The announcement of Halo Wars 2 was completely unexpected, with no leaks or rumours prior to its announcement at Microsoft’s press conference at Gamescom 2015. Halo Wars 2 follows on from the real-time strategy based war game that first surfaced back in 2009, and a new development team will hopefully translate to a refreshed and up-to-date game. You can re-watch the Microsoft E3 presentation.
Update February 2017: Halo Wars 2 is now out, but we'll be updating this piece with the latest DLC news and the best deals on the game that we can find. You can also read what we thought of the game in our Halo Wars 2 hands-on review.
See also: Most anticipated games of this year
Halo Wars 2: Release date, price and deals
Halo Wars 2 came out on 21 February 2017 on both Xbox One and PC, though some players were able to play it from 17 February if they bought the Ultimate Edition.
You can currently order it for £39.99 from Amazon or Game. You can also order the Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition for £64.99 from either Amazon or Game, which includes a DLC season pass and Halo Wars: Definitive Edition, a remastered version of the original game, available to play right now.
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Halo Wars 2 is on both the Xbox One and Windows as part of Microsoft’s Play Anywhere scheme, which allows anyone who buys a copy of the game to play it on either platform, with their save data seamlessly syncing between both versions.
Halo Wars 2: What is Halo Wars 2?
Halo Wars 2 is the second game in the Halo Wars franchise, following on from the original game which made its debut way back in 2009. It was welcomed by positive reviews from both publications and gamers, and in 2013, Microsoft’s Phl Spencer fanned the flames of the rumour fire by telling IGN during an interview that he and 343 Industries’ Bonnie Ross had discussed the potential for a new Halo Wars game.
Now let’s forward to the Xbox press conference at Gamescom 2015 in Germany, where the company showcased new trailers for many upcoming Xbox games, including its console exclusive Rise of the Tomb Raider. However, Microsoft pulled a strategy famed by Apple with “one more thing” which, in this case, was a brand new Halo Wars game. The real-time strategy game was developed by both Creative Assembly, famed for creating strategy games including Total War, and Halo 4 and 5 developer 343 Industries.
The game includes a cinematic campaign mode that picks up on the events of the first Halo Wars, 28 years on after an extensive cryosleep, putting it back into the timeline just after Halo 5. You'll be in charge of UNSC forces as they face off against new enemy the Banished, a violent splinter group from the Covenant.
Beyond the campaign, there are various online multiplayer options, including new game mode Blitz, which strips back the strategy for a faster-paced game built around collectible cards and deckbuilding to create units, rather than base management.
Halo Wars 2: Videos and screenshots
Halo Wars 2 announcement trailer: