Halo: Combat Evolved is a first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie Studios. It is the first game of the Halo franchise and was released on November 15, 2001 as a launch title for the original Xbox. Halo is considered the Xbox’s killer app and possible one factor in the success of the original Xbox. With more than five million copies sold worldwide as of November 9, 2005, Microsoft released versions of the game for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X in 2003, and the surrounding storyline was adapted and elaborated into a series of novels. The game was later released as an Xbox Original for download onto the Xbox 360.
In Halo’s twenty-sixth century setting, the player assumes the role of the Master Chief, a cybernetic enhanced SPARTAN super-soldier. The player is accompanied by Cortana, an artificial intelligence who occupies the Master Chief’s neural interface. Players battle various aliens on foot and in vehicles as they attempt to uncover the secrets of the Halo, a ring-shaped structure.
Many game magazines have praised Halo as one of the best and most important games of all time. The game’s popularity has led to labels such as Halo clone and Halo killer, applied respectively to games either similar to or anticipated to be better than Halo. In addition, the game inspired and was used in the fan-created Red vs. Blue video series, which is credited as the first big success of machinima—the technique of using real-time 3D engines to create animated films.