December 5, 2021

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This Day In Gaming History: November 15th, 2001 – Halo: Combat Evolved launches on the Xbox, changing FPS games forever

On November 15th, 2001, video games changed forever when Microsoft officially released their Xbox console into the world. Filled with some impressive launch titles like Dead Or Alive 3 and the party game Fusion Frenzy, no launch title was more hyped than Bungie’s Halo: Combat Evolved. It delivered on all counts – and then some. Taking roots from Bungie’s Marathon series (originally launched in 1994), the series became a massive cash cow empire with the initial entry into the series.

Released just four years after Goldeneye (which showed what FPS games could look and play like on a home gaming console) took the Nintendo 64 (and the industry) by storm, Halo: Combat Evolved was the Xbox’s killer app. With impressive graphics and iconic gameplay ideas that became industry standards, what’s super impressive is that it garnered so much praise despite not having online multiplayer – something that many people often forget.

LAN parties, instead, were the rule of the day if you wanted to play 16-player Spartan multiplayer. Xbox’s Xbox Live service wasn’t a thing quite yet, but that didn’t affect anything, really. In fact, it only made the hype for its impending sequel that much bigger, as Halo 2 became a cultural phenomenon a few years later – and that game truly redefined online multiplayer FPS gaming as we know it.

With a huge, overarching story that spanned multiple games and even saw the fanmade Red vs. Blue series launched to huge success, Halo became a cultural phenomenon in 2001. It is one of the most important launch games for any console in history, to be sure.

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