Ever since Halo 2, we’ve had a consistent trend within Halo’s sandbox: lack of variety. After 2004, the bulk of weapons and vehicles that we’ve seen have been, in no way, memorable. The Spectre and the Prowler were not only copies of each other, but copies of the Warthog. After CE, the Plasma Rifle became a typical bullet-hose with its only difference from the SMG and the Spiker Rifle (and the BPR) being its color. The Beam Rifle is a purple Sniper that simply overheats, and the Fuel Rod Gun (after CE) is just a spammable Rocket Launcher; boring.
And Halo 2 isn’t alone in this. Halo 3 took the reskinning to an entirely new level, where it suddenly became an ideal idea to have the entireity of the dual-wieldable weapons being the same. Halo: Reach freshened things up a bit, giving us the Plasma Launcher and the Focus Rifle, but it wasn’t better. And above all, Halo 4 gave us not only one of the largest weapon sandboxes, but also arguably the most redundant.
We shouldn’t have a [insert weapon] [insert faction] checklist. Each faction, human, Covenant, and Forerunner, shouldn’t have to have counterparts with each other. Just because we have a human mid-ranged semi-automatic weapon we don’t need a Covenant counterpart. We don’t need both a Forerunner and a Covenant sniper. There doesn’t have to be a machine gun for all factions.
If we’re going to have a large sandbox, let’s do all that we can to keep it unique. Let’s keep it diverse. And the first part in that is to get to the root of the problem:
Both dual-wielding and personal loadouts can be pinned as the source of reskins. In Halo 2, dual-wielding forced Bungie to nerf each individual weapon in order to prevent dual-weapons to be overpowered; this caused a lot of unique traits to be removed from each weapon with the Plasma RIfle’s plasma stun being one. In Halo 4, balancing each weapon for personal loadouts resulted in a lot of weapons being the same.
However, while dual-wielding and personal loadouts certainly contributed to oversaturating the sandbox with excessively similar weapons, it doesn’t have to be that way; balancing those features doesn’t require stripping weapons of their variety. In short, creating reskins is just a shortcut.
And with that, let’s make it clear to 343 that it’s possible for them to have a diverse sandbox. If they choose to keep loadouts and/or return dual-wielding, let’s inform them, regardless if we like those features or not, that they don’t need to butcher the sandbox because of it.
And, let’s tell them to give us an option in Custom Games to modify the traits of each weapon. That too.