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.
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.
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.
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.