Representing two decades of storytelling, the largest and most comprehensive official guide to the Halo universe ever to be created—the new Halo Encyclopedia—has finally been released into the wild. In this massive tome, Dark Horse and 343 Industries have partnered together to deliver a vast directory of Halo canon, allowing fans to explore the intricacies of an epic saga that spans over a hundred millennia and countless far-flung alien worlds. Delve into a vast archive of ships, vehicles, and weapons that defined the wars of the 26th century and come face-to-face with the major players of the UNSC, the Covenant, the Forerunners, and the Banished. The Halo Encyclopedia features stunning, never before seen art revealing characters, technology, and locations that fans have only ever imagined.
This extravagant oversized hardcover has something to offer both veteran fans of the Halo universe and those who are greeting it for the very first time. Pick up your own copy of the Halo Encyclopedia here or secure the impressive Deluxe Edition here, elegantly enshrined in a mysterious Forerunner cylix.
And whether you are totally new to Halo or perhaps coming back after some time, we know that with the release of Halo Infinite, many folks may be unfamiliar with some of the terminology we’ve accrued over the past twenty years. No worries, we’ve got you covered! Below is an online companion resource for the new Halo Encyclopedia—a brief, high-level glossary to help you navigate some of the names, terms, and acronyms that populate the universe’s lexicon. So no matter if you read this book from front to back or just dive into its 488 pages somewhere in the middle, feel free to use this directory as a friendly guide, especially if you’ve found yourself suddenly lost in the vast ocean of lore this new book holds. We really do hope you enjoy it!
For more information about the Halo Encyclopedia, check out the roundtable discussion we had with its writers, where we talk about its development process and showcase brand new art created specifically for this book:
A major information repository of the Forerunner ecumene, a vast archive where Forerunner technology was cataloged.
Autocannon, a powerful human weapon employed on a variety of vehicles.
A device used to activate and fire a Halo ring.
Formal designation of the ODST (and later Spartan-IV) fireteam led by Edward Buck.
The name given to the prehistoric, spacefaring human civilization that maintained an empire outside Forerunner control.
High-order Forerunner artificial intelligence developed over generations.
Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot, ammunition commonly used in human sniper rifles.
Forerunner factory and archive that constructed the Halo Array and housed samples of life preserved as part of the Conservation Measure.
Forerunner combat machines utilized for ground operations, the most common being the soldier.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)
Highly sophisticated software construct that displays many of the behavioral and functional characteristics associated with biological, thinking life.
Automatic Self-Guided Missile, explosive rockets employed by humanity’s artillery, aircraft, and spacecraft.
Covenant manufacturing facilities that build items piece-by-piece using clouds of programmable nanomachines.
Anti-Ship Weapon utilized by human spacecraft against enemy ships.
Atmospheric/Exoatmospheric, indicating flight capability both in atmosphere and in space.
A special operations unit of the Covenant (later appropriated by the Banished) dedicated to the pursuit and killing of Spartans.
Forerunner rate that designed and constructed machinery and artificial minds.
Colonial Administration Authority, the previous administrative body for humanity's colonies, established in 2310.
Capital world of the Ancestors, believed to have once been a Precursor hubworld due to its abundance of neural physics-based structures.
Colonial Military Administration, the now-defunct military and policing body for humanity’s colonies, established in 2310.
Forerunner battle armor and environmental suits worn under specialized carapaces.
Composition L, incendiary material used for human-made anti-infantry explosives.
Forerunner neural physics device for transforming biological minds into digital essences.
A Forerunner plan to preserve and reseed sentient life in the galaxy after the activation of Halo.
An alliance of species under the authority of San’Shyuum and Sangheili, unified in the belief that the Forerunners built Halo to transcend beyond biological life and enter a higher plane of existence.
Civilizations that were not fully inducted into the Covenant, but were exploited for their strategic and infrastructural advantages.
Human name for the genocidal conflict with the Covenant that started with the attack on Harvest in 2525 and ended with the Prophet of Truth’s death on the Ark in 2552.
Cryogenic stasis unit used by humans on interstellar voyages to endure protracted travel times and to preserve medical patients.
Close-Quarters Battle, referencing weapons, armor, equipment, or strategies employed in close proximity to the enemy.
