With Halo Anniversary Edition and last year's Halo 4, 343 Studios held its own with Microsoft's sci-fi franchise after Bungie's departure following Halo Reach. Now, as the next generation looms with the Xbox One two weeks from release, fans are wondering just what the team has up its sleeve for Master Chief's next-gen debut.
Aside from Halo: Spartan Assault making its console debut next month (yay!) a true sequel is inbound, courtesy of a teaser trailer revealed during Microsoft's 2013 pre-E3 press conference, featuring Master Chief emerging from the desert to face a new threat. Now the only question is – what features will it have? That said, we have a few suggestions.
First introduced in Halo 3: ODST, Firefight is a co-op based mode where four players work with one another via System Link or Xbox Live to tackle waves of enemies, be it Covenant or another race. This mode is one of our favorite features in ODST, though we have yet to see it return to the Halo universe. The Xbox One edition would be a novel place to bring it back, especially considering the popularity of the downloadable Spartan Ops missions for Halo 4.
So why replace Spartan Ops with Firefight? Well, less focus on story, for one, and also more enemies. Spartan was fun, don't get us wrong, but sometimes you just want to hop into a game and get right into action, rather than wandering from point to point. With this in mind, Firefight is ideal.
More Vehicular Action
Vehicles play a big part in the Halo universe, and while some folks like running around on foot dealing damage, there's no question that taking the wheel of a flying ship – or even a Warthog, for that matter – adds something new to the table. You move faster, run over enemies and score extra firepower.
Adding more vehicles – UNSC-based and alien – would make a huge difference for the sequel. We're not talking about turning it into Grand Theft Auto 5, just diversifying the gameplay a bit so we can dish out more damage. Look at what helicopter battles, turret sequences and vehicular destruction have done for first-person shooters over the last few years. Halo can easily benefit from that.
For that matter, how about more space battle sequences? We loved the mission in Halo: Reach, and if modified just right, it could work for both single player and multiplayer across the board. Who's up for a convoy assault?
Weapons and More Dual Wielding
We love dual wielding. The only thing that beats having the ultimate firepower on hand is having double the available firepower. A few Halo games in the past have done a moderately good job at presenting dual wielding, but the next Halo can do it better. We're talking more diverse weaponry, the ability to shoot more powerful ammunition (like grenades or laser blasts that can vaporize a target in its tracks) and maybe even a pair of plasma blades if you feel like going ninja.
While we're talking weapons, we'd like to see heavier firepower. More rocket launcher style weapons would be great, especially when it comes to bringing down those scout ships, and it wouldn't hurt to have a few mines on hand as well. Proximity mines would go a long way, especially while trying to escape pursuing enemies. BOOM.
Finally, increase the grenade count. We can't stress this enough.
More Customization Options
It's great having your own custom Emblem and stats when it comes to multiplayer, but it's about time for Halo to go the extra mile and let you create your own weaponry and armor, however you see fit. Fit them with custom logos, put together some wild color schemes and even change some of the effects of the weapons, such as being able to execute a force blast, or for good measure, shoot multiple explosive charges that deal massive damage.
Finally, when it comes to multiplayer games, some prefer bigger maps over smaller, condensed maps. Not only do these provide better opportunities for players in sniping positions, but also superior strategy tactics for those moving on the ground.
The Halo maps we've played aren't bad by any means. However, some people prefer more room to run – and we are talking Xbox One here. 343 Studios can easily create multi-tiered maps – with traps, even – to keep players guessing when it comes to cutting around corners or dropping in on someone from a higher point.
They don't have to be limited to outdoors either. Create a massive enough stadium or indoor complex, and you could have a place to run like crazy.
For that matter, we'd also like to see Forge come back, but with 2.0 modifications. Not only should there be the option to modify rules and certain settings on a map, but maybe even the maps themselves. We know some talented folks who would like nothing more than to create their own Halo-based utopia. It'd be interesting to see 343 Studios give us the option to do that.
Will these make it into the next Halo game? Only time will tell, but come June at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2014, don't be surprised if Master Chief charges onto the stage and announces some of these features for his long-anticipated return. We can't wait.