Halo Timeline Everything in Chronological Order

Halo Timeline – Everything in Chronological Order

The chronological order of Halo isn’t easy. The Halo series includes not just games, but also dozens of books, comics, and movies that complement the story. Together, these media are referred to as the Halo Core Canon. The Paramount Plus TV Show introduces an entirely new timeline called the Silver Timeline. With so many different media and intersecting story arcs, it’s hard for newcomers to determine what the chronological order of Halo is or where to start their journey. That’s why we created this Halo Timeline. Our Timeline explains the chronological order of the Halo games, books, comics, and movies.

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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.

Era of the Forerunners

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.

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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

Founding of the Covenant

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.

In this era (Chronological order)

War with Insurrectionists/First Contact Covenant

Halo War Insurrectionists

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 this era (Chronological order)

Master Chief’s Origin Story

Halo Master Chief Origin

The story of Master Chief’s origins takes place almost in parallel within the previous 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 actually take place during the events of The Fall of Reach. The story of The Fall of Reach was later adapted into a comic and animated film.

In Master Chief’s origin story (Chronological order)

The Original Halo Trilogy

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 ringworld. The three games follow each other in quick succession, so little happens in between the games. The novel Halo: First Strike and comic Halo: Uprising fill in the gaps between the games. The important novel Halo: Ghosts of Onyx also takes place at this time, although it has no direct connection with the games.

In this era (Chronological order)

Galaxy in turmoil

Halo Glasslands

After the conclusion of the original Halo Trilogy, the universe is still in turmoil. Remnants of the Covenant are battling each other, while humanity is trying to assert its dominance across the galaxy. The Kilo-Five trilogy mainly describes how the tensions between the various factions have risen again between Halo 3 and Halo 4. Subsequently, most major characters from Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians are introduced in a book, comic, or movie. For example, Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn introduces Thomas Lasky, Halo: Nightfall features Spartan Jameson Locke, and Halo: Initiation tells us more about Spartan Palmer. These stories basically lay the foundation for the ‘new’ universe Master Chief wakes up to in Halo 4.

Kilo-Five Trilogy (Chronological Order):

Also in this era (Chronological order)

Master Chief’s return and awakening The Didact

Halo 4

Four years after the events of Halo 3, Master Chief and Cortana finally manage to make contact again. They stumble upon Requiem, a Forerunner Shield World. Here, they accidentally awake The Didact, setting in motion numerous events, one of them being the next big era in our timeline: The Reclamation.

In this era (Chronological order)

The Reclamation

Halo Reclaimer Saga

Halo 5: Guardians marks the beginning of The Reclamation, an era in which the so-called Created seize power in the universe. During this era, The Banished emerge as well in full force, clashing with the scattered forces of humanity on numerous occasions.

The Reformation (Infinite)

Halo Infinite

With Halo Infinite, 343 Industries starts a new chapter. 343 Industries describes Halo Infinite as a spiritual reboot. Thanks to a small 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.

In this era (Chronological order)

After the War

In the early 27th century, Humanity seems to be at peace and can look back on the war with the Covenant. It is then that the Museum of Humanity is opened.

In order of release:

Collections of Stories

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 as the other media. Therefore below is 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:

Halo Silver Timeline

The Halo TV Series takes place in a seperate universe, called the Halo Silver Timeline. The Silver Timeline is a parallel, very similar, but ultimately separate timeline whose main events and characters will intersect and align with the Core Canon throughout very different cadences. Read more about the Silver Timeline.

Currrently, only the tv show is set in the Silver Timeline.

Halo TV Series Silver Timeline

Non-canon

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, an error may have 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!


— Also worth reading

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.

20 Responses

    1. That one doesn’t include any story content (as far as I know). Just like the Risk games based on Halo (I think there are two of them by now). So that’s why I did not include any of those!

  1. Hi.
    Firstly, this is amazing – thank you for your time creating this.

    2nd. Do you have any way of linking this to a document. I would love to print this off and then be able to tick off items once i have them. I tried to just copy / paste – but it doesn’t bring over the icons on the left side – which are super useful to show if its a book or film.

    Or you could ask people to create an account and give them access to their own personal online tick list?

    Anyway – great job.

    1. Thanks! A personal checklist is actually a great idea, I will definitely look into that and see if we can make such a thing. But for now, I think the best option is to just print the page? There are also browser plugins that can capture an entire webpage as an image, for example GoFullPage for Chrome. I think this would allow you to cut out images and text afterwards, so you’ll just get a list of all media.

  2. Been playing the Halo series since Halo 2, and have loved the games but have never read any of the supporting novels. Recently wanting to get into them, but was unsure of the timeline of some of the books – this list is exactly what I had needed to help choose!
    Thank you for the effort of making this list 🙂

    1. Thank you! Good question, I’ve listed Broken Circle twice as the book is basically divided into two parts. So part of it takes place during the foundation of the covenant, while the second part takes place during the war between Covenant and UNSC.

    2. The first and second sections of Broken Circle take place during different time periods in Halo history and because of that, it falls under two different eras.

  3. 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

    1. 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 🙂

      1. 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!

    1. 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 🙂

    1. 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?

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