Close-Quarters Combat, referencing weapons, armor, equipment, or strategies employed in close proximity to the enemy.
Instructions fed to nanomachines that construct Covenant machinery, often utilized for both weapons and vehicles.
Construction templates for Forerunner machinery, fed to assemblers for mass replication.
The title given to the legendary Forerunner military commander (Ur-Didact) and the young Builder he imprinted who replaced him (IsoDidact).
Former homeworld of the Jiralhanae, destroyed by Cortana.
An incredibly ancient, self-aware knowledge network used by the Forerunners to document, transmit, and interpret all information and personal memory in their galaxy-spanning realm.
The name given to humanity’s interstellar expansion and colonization period, beginning in 2362.
First-order Forerunner capital ship used for initiating long-range strikes and raiding.
Covenant name for the Forerunner keyship used to power High Charity. Also, a prominent type of armored Banished warship.
Small reentry vehicle used to transport combat troops from planetary orbit to the surface.
Transatmospheric vehicle deployed to deliver cargo and personnel to and from orbit.
The homeworld and center of governance for contemporary, 26th century humankind.
The worlds and realms of the galaxy occupied and controlled by the Forerunners during their time.
Prime governing body of the Forerunners comprised of at least five hundred representatives from the various Forerunner rates and territories.
Network of generators that creates overlapping fields of invisible force that reflect, dissipate, or absorb attacks.
The common name for Earth during the time of the Forerunners.
An archive of a mind, personality, and even being, utilized historically by the Forerunners in various ways.
Extra-Vehicular Activity, as in actions taking place typically in the context of space or other zero-gravity scenarios outside of a spacecraft.
The name given by human researchers to the Forerunner portal complex uncovered on Earth that provided access to the Ark.
A covert team of ONI special operatives led by Veta Lopis.
Voracious hive-mind parasite capable of seizing, converting, and controlling sentient hosts in an effort to perpetuate its kind.
The Forerunners’ prodigious conflict against the Flood which ultimately engulfed the entire galaxy and ended with the destruction of their civilization.
Full Metal Jacket - Armor Piercing, ammunition used in human infantry rifles.
An ancient civilization of highly advanced beings believed to have perished during the activation of Halo many millennia ago.
Physiological modifications and psychological peculiarities that defined the different Forerunner occupational and social castes.
Flood Super Cell, the basic cellular material that comprises Flood tissues and membranes.
Ferric-Tungsten Projectile ‑ High-Explosive, powerful ammunition used in some exotic human weapons.
Human maneuver drive that utilizes a fusion reactor to superheat reaction mass (often water or hydrogen) and expel it at high velocities for sublight travel.
Gun, Aircraft Unit, a weapon implement used by human aircraft.
Semi-portable and vehicle-mounted electromagnetic launchers that typically fire hypervelocity armor-piercing projectiles.
A method by which Lifeworkers adjusted species in their care through brain-pattern imprinting and subtle genetic commands for various ends. Also known as “genesong.”
First Generation, referring to Mjolnir armor previously worn by Spartan-IIs and Spartan-IIIs.
Second Generation, referring to Mjolnir armor generally worn by most Spartans immediately after the Covenant War, especially Spartan-IVs.
Third Generation, referring to Mjolnir armor worn by nearly all contemporary Spartans as of 2560.
Covenant close-orbit and near-surface bombardment of military and urban sites with massed energy projectors to vitrify the world’s soil and decimate its habitability.
Composite mind that controls and directs the Flood, the last vestige of the Primordial, growing in influence as the parasite expands its presence.
The brutal Jiralhanae civil war that left their homeworld on the edge of nuclear annihilation, shortly before their species joined the Covenant.
Central religious belief held by the Covenant that the activation of Halo would elevate its members into the divine while scouring the galaxy clean of unbelievers.
Covenant civil war instigated in November 2552 when the High Prophet of Truth attempted to consolidate his power within the empire.
Machines employed by the Forerunners as tenders and recorders of the Precursors’ legacy, ultimately utilized as enforcement constructs to pacify and police other civilizations.
Seven ringworld weapon installations that, upon activation, can kill all sapient life in the galaxy.
High-Explosive, a descriptor of human ammunition that explodes upon impact.
