The story of Halo, as told in the mainline video games, isn’t exactly the most interesting tale ever told. The bigger world, on the other hand, is very interesting. There is a religious cult of aliens, a few wars, an infectious race that wants to destroy the universe, and a set of rings that want to destroy it all first. These kinds of games tend to focus on where the main characters are and what they need to do right now, like shoot someone. Because of Halo’s extra material, like books, comics, short stories, and data logs, we can learn more about Master Chief’s intergalactic journeys and the millions of years of history that lurks behind him.
Here’s a short version of what the books, which usually have names like Halo: Cryptum, have to offer for people who don’t have a lot of time to read them for. In other words, here’s all the cool things that most games don’t tell you about.
The creators of everything
They were called the Precursors because they were very smart and had a lot of technology. They ruled the galaxy for millions of years before the events in the games. The Precursors made both the Forerunners, the alien race the Covenant worships, and ancient humans, which the Covenant used to live in the past (more on them later). The Precursors thought they had a responsibility to protect all life in the galaxy because they made most of it. They thought this was because they were the ones who made most of it. They wanted to pass the Mantle on to humans when their civilization got older, so they planned on giving it to them. However, the Forerunners thought that the Mantle should belong to them, and so they started trying to get rid of the Precursors in order to take over the galaxy and become the rulers.
It was already too late to save the Precursor society. Even though they had better technology than the Forerunners, they started to lose in the fight. It was getting harder for the Precursors to both kill the Forerunners and live forever, so they tried to do both. It was a mistake on the Precursors’ part. The Flood is a dangerous parasite that wants to infect all intelligent life. Because the Precursors were able to change their bodies for millions of years, some had taken the form of tiny dust particles with plans to grow back in the future. However, over a long period of time, these particles became corrupted, and in the end, they turned into the first forms of the Flood.
With their civilization mostly gone, the last few Precursors became obsessed with the Flood. They started teaching it to ignore humans, as if they were naturally immune, and instead hunt down Forerunners instead. For the Precursors, destroying and destroying the Forerunners was their only goal in life, and they did it. The Flood are the only thing left of the race by the time of the Halo video games. That’s not true. Gravemind, which says it’s a “Precursor,” is actually the consciousness of a Precursor called Primordial who helped the Forerunner race’s AI turn against them. They took on responsibility and became watchdogs for sentient life in space after the Precursors had been in charge for a long time. Besides, there were a lot of other species that were more advanced than they were.
The golden age of humanity
Before Halo, humans were very smart and had a lot of technology. Their ancestors were the humans in the game. These people were able to travel across the galaxy and set up colonies. They were also close allies with the San’Shyuum, who later became known as the Prophets. As time went on, humanity’s journey through the stars led them to the Flood, and war broke out almost right away.
The humans and the San’Shyuum tried to stop the Flood with all of their power, but the Flood kept spreading across their planets. Desperation led humanity to take over a number of Forerunner worlds in order to stay ahead of the virus. Eventually, the Flood stopped fighting and infecting humans because of the Precursors’ actions earlier in this story. Humanity was able to survive their encounter with the Flood. Forerunners came in at that point, and that’s when they came in
The human-Forerunner war
There were a lot of mistakes made by the Forerunners when they were in charge of protecting the galaxy. This includes the way the Forerunners dealt with humanity. After humans tried to stop the Flood by taking over a few Forerunner planets, the Forerunners reacted very badly. They thought that humanity was going to war, so they decided that humans had to be stopped. Possibly, the Forerunners overreacted because they didn’t like humanity being the favorite race of the Precursors. Since Halo likes to keep at least a few secrets about the Forerunners, we don’t know for sure what caused them to be so angry. When the Forerunners and humans fought, it was more like a war of death. People had technology that was close to, and in some cases even better than, the Forerunners, but the Flood had already pushed the human race to the brink of death. Humanity mostly fought alone after the San’Shyuum gave up early in the war. They were eventually sent back to their home world of Charum Hakkor. After a long siege, the humans were finally defeated after a long time.
They thought humans were too dangerous to let evolve, because the Forerunners didn’t listen to why humans took the planets in the first place, or anything about humanity’s fight with the Flood. They did this so that they could be responsible for all of space. The Forerunners brought humanity back to what they called “Tier 7” technology. If you look at the Forerunners’ technology rankings, Tier 7 is the lowest and Tier 0 the highest. Only the Precursors reached Tier 0 at some point in time. Before they were sent back in time, humanity destroyed all of its records of the Flood as a last act of revenge against the Forerunners. After they had a fight with humans, the only other race in the galaxy that could reasonably fight them, the Forerunners had a long period of peace. In fact, things were so peaceful in the galaxy that the Forerunners didn’t have any weapons at all. Having the Flood still around was a huge mistake.
When the Forerunners first saw the Flood, they thought it was a disease that didn’t know how to think. Instead, they thought it was a sentient race that wanted to eat all living things. So, they thought the problem could be solved by quarantine, short-term treatment, and the search for a cure. It went on for more than a hundred years, as the Flood slowly grew bigger. They were already late to a war that started a century ago, and they didn’t even have weapons to fight it when they found out.
After making some progress with weapons and containment, the Forerunners were able to slow down the Flood’s progress through the galaxy, but not stop it. Finally, the Forerunners realized that they had to come up with a bigger, more apocalyptic answer. While the Forerunners had a lot of disagreements about what to do, they decided to make the Halo array in order to kill every living thing in the galaxy, with only the Ark being a life-saving vessel for the Ark. In Halo 4, the Forerunner known as “the Didact” fired the Halo array as the Flood took over the galaxy. The array worked… mostly. People were mostly wiped out, and only a few Forerunners were left on the Ark. They left behind machines like the Sentinels and AIs like 343 Guilty Spark to repopulate the galaxy with life, which led to the events of the first Halo game.