The Top 7... ways Halo influenced the games industry

Halo wasn't the first shooter. Halo wasn't the first to introduce online multiplayer. Halo wasn't even the first Bungie game to feature an armored peacekeeper and sexy female AI battling aliens in outer space. Halo, in many ways, is unoriginal.

Yet no other series – with the possible exception of Grand Theft Auto – has had such a clear, obvious and indisputable impact on the videogame industry over the past decade. To welcome the release of Halo: Reach tomorrow, which also marks the end of Bungie's involvement with their best-selling creation, here are seven of the franchise's biggest influences.


What Halo did: Master Chief? Not the first hero to wear a mask. However, because of his clever costume design, sparse yet strangely magnetic voice performance and tantalizingly incomplete origin story, Master Chief was the character that made facelessness so fashionable in recent gaming.

What the industry has done since: Realizing that a cool, shiny helmet is a hell of a lot easier to render than realistically animated eyes, mouths and hair – and that the lack of these can make personalities optional as well – dozens of developers have copied Halo's "blank slate" formula. Isaac in the original Dead Space is one high-profile example. The cliché's even gone meta now, with jokes (Carmine in Gears of War) and philosophical statements (Big Daddy in BioShock) on the matter.


What Halo did: The fifteen skulls in Halo 2 and thirteen skulls in Halo 3 are no ordinary collectibles. Tucked away in nearly impossible-to-reach corners of each campaign mission, and often requiring a very specific, very special action to appear, they are so well hidden that most players weren't aware of their existence until searching weeks later on the internet. More importantly, the skulls actually did something – such as increase the difficulty or change the dialogue – making all the trouble worthwhile.

What the industry has done since: Collectibles have replaced cheats. Putting them in your game is as necessary as remembering to add graphics – players simply expect to find them, and are disappointed when they don't. Some titles only reward you with Trophies or Achievements, but the most popular have learned from Halo… if the collectible hunt is elaborate enough, people will play and talk about your game for much, much longer. Example? The Riddler Challenges in Batman: Arkham Asylum.


  • Pruman - January 4, 2011 9:30 p.m.

    I'm surprised that you guys completely left out how Halo shook up what at that point were pretty tired FPS conventions. Before Halo, FPS heroes had one health bar that was only restored by health packs, could carry up to 9 different weapons and the ammo required to feed them, had to select grenades and melee attacks before they could be used (and they usually weren't powerful enough to make doing so worthwhile), and vehicle sequences were generally on-rails. Nearly every FPS that came out after Halo appropriated one or more of the mechanics it pioneered. The recharging health one was the most aggravating: in Master Chief's case, it makes sense because he has a suit of power armor with a built-in personal shield. Does it make sense for a WWII grunt in Call of Duty? No effin' way!
  • lincc289 - September 21, 2010 2:27 p.m.

    go!go! About you, fashionable tide Story will start from here!
  • kibbles0515 - September 16, 2010 9:42 p.m.

    I hate what the Halo multiplayer experience has spawned: games with crummy multiplayer modes that are tacked-on and worthless, and that sad, sad group of people that don't care for games UNLESS they have multiplayer. *sigh*
  • SkyDragonc5 - September 16, 2010 6 a.m.

    It was bound to happen. I do like the expansion of games into other media now. I like my comics and my games and my statues...
  • minimaxi - September 16, 2010 5:26 a.m.

    ehh sorry but i think this list is the equivalence of a man applying a patent for the act of "holding your penis to pee"; many games have done those before. I AM DISSAPOINT
  • TURbo - September 16, 2010 12:31 a.m.

    @510BrotherPanda Halo is no Pokemon. Halo hasn't had a huge TV show, multiple movies that managed to make money, and a card game that everyone bought into for a couple ears.
  • DynamicJul - September 15, 2010 8:13 p.m.

    Collectables worth collecting? Metroid anyone?
  • elpurplemonkey - September 15, 2010 7:48 p.m.

    Great Top 7 Charlie, but after your review, I'm afraid to look at these potential comments.
  • Spybreak8 - September 15, 2010 5:03 p.m.

    It's nice to live through the games that influence how others play/make games. Super Mario Bros, Zelda, Mario 64, Goldeneye, C&C, Half Life, Counterstrike, Mass Effect and Halo. Total Annihilation, just forgot that one.
  • BIOSback - September 15, 2010 8:40 a.m.

    @TheKnot True but Samus was out of her suit in later Metroid games. No one has still seen Master Chief's face.
  • Syncmaster - September 15, 2010 3:19 a.m.

    what the game industry still have to learn from Halo? PUT TONS OF CONTENT ON THE GAME, then, think about DLC. really, there are no other shooter as complete as halo nowdays. I can only remember perfect dark and timesplitters had an amazing shit ton of modes. oh, and you didnt even mentioned the regenerate health, sticky grenades, weapon swaping, etc etc etc.
  • Rattlehead - September 14, 2010 11:36 p.m.

    Good thing Poopcicle is banned or he'd freak out
  • FauxFurry - September 14, 2010 11:14 p.m.

    Halo is a pretty cool guy. Eh generates memes,revolutionizes the FPS genre,spawns legions of imitators and doesn't afraid of anything!
  • Crypto140 - September 14, 2010 8:56 p.m.

  • DreamWeaverPL - September 14, 2010 8:42 p.m.

    @Violate Number 3 on your list? That's funny. I don't own a PS3, there's no hatred for Halo in what I've said before, played it, and I care about video games as a whole. And I'm not "trolling", duh. You need to go to wikipedia or somewhere where they could explain such difficult terms for you.
  • yagirlfriendsfavoriterapper - September 14, 2010 5:23 p.m.

    Number 5 is why I hate ODST and Reach got green-lit instead of Halo 4, Halo 3's ending was F'ed up. It's has been 3 tears and I'm still waiting, oh well Halo 4 on XBOX 720 @ e3 2011, watch!
  • TURbo - September 14, 2010 2:42 p.m.

    Halo All I play Oh. Regenerative health and weapon limits has carried over to many games. If there was one like this for the COD games, aiming down the sights has to be number 1.
  • farsided - September 14, 2010 2:09 p.m.

    you still suck Charlie. recaptcha: "admire us". I refuse.
  • deedob - September 14, 2010 12:11 p.m.

    Correction, There are seven (7) novels of Halo in existance, not 6... with 3 more on the way. Fall of Reach, The Flood, First Strike, Ghost of Onyx, Contact Harvest, The Cole Protocol, Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe
  • malakai - September 14, 2010 12:10 p.m.

    i would like to point out you see what issac from deadspace looks like

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