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Halo: Combat Evolved is a first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie Studios. The first game of the Halo series, it was released on November 15, 2001 as a launch title for the Xbox gaming system, and is considered the platform's "killer app." With more than five million copies sold worldwide as of November 9, 2005.
Halo takes place in a science fiction universe created by Bungie Studios specifically for the game. According to the story, the overpopulation of Earth and the realization of faster-than-light travel have caused the human race to colonize other planets. A keystone of these efforts is the planet Reach, an interstellar naval yard and a hub of scientific and military activity. A secret military endeavor, dubbed the SPARTAN Project, was established on Reach to create an army of biologically-engineered, cyborg "super-soldiers". Thirty-two years before the beginning of the game, a technologically advanced collective of alien races, the Covenant, began to attack human settlements, declaring humanity an affront to their gods. The United Nations Space Command experienced a series of crushing defeats, and, although the super-soldiers of the SPARTAN-II Project fought effectively against the Covenant, they were unable to turn the tides of war.
To prepare for a mission to discover the location of the Covenant's homeworld, SPARTAN-II soldiers were recalled to Reach for further augmentation. Two days before the mission was to begin, Covenant forces attacked Reach and destroyed the colony. A starship, the Pillar of Autumn, survived the onslaught with the lead Spartan II, Master Chief, onboard. The ship initiated a random jump to slip space, hoping to lead the enemy away from Earth. The game starts with the Pillar of Autumn encountering Halo.
The titular Halo is an enormous, ring-shaped artificial space habitat/planet, which has a diameter of ten thousand kilometers. Halo sits at a Lagrange point between a planet and its moon. Centrifugal force created by the rotation of the station provides the ring's gravity.