The player is a military recon unit of the human race's fledgling planetary empire. Pursued by alien warships to a massive and ancient ring construct deep in the void, the player must single-handedly improvise a guerilla war over land, sea and air, using the arsenals and vehicles of three distinct cultures. Using everything from composite swords to orbital bombardment, driving everything from giant tanks to agile combat aircraft, players wage intense warfare over and under the surface of this world.
From a MacCentral news article entitled "Bungie unveils Halo at Macworld Expo" by Peter Cohen (July 21, 1999)
Halo breaks with the dominant game paradigm of level-oriented play by introducing a world of continuous action- there are no breaks. You roam under, above and beneath the surface of a far-off world populated by three different alien cultures. Players assume the role of a human military recon unit sent to thwart the efforts of aliens seeking to crush human expansion into space. On the surface of an ancient ring construct in space, the human player must fight off assaults over the sea, land and air.
From an IDG news article entitled "First Look: Halo" by Enid Burns (July 21, 1999)
Halo takes place on an artificial Ringworld-style planet orbiting a gas giant in another system, much like the vision of Larry Niven's Ringworld universe. The setting is part of the core mystery of the game, with the creators and builders of this world -- and its accompanying wonders -- long gone. While exploring the planet, humans have found new technology that we just have to have, even at the cost of lives. To complicate matters, another alien race is bent on obtaining this technology, and both races must fight to achieve dominance in this system.
From a MacCentral news article entitled "More details emerge on Halo" by Peter Cohen (July 22, 1999)
In Halo, you assume the role of an armored cyborg scouring the surface of a gigantic alien artifact- a habitable ring in space 10,000 miles in diameter. The artifact contains alien weaponry and technology that you can use to help save the human race from extinction at the hands of the Covenant, an intermingling of three different alien species bent on preventing mankind's conquest of space.
From a Gamecenter news article entitled "Unveiling Halo" by Marc Dultz (July 22, 1999)
As for the game's story line, the player is cast in the role of a futuristic soldier, a member of an elite military reconnaissance unit that is trying to flee from a technologically superior alien armada. After landing on a huge ring construct located deep in outer space, the player must work in conjunction with other members of his team to defeat the alien onslaught and secure the all-important construct.
From a Computer Games Online news article entitled "Bungie unveils their top-secret project" by Benjamin E. Sones (July 23, 1999)
The story is set in the far future, where humankind is waging a losing battle with a race of strange alien invaders. The discovery of a massive ring in deep space offers an opportunity to tip the balance of the war in favor of the race that manages to lay claim to it. The inside of the ring is an entire world (fans of Larry Niven's Ringworld books will recognize the influence immediately), an ancient artificial environment constructed by a superior race, and the primary battleground in Halo.
From a Sharkey Extreme news article entitled "First Glimpse: Halo" by Jon "Hardnose" Simon (July 28, 1999)
Halo is a third person combat game where you are a military recon unit of the fledgling human empire. Chased by aliens, you land on a gigantic alien-made ring world much like that of Larry Niven's Ringworld novels. The construct encircles a star with a gravity effect gained through centripetal force pushing you into the inside of the spinning ring. In the single-player game, you are responsible for organizing and leading a resistance effort against a vicious alien enemy.
From a IGN article entitled "Hallowed Halo is pure heaven" by Vincent Lopez (Aug 6, 1999)
The details of the game are still being worked out (as are most details, actually), but so far it's known that you play a cyborg warrior deep in a guerilla war on a distant ring construct far from Earth, fighting an alien covenant bent on your destruction. The aliens from the trailer are actually only one a few species to appear in the game, and non-cyborg humans will make an appearance as well. Most of the game will take place on the massive ring world, which you can actually see rise up into the sky and loop around in the far distance from planetside. A single player adventure will take you on a third-person journey through the world, piloting sea, air and land vehicles in attempt to fight off the alien onslaught.