High-Explosive Incendiary/Armor-Piercing, ammunition used by human artillery.
High-Explosive Incendiary/Remote Detonated, ammunition used by exotic human explosive launchers.
The three highest-ranking San’Shyuum who led the Covenant, also known as hierarchs.
Heavy Machine Gun, a human infantry weapon.
Heads-Up Display, an arrangement of intel provided to UNSC personnel via their helmet’s visor.
Also known as Engineers, they are Forerunner biomechanical servant-tools with an innate ability to construct, repair, maintain, and augment advanced technology.
High-Velocity/Ferric-Tungsten Hollow-Point Projectile, specialized ammunition typically used in Gauss cannons and mass drivers.
High-Velocity, Explosive, powerful ammunition used by human machine guns.
Habitable worlds with the shortest travel time to Earth, colonies that were generally purpose-developed and affluent.
Broad term for the conflict defined by the hostile actions of rebels and malcontents who opposed Earth’s control of the colonies.
The Contender-class ancilla that serves as the custodian of the Absolute Record.
Former homeworld of the San’Shyuum, allegedly destroyed by its star going supernova.
Also known as Brutes, a pseudo-ursine species with an aggressive nature, as well as impressive size and strength, that dominate the ranks of the Banished.
JOINT OCCUPATION ZONE
Regions of space held and settled by both the Unified Earth Government and other alien species.
Forerunner transports commissioned to index and catalog much of the sentient life that remained in the galaxy during the final years of the Flood War.
Also known as Jackals and Skirmishers, a saurian-avian species that serves in scout, skirmisher, and marksman roles within the Banished.
Promethean armiger controlled by the composed essence of a human or Forerunner warrior.
Light Anti-Aircraft Gun, a powerful human weapon designed for use against enemy aircraft.
Gestalt intelligences comprised of eel-like organisms clustered together in colonies, and capable of assembling into a variety of forms. Often encountered as Hunters (Mgalekgolo).
Forerunner referred to as the Lifeshaper, the greatest of the Lifeworkers and the architect of the Conservation Measure.
Forerunner rate focused on the care and preservation of living things.
Viral code strings and insidious idea patterns which exploit the sensing-learning loop of Forerunner ancilla, causing them to either malfunction or transfer their allegiance to the Flood.
Arcane Forerunner machines reengineered and employed by the Covenant to detect the former civilization’s relics.
Magnetic Accelerator Cannon, large electromagnetic mass driver used in human military applications like planetary defense and as capital ship weapons.
Known by the Forerunners simply as “The Capital,” this massive world-station was the center of Forerunner life and politics.
Hyper-advanced ancilla that administered significant portions of the ecumene’s regular operations.
Forerunner rate responsible for planetary and stellar engineering.
Overlapping bureaucracies tasked with executing decisions and interpreting guidance issued by Covenant leadership.
A leading manufacturer for human ordnance and matériel within the UNSC, its primary sites are located on Mars and formerly Reach.
A secret project that yielded the highly advanced armor used by Spartans.
Machine-Linked Autocannon, a powerful weapon employed by human vehicles.
Multiple Launch Rocket System, a weapon used by human vehicles or stationary artillery.
Medium Machine Gun, a weapon utilized by human vehicles.
An ancilla tasked with administering control and maintenance of Forerunner installations or programs.
Military Operations on Urban Terrain, combat operations within city environments.
Customized biological maturation used by the Forerunners to adopt or advance within a rate.
A type of material widely used by the Covenant for things such as combat harnesses and warship battle plating.
Referring to the redesigned Ark and Halo installations, ultimately activated by the Forerunners to eliminate all sentient life from the galaxy.
Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, a select group of marines within the UNSC Special Forces focusing on deployment behind enemy lines, usually via orbital insertion.
Office of Naval Intelligence, the primary strategic intelligence agency of the UEG, holding uncontested jurisdiction over espionage activities in the human sphere.
The UNSC’s first serious venture into creating super-soldiers in 2491 which would come to be officially known as the SPARTAN-I Project after 2513.
The home system of the Jiralhanae where Doisac and its three satellites (Warial, Soirapt, and Teash) were located.
The colonies with the furthest travel time from Earth, primarily viewed by inner colonists as resource sites on the periphery of UEG control.
