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‘Halo’ franchise expands its reach with iOS debut


Relaxnews

, Last Updated: 1:30 PM ET

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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