28 years after the UNSC Spirit of Fireleft Shield 0459, the crew awakens from cryosleep to encounter a new threat from The Banished on Installation 00. The campaign consists of 12 missions spread across 3 acts. The player controls UNSC units from the Spirit of Fire to combat the new foes
Like its predecessor, Halo Wars 2 includes a Skirmish Mode. The player can battle AI opponents across 8 multiplayer maps in 1v1, 2v2, or 3v3 matches. Skirmish has three game modes: Deathmatch, Domination, and Strongholds.
Deathmatch: Destroy all enemy bases to win.
Domination: Capture and hold Control Towers to score points. Reach the maximum score first to win.
Strongholds: Build and hold the most Strongholds at the end of the match to win. All players have unlimited resources.
Development of Halo Wars 2 was outsourced to Creative Assembly, the same studio behind the popular strategy game series Total War. Once again, Blur created the pre-rendered cinematics for the game.
In the teaser trailer, a wounded Douglas-042 is being dragged by another member of Red Team, away from some form of enemy, most likely the Brute Chieftain seen later. Jerome-092 radios in, "Command, this is Red Team. Something hit us, Douglas is down. Immediate evac requested!" As he is dragged along, Douglas draws his M6C magnum, takes a moment to aim, then fires. The screen cuts to Red Team, sweeping an area with their flashlights. They encounter a large, hostile Jiralhanae, who picks a SPARTAN (probably Douglas) up by his throat, and throws him. It then returns to the wounded Douglas, firing another shot off into the darkness. This time, it cuts to Red Team being attacked from several angles by what can only be assumed to be Jiralhanae. Finally, after one more gunshot, several shots of Red Team attempting to retaliate (to no avail) are shown. After this, the camera cuts to Douglas who attempts to fire a fourth shot, but a "click" signifies his clip is empty. Having no way to defend himself, he lets his right arm slip to the floor and his grip on the magnum loosens. Next, camera showcases the aforementioned Brute Chieftain properly, as he activates his energy mace, Chainbreaker, and growls, "Yes, run... Little demons." After cutting to black, the logos of 343 Industries, Creative Assembly and finally Halo Wars 2 flash onto the screen in quick succession. To close the trailer, there is a short shot of the Chieftain turning away from the camera, and ordering his cohorts to "Hunt them down."