Forerunner name for the Milky Way galaxy.
Covenant shipboard and station fusion reactors that use focused gravity generators to replicate conditions inside the core of stars.
Command link-guided projectile surrounded by a superheated plasma sheath.
Referring to events taking place during the years following the Covenant War.
An ancient, technologically advanced civilization without apparent equal that governed the galaxy long before the Forerunners and humankind.
Biologically modified San’Shyuum super-soldiers with enhanced nervous systems and musculatures.
A being who represented the final progeny of Precursors and existed as an act of vengeance against the Forerunners for their genocidal crimes.
An elite force of Forerunner Warrior-Servants led by the legendary Didact.
A Forerunner term referring to the chosen inheritors of the Mantle of Responsibility. After the firing of Halo, the surviving Forerunners passed this duty to humanity.
Space-time damage instigated by causality violations and paradoxes resulting from using faster-than-light technology.
A high-risk human naval operation planned in August 2552 in order to end the war, ultimately aborted during the Covenant’s attack on Reach.
The final stage of the Conservation Measure, restoring life to the galaxy after the activation of Halo by returning the catalogued and indexed species to their worlds of origin.
The Covenant religious name for the Halo Array, which they believed would grant them divinity.
Also known as Elites, a strong, saurian species who once led the Covenant’s military.
Also known as Prophets, the founders of the Covenant who occupied ministerial and clerical positions as the ruling caste.
Semi-Armor-Piercing - High-Explosive, a type of human ballistic ammunition.
Referring to the original Ark and Halo installations—known as Gyres—that were unable to effectively engage the Flood and were eventually replaced by the neoteric format.
Forerunner machine tasked with a variety of roles, often encountered in large numbers collectively charged to maintain installations.
Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine, human slipspace drive technology pioneered by Tobias Shaw and Wallace Fujikawa in the 23rd century.
Forerunner megastructure created to protect against the Flood and the effects of Halo.
The main cultural divisions of the Jiralhanae, the two most prominent being Rh’tol and Vheiloth.
Lithe and diminutive creatures currently allied with the Banished that share morphological traits with the Xalanyn.
General term for a subset of alternate dimensions that can be utilized for faster-than-light travel and communication, shortened from the term “slipstream space.”
A genetically enhanced and cybernetically armored human super-soldier of one of four military projects.
Classified military operations conducted by highly trained soldiers, also considered the military division that contains these specialized soldiers.
Surface-to-Surface Missile, rocket-propelled ammunition used by humans.
Untouchable and perpetual filament of neurophysical energy woven between dimensions by the Precursors.
Multi-phase interdiction vehicles utilized by a variety of factions, functionally equivalent to human fighter-bombers and interceptors.
Adjutants to the monitors of Forerunner installations, designed to provide support for the many operations of a given site.
Key Covenant fortress and stronghold worlds that were able to serve effectively as proxies to High Charity.
Forerunner subluminal drive that converts vacuum energy directly into thrust.
Unified Earth Government, humanity’s central governing body, based on Earth.
Also known as Grunts, methane-breathing pseudo-arthropods that occupy menial roles within whatever faction they are conscripted.
United Nations Space Command, military arm of the UEG, established in 2164. Following the Covenant War it has five branches of service: Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Spartan.
Visual Intelligence System, Reconnaissance, the most up-to-date HUD software used by UNSC personnel as of 2560.
Vertical Take-off and Landing, referring to aerodyne vehicles which can launch and land vertically.
WAR OF ANNIHILATION
The Covenant’s name for their empire’s genocidal war against humanity.
Forerunner rate responsible for the military defense of the ecumene.
Layers of slipspace with proximate terminations, through which near-instantaneous communication signals can be routed.
Auxiliary combat spacecraft deployed in Forerunner naval warfare.
WRIT OF UNION
The peace accord between the San’Shyuum and Sangheili which formed the Covenant.
An enigmatic civilization that mysteriously survived the firing of the Halo Array and were subsequently imprisoned within Zeta Halo by a group of surviving Forerunners.
Xeno-materials Exploitation Group, a human organization within ONI that recovers, studies, and reverse-engineers alien technology.
Also known as Drones, a race of carnivorous insectoid arthropods who served the Covenant as mechanics and soldiers.