From a Gamespot article entitled "Halo In Motion" by Micheal Mullen (Aug 6, 1999)
The basic premise of Halo centers around two races: a group of humans and an alien race known as the Covenant - both races have crash-landed on a large ring floating around a large gaseous planet. The races are distinctly different from each other and have separate designers making sure they look nothing like one another. The large, ominous aliens move with smooth, fluid movements and use energy weapons like blasters to take down their human opponents. Humans wear military combat suits and use melee and propelled weapons.
From a Next-Generation interview with Nathan Bitner (Producer of Halo) entitled "Exclusive Halo Interview" (Aug 9, 1999)
We wanted to make the definitive game of conflict between the human race and an alien civilization. There have been countless games on this theme, but few of them have the depth of story, detail or originality that you would find in a good sci-fi novel. We're going to write this story, and bring it to life with the best technology available in an electronic game.
From a MacFormat magazine article entitled "Bungie Software's most ambitious game project to date pits man against alien on a strange ring-shaped world." (Aug 24th 1999)
Bungie's strongest 3D graphics yet is married to a Marathon-esque story that should help keep the action fresh over a sucession of challenges...
From a PC Gamer magazine article entitled "The wrap finally comes off this year's un-fricking believable E3 showstopper " (Sept 1th 1999)
It's set in a future in which the human race is on the run from a ruthless alien race called the Covenant. As billions perish on humanity's colonized planets, a human military unit decides to make a last stand on an ancient ring-shaped structure thousands of miles in diameter. The surface of this bizarre stellar body is a lush natural environment. It's on this "halo" that mankind will stage its greatest battle.
From a GameSpot UK article entitled "Halo Preview" (Oct 4th 1999)
The setup for the game goes something like this. A space-faring transport vessel carrying about 1,800 humans, 800 of them marines, crash-lands on a huge ring-world that orbits a distant star. A theoretically feasible sci-fi construct, a ring-world is a thin ring of planetary mass thousands of miles across, with an inner surface coated with desirable life-supporting essences such as an atmosphere, soil, trees, and water. Because of the ring-world's unique halo orbit at the Lagrange Point between a gas giant and one of its moons, this freakish world actually spins in place, with the resultant inertia creating an effect similar to gravity (remember the space station in 2001: A Space Odyssey).
From a Mad Gamer article entitled "The Future of Online Warfare " (Oct 6th 1999)
The story of the game revolves around a future world where the human race is constantly on the run from an alien race called the Covenant. As the covenant are eradicating entire colonies or planets of humans, a military unit decides to fight back to save humanity. These human soldiers will take their last stand on a stellar ring thousands of miles in diameter. The surface of this ring has a very lush natural environment. It's on this "halo" that the game takes place.
From a Daily Radar article entitled "Halo Preview" by Dan Morris (Oct 18th 1999)
Halo is a 3D action game set in a distant future where mankind is being exterminated by a fearsome alien enemy called the Covenant. A group of human space marines is going to take a stand on a ring-shaped world (the "Halo" to which the game's title refers, and an admitted nod to Larry Niven's science fiction classic Ringworld).
From a GameSpot UK prview entitled "Halo: First Look" by John Houlihan (Oct 20th 1999)
For those of you who don't know the storyline behind the game, Halo takes place on surface of a giant Ringworld similar to the one portrayed in Larry Niven's sci-fi epic of the same name. This ring orbits a huge gas giant and if you flick your eyes around Halo's sumptuous skies, you can already see a couple of gorgeous moons and the giant ring curving away into the middle distance.
