playthrough. Do I have to play the (almost) same game twice?

    Halo: Combat Evolved
    Halo: The Flood
    Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

    Reply
    • 25 July 2021 at 18:40
      Permalink

      Thanks! Great to hear you like the timeline.

      Combat Evolved, The Flood and Anniversary all take place in exactly the same time frame (Combat Evolved and Anniversary being the exact same game, only with enhanced graphics and audio, The Flood tells the same story but adds extra backgroundstories with new characters). But I haven’t yet found a great way to show how some stories overlap in the timeline 🙁 Hence, I chose to put them in order of release.

      I’d say play Combat Evolved Anniversary first (its part of the Master Chief Collection!) and then read The Flood to get that extra bit of background. Hope the timeline helps 🙂

      Reply
      • 26 July 2021 at 12:53
        Permalink

        Thank you so much for the fast reply!
        And thank you for the clarification. I love Halo lore, and going back in chronological order to see what I missed the first time is great. Timelines like this are a big help in that regard.

        Onward to Infinite!

        Reply
  • 20 July 2021 at 09:27
    Permalink

    Thank you1 with this article i can buy all the books 😀

    Reply
  • 14 June 2021 at 01:30
    Permalink

    Will you be updating this article when new books/ games are released?

    Reply
    • 17 June 2021 at 10:19
      Permalink

      Yes, definitely!

      Reply
  • 29 May 2021 at 05:24
    Permalink

    reach is legit the first game in the timeline like get it right next time

    Reply
    • 29 May 2021 at 11:30
      Permalink

      Hi! The first part is just all games in the order they were published! So that’s why Reach is not the first in line. The second part of the article puts everything in chronological order – and makes Reach the first game of course 🙂

      Reply
  • 1 March 2021 at 15:15
    Permalink

    What about the 2 strike games? Everyone forgets about them.

    Reply
    • 2 March 2021 at 11:32
      Permalink

      I’ve only included them in the full chronological order, not in the list of ‘main games’! You think I should add them there as well?

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *