Halo Wars 2 Release Date: What We Know Now Travis Pope06/13/2016 Big entertainment franchises always like to test their success by venturing into other places. For video games developers and publishers, nothing is more dangerous or potentially lucrative. Microsoft is known to take franchises made popular by its Xbox console and experiment with them. Halo Wars was one such experiment. Now, the company is preparing for a Halo Wars 2 release. Halo is almost exclusively known for its first-person shooter mechanics. In traditional games, you’re Master Chief John 117, running around the universe and defending humanity from ever dangerous swarms of aliens. Halo Wars isn’t a first person shooter at all. It’s a top-down real-time strategy game. Instead of shooting enemies yourself, you’re tasked with building an unstoppable force. Winning in Halo Wars – or any real-time strategy game, really – requires careful resource management and good planning. Real-time strategy games can be relentlessly brutal.Advertisement Here’s what we know about the Halo Wars 2 release that Microsoft confirmed last year. When is the Halo Wars 2 Release Date? The first Halo Wars made its way to store shelves back in 2009. Since then, Microsoft hadn’t said much of anything about the franchise. To be frank Halo Wars, though certainly popular with people who really love the Halo franchise, wasn’t as big a release as some expected it to be. Real-time strategy games just don’t seem to have the same appeal that a shooter does with console fans.Advertisement With just the mild success that Halo Wars, a Halo Wars 2 release seemed like a pipe dream. Microsoft delivered the good news at last year’s GamesCom trade show. The Halo Wars 2 release was scheduled for fall 2016, according to Microsoft. At E3 2016, Microsoft’s plans changed. Halo Wars 2 now launches on February 21st 2017.Advertisement A battle from the original Halo Wars. What Platforms Are Getting Halo Wars 2? Halo Wars wasn’t only notable for taking the Halo franchise into a new genre. It was also notable for being a real-time strategy game only for owners of Xbox 360 consoles. Games like Halo Wars are usually PC only, since players like the precision of a mouse for target enemies and a keyboard provides shortcuts for the many options that quality real-time strategy games offer. Halo Wars 2 will keep that unorthodox tradition alive. It won’t come to the Xbox 360 – Microsoft Studios stopped developing games for that console some time ago – it will come to the still new Xbox One. In addition to that, it’ll also make its way to PCs running Windows 10. Microsoft said last year that those with Windows 10 installed and the right hardware would get Xbox exclusives just like console owners. Advertisement If anything, this strategy makes more sense for the Halo Wars 2 release than it does for other games in Microsoft’s line-up. Quantum Break, Gears of War Ultimate Edition, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Ori and the Blind Forest handle better with a controller on Windows PCs. It’s hard to imagine that Halo Wars 2 won’t have comfortable keyboard controls first and foremost. Who’s Developing Halo Wars 2? Like other games in the Halo series, Halo Wars was developed internally at Microsoft. It was a collaboration between two power-house studios of the era, Ensemble Studios and Bungie. Ensemble created the Age of Empires series of games before being shuttered after completing the development of Halo Wars. Bungie left Microsoft’s family of internal developers to work on Destiny in partnership with Activision. A battle from the original Halo Wars. For these reasons, Halo Wars 2 is the child of an all-new team. The Halo franchise is now the ward of 343 Industries, which is participating in the development of this new game. Leading development for the Halo Wars 2 release is Creative Assembly. Creative Assembly isn’t new to strategy games, it’s the developer of the Total War franchise. The Halo Wars 2 Trailer It’s been months since Microsoft first revealed Halo Wars 2, but new information about the game is hard to come by. The company didn’t talk much about the game at its reveal. Instead, it showed just a video trailer. In the trailer, a squad of Spartan officers are infiltrating an installation. These Spartans are ambushed by Covenant forces.Advertisement Halo Wars 2 Beta After a pretty rough launch for Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Microsoft vowed that every other game to come to the Halo franchise would get network testing beforehand. Halo Wars 2 is included in that promise, despite not being a first-person shooter, it seems.Advertisement Read: Halo Wars 2 Beta: All The Key Details At E3 2016 Microsoft confirmed the Halo Wars 2 open beta for owners of an Xbox One who also have an Xbox Live Gold subscription. There’s a second beta test coming that’ll involve PC users down the road too. Other Things We Know About the Halo Wars 2 Release Halo Wars 2 is part of Microsoft’s new Play Anywhere initiative. Because of this, purchasing a copy of Halo Wars 2 on PC will unlock an Xbox One version. The same happens when purchased for Xbox One. There are at least two kinds of multiplayer coming for Halo Wars 2. Xbox One owners can test Domination and Deathmatch until June 20th Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition buyers will get a remastered copy of Halo Wars for Xbox One and Windows PCs. Halo Wars 2 is now available for pre-order in the Xbox Store.