From a Games Domain Review article entitled "Oni and Halo: Bungie return to Action" by Tim Chown (Oct 25th 1999)
The storyline for Halo is, as with many other similar sci-fi action games, one contrived to place you as a cyborg warrior on an alien world. An alien horde known as the Covenant is ploughing a destructive path through one planet after another, and the human homeworld lies next in its path. In an attempt to save the billions on Sol, its leader sends a decoy force off to a remote corner of the galaxy. The decoy force draws the Covenant away successfully, but in its attempt to escape crash lands on a mysterious ring world orbiting a gas giant called Threshold. The ring is 10,0000 kilometers wide, shaped like a thin bracelet, yet despite denying the known laws of physics it has a breathable atmosphere and a variety of climates (snow, tropics, tundra etc), as well as life forms of its own. The ring, or Halo as it's named, is where you'll have to salvage what you can from the crashed ships, and make a stand against the Covenant.
From a Gaming News Network article entitled "Halo" by Hendo (Oct 1999)
The game takes place on a metal halo circling a gas giant. Constructed by an unknown race, the ring contains an entire ecosystem and just over the horizon you can see the halo stretch off in the distance. Their [sic] is one small problem it is drifting in to the planet's gravity well. To complicate things more a human expeditionary force and an alien race know as the Covenant want to control the ring.
From a PC Gamer magazine article entitled "Your first look at... Halo" by Steve Brown (Christmas 1999 issue)
The title refers not to angelic iconography, but to the player environment, a 10,000-mile diameter ringworld in a halo orbit around a gas giant. Your crack cyborg unit crash-land on its inner surface while leading the alien Covenant away from the planet Earth as they swarm across the galaxy like genocidal space locusts. In a classic scenario, reminiscent of Doom, your unit makes a last stand in the bizarre celestial arena of the ring. Determined initially to just take a few of the bastards with you, there is (of course) an "engrossing cinematic sci-fi story" unfolding, details of which are yet to emerge with the game half finished.
From a Gamelinks preview entitled "Halo" by Sebastian Arciszewski (Jan 4th 2000)
Played entirely as a third-person action game the story of Halo thus far follows the tale of the player assuming the role of a cyborg part of a millitary recon unit that has landed on a massive habitable ring world that is 10 000 miles in diamater. Chased by aliens known as the Covenant (an alliance of three races) the player must use guerilla tactics and what little weapons he possesses to work with his crew to lay claim to this massive ring. The premise is that the race that occupies this piece of rock in space is likely to win the war that is raging between humans and the Covenenat. It's imperative that in this near future you and your crew succeed in warding off the aliens who out-number you, and out-gun you as in the whole grand scheme of things the humans are fighting a losing war.
From a 3D Action Planet preview entitled "First Looks: Halo" by Silencer (Feb 23rd 2000)
The Time: Sometime in the future. The Place: A mysterious planetary system. The stakes: Life or death.
From a Gamecenter article entitled "E3 2000: Top 5 PC Games" by the Gamecenter editors (Apr 28th 2000)
Halo is named after the game's setting, a ringlike planet that's like a big hula hoop in space. A contingent of human marines crash-lands on the planet, and soon an alien species called the Covenant show up. The ensuing conflict between the humans and the aliens creates the game's backbone, as both sides struggle to seize control of Halo.
From a PS2 IGN preview entitled "Halo" (May 11th 2000)
Halo is a team-based third-person 3D shooter, set in an exceptionally complex futuristic setting. Bungie has always been known for their intricate story construction, and Halo will be no exception. Many years into the future, mankind expands outward to colonize the galaxy, and encounters the classic consequence of interstellar expansion: an alien race that's at least as unpleasant as we are. Called the Covenant, they keep mostly to themselves, sending only short communications of oddly religious cast before blowing the hell out of human colonies. Eventually, there is a final confrontation, as the Covenant fleet approaching Earth is met by humanity's last line of defense...and unfortunately, we lose.
Since February '99 Bungie have been sending regular cryptic "Halo related" emails to the Marathon's Story page, a venerable third-party Marathon fan site. The emails - (The Cortana Letters) - were allegedly from an entity known as Cortana and Marathon fans were eager to draw parallels between Cortana and the three AIs in the Marathon series (Durandal, Tycho and Leela). Cortana's name for example is similar to that of Durandal's - both are swords from the Charlemagne era.