Hey you! Yeah I’m talking to you!
Do you wish that Halo: Reach’s versus Firefight had a bit more promise and depth to it? Do you like the general concept that Halo 4’s Spartan Ops provided, but just don’t think it was executed correctly? Do you want playing as a Sangheili in Halo to mean something just a bit more interesting than having flappy jaws, without ruining the balance of typical Matchmaking? All-in-all, would you like to see a gametype that benefits several varying types of players in a more casual and fun in setting?
I present to you… Battalion (That’s a sorta placeholder name for now at least)
I could write a whole essay about this idea, but I want to keep this post short, so instead I’ll leave plenty of space for anyone who’s interested in this idea to post their own ideas/suggestions to try and improve this mode! The basics are that it would be a five-player lobby with four people on Red Team, and only one slot on the Blue Team… But the catch is that this isn’t just your typical Firefight; It’s Spartan Ops vs. Halo Wars. You have the Red Team, Fireteam Whatever-The–Yoink-, deployed in a massive map fit for a strategy game, but of course with some extra structures, vehicles, weapons and whatever else they need. The objective is slightly different depending on the map (which will instead be referred to as missions, despite them not really having a connected story like Spartan Ops does) in how you execute it, but each mission will have the same overarching objective: Infiltrate the Covenant facility, and assassinate the Sangheili General before his Phantom arrives to extract him. This Sangheili General… Just so happens to be the one Blue Player, and he’s given Halo Wars controls. The base that he’s hiding in acts as a home base with structures and everything else that he can use to build up his army, and while doing his best to hold back the Fireteam by sending challenging waves of enemies at them, he can also put divide some of his forces to capture UNSC camps and convert them into extra bases. His objective is essentially just to survive, and develop his army in whatever way necessary to keep the Spartans from reaching him in time. I figured he can either hold them off until his Phantom arrives, or if he’s good enough, he can actually kill them. (I would design the Spartans to have several lives like Firefight, but they can’t respawn until the remaining members of the Fireteam all fall back to their Elephant or something similar). The General would access the Halo Wars menu via a terminal in his base, so that when the Spartans get inside, he can switch to a first person view and have one last desperate chance to fend them off by himself, and if he was smart he would have set up defensive troops within his base just as a fall-back plan to help him in this situation. By this point, it would be very akin to Reach’s Firefight with the squad of Spartans against one Sangheili backed by his AI buddies. Oh, and side note; There would be a Battalion Firefight version that changes around the roles, having the Spartans hold out for evac in an abandoned base while the General sends in swarms of enemies from a base that the Spartans can’t get to. He could even go in himself if he thinks he can deal the killing blow, but like in the base game, if the General dies the Spartans win.
I know this is a very ambitious idea, one that would probably be pretty difficult to set up, but I feel like the payoff would be insanely worth it. We would have an immensely fun gamemode that will constantly give players entirely new experiences with how they encounter the AI, seeing that these Generals would all build and command their armies differently. It’ll be like experiencing Halo’s core gameplay loop in a whole new way, if 343 was really into this idea they could even supply the General with different Halo Wars-esque Leaders to choose from that have different themes in how they’re built. I just feel like this is an immensely unique idea that we’ve never seen done anywhere before, not once in any other game have we taken the role of an Antagonistic Leader commanding a whole army against a small team of badasses. Like I said before, please leave your thoughts, suggestions, etc. below and let’s get a discussion going! I’d love for 343 to at least take this idea in consideration, it has so much potential and I feel like it would be the best iteration of Firefight/Spartan Ops/Warzone/etc. we’ve ever gotten in the Halo Franchise!