July’s Xbox Games Showcase revealed that the Banished, led by a fearsome new war chief, are after Installation 09, a new Halo ring that threatens the galaxy and humanity. Here’s what we know about the Banished, their founder Atriox, and the group’s new leader in Halo Infinite, War Chief Escharum:
Who are Atriox and the Banished?
The first three games in the Halo series centered on the fight between humanity and the Covenant, a violent religious faction of aliens who, unfortunately, happened to be humanity’s first contact with the rest of the galaxy’s species. By Halo 4, the Covenant had been defeated, and while the story moved in another direction, the aliens kept making military and political shifts in the background. It was in the chaos that Atriox, a powerful former Covenant warrior who left in disgrace to become a mercenary, rose to power.
After the Covenant fell in Halo 3, the Banished took advantage of the power vacuum and became a stronger military force. The group is mostly made up of Atriox’s Jiralhanae species, known by humanity (and labeled in the game) as Brutes. Anyone can join the Banished if they prove their use as a mercenary, though, so Elites, other ex-Covenant species, and even humans make up some of their ranks. Thirsty for power and galactic domination, the Banished always have their eyes on the most dangerous weapons in the Halo galaxy, including the parasitic Flood.
The Banished have attacked both what’s left of the Covenant and humanity, and threaten, destroy, or enslave others. To that end, the aforementioned transmission for Halo Infinite teases that they have now taken control of a Halo ring, a superweapon capable of wiping out organic life across the galaxy as well as unleashing the parasitic Flood, a scourge that assimilates any lifeform it can.
The ring in question is Installation 09, a newly-minted weaponized ringworld, created in Halo Wars 2 by the crew of the stranded UNSC ship Spirit of Fire as a way to relay a message back to humanity. At the end of the game, the new Halo ring enters slipspace and is heading towards the location of the original Halo ring, Installation 04 (or Alpha Halo), when it’s intercepted by one of the giant Guardians introduced in Halo 5: Guardians.