Feeds

In the loop: how Halo defined a new decade of first-person shooters

From 'Pillar of Autumn' to genre foundation

Security for virtualized datacentres

Feature The glint of alien sunlight on green body armour; the spark of purple crystal shards arcing their way across the battlefield; the roar of a Warthog’s engine as it bounces across uneven terrain; and the dull thud as the butt of Master Chief’s gun impacts Covenant skull… familiar enough occurrences these days given the impact Halo has had on the first-person shooter scene, but never was it always thus.

Master Chief

Picture the scene: it’s late 2001 - going on to early 2002, depending on whether you’re in the US or not - and Sony’s PlayStation 2 is seemingly untouchable as it continues on the path of world domination laid down for it by the success of its predecessor.

Just coming to market are two competitors: Nintendo’s GameCube, with all the knowhow and experience, not to mention iconic characters; and the unknown quantity of Microsoft’s Xbox - more powerful than the PS2, perhaps, but where’s the support? Where are those system-selling franchises that every fledging console needs?

Halo: Combat Evolved

The highlights of its launch line-up read: Project Gotham Racing, Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee, Dead or Alive 3 and first-person shooter Halo: Combat Evolved by Bungie; an innocuous enough sci-fi shooter by a company famous solely for its Marathon FPS for Macs – fine, but hardly Goldeneye, is it?

Worse, Microsoft had caused some bad blood by buying Bungie in the first place. Halo had been announced as computer game and been first demo'd in public running on an Apple at Macworld Expo. Only hasty reassurances that the game would make it to the Mac and Windows could help calm Bungie's fans.

Fast-forward ten years or so and as Halo 4 finally explodes on to the Xbox 360 it’s hard to argue a case for many other shooters - or indeed games of any genre - having had the impact that Halo has in the past decade of videogames.

Halo: Combat Evolved

Half-Life 2 revealed Valve to still be kings of innovation, but then the developer has hardly been prolific in following up its successes; Call of Duty has sold in huge quantities, but without ever pushing the boundaries in quite the same manner; while Battlefield has taken online encounters to new numerical heights, it but has only ever looked to extend the vehicular combat that Halo laid down all those years ago.

New hybrid storage solutions

Next page: Flooding the market

More from The Register

next story
Apple iPhone 6: Missing sapphire glass screen FAIL explained
They just cannae do it in time, says analyst
Oh noes, fanbois! iPhone 6 Plus shipments 'DELAYED' in the UK
Is EMBIGGENED Apple mobile REALLY that popular?
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
The Apple Watch and CROTCH RUBBING. How are they related?
Plus: 'NostrilTime' wristjob vid action
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Half a BILLION in the making: Bungie's Destiny reviewed
It feels very familiar - but it's still good
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.