'Halo' franchise expands its reach with iOS debut
The "Halo" series might be most closely associated with the three Xbox consoles, but it has a long history of dabbling with other platforms before the recent iOS debut of "Halo: Spartan Strike" and "Spartan Assault."
The 'Halo' series might be most closely associated with the three Xbox consoles, but it has a long history of dabbling with other platforms before the recent iOS debut of 'Halo: Spartan Strike' and 'Spartan Assault.'
In fact, it wasn't until 'Halo 3' in 2007 that the franchise was locked down as an Xbox console exclusive, a status then retained for seven years on the trot.
Series opener 'Halo: Combat Evolved' was at concept a Mac and Windows game, and though it debuted on Xbox in 2001 as a hugely successful system-seller, it arrived on the two computer platforms by 2003's end.
And while Mac was dropped for 'Halo 2,' Microsoft's own Windows OS retained a slice of the pie, albeit 2.5 years after the Xbox game first arrived.
It took another 11 years to return to Apple platforms with a double release of 'Halo: Spartan Assault' and 'Halo: Spartan Strike' on iOS.
Outside of games, universe-expanding novelizations had been available since 'Halo' began, but the games' rising value led to more extravagant marketing budgets and a number of other transmedia exercises.
For example, 'Halo 2' viral marketing campaign 'I Love Bees' became legendary, setting up a chase to track down public payphones and receive calls at predetermined times.
More widespread were live-action shorts preceding 'Halo 3' (2007), 'Halo 3: ODST' (2009) and 'Reach' (2010) as well as the latter's anime project 'Halo Legends.'
Those built a platform for a more ambitious 'Halo 4' campaign in 2012: miniseries 'Forward Until Dawn' was a webisodic sci-fi drama, and Ridley Scott-produced 'Halo: Nightfall' helped push remastering effort 'Halo: The Master Chief Collection' in 2014.
But 2013's 'Halo: Spartan Assault' was the most radical departure, swapping first-person perspective for a very different top-down, twin-stick style far better suited to lower-powered devices, and given six months' exclusivity on Windows Phones and the Windows 8 Store before migrating to Xbox One and then the older Xbox 360.
Though follow-up 'Halo: Spartan Strike' was delayed from December 2014 to April 2015, it now looks like provident timing, ensuring a day-and-date release across the Windows Store, Windows Phone, and iOS, available separately or in a bundle together with its predecessor.
Following iOS versions of Office and Outlook, the 'Halo: Spartan' titles reinforce a different Microsoft approach that sees the tech giant look for opportunities on rival mobile platforms as well as its own.
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