What's probably going to happen.

The way I see it, 343 is determined to set themselves apart from Bungie in terms of development, and rightly so. It’s not good to live in a shadow. However, after Halo 4, the majority of the fanbase has made it their sworn mission to stamp on the hopeful company’s fingers as it drags itself into the light of individuality.

And so we find ourselves in the situation we are in now. 343 has stated that Halo is taking a turn for the competitive, like it was in it’s adolescence. However, I highly doubt this means we will be seeing them return to the age-old mechanics of previous games. Halo 1-3 were good, but they are not the ultimate paragon of every videogame evaaaa, if you see what I mean. 343 has shown their loyalty to the old fanbase via the MCC, but it seems they are not going to simply churn out Halo titles with new graphics and campaigns with the exact same multiplayer, as a quick scroll around the internet would lead one to believe is what the fanbase wants.

But this is justified, and a good thing. Halo multiplayer was already stagnating a little, to the point where no amount of weapon sandbox expansion could save it. 343 tried to remedy this in Halo 4, with the popularist perk systems, loadouts and ordnances. This gained them glowing responses from critics, and unbridled hate from the fans. This is something they cannot and will not allow to happen again.

343 realises their mistakes now, and are ‘going back to Halo’s roots’. This does not mean that they are going to bring back every old vehicle, the equipment system, health, etc, etc. They are not slaves to the “nostalgians”, (a term I’m quite proud of) who want Halo to remain exactly the same from 3 onwards because that’s how we like it, thank you very much.

We can see that this is not what is happening, as the Halo 5 beta trailer unashamedly showed off the new Spartan abilities, things that were later explained to be actions available to all players automatically, like dual wielding or boarding. Thus, Halo 5 is introducing new gameplay mechanics whilst still remaining competitive, much like what Bungie did with Halo 2, something many revere to this day as Halo’s pinnacle (and on a side note, default sprint’s probably staying, like it or not, only they’ll probably balance it a bit more).

I dare say many people won’t like this, but it’s for the best. Better that Halo innovate than become a stale, inaccessible franchise with a small cult following. I love the universe, and am extremely excited by the taste we’ve had of Halo 5: Guardians so far.

I expect your hate shortly, nostalgians of the internet.

I wish Sprint wasn’t even a thing at all in Halo, just saying. Despite every player having it, it’s a random factor that kills competitive play much like Personal Ordnance, uncounterable OHK weapons, or Armor Abilities.

I agree. While I believe they should make changes to the games as they go on, those changes should not alter the core game to the point where it’s hardly recognizable. Halo 4, while not a bad game, felt too different from previous Halos. I think 343 tried to rewrite the game to make it a cross between modern shooters and Halo, which left something neither side was happy with. I think to satisfy as many as they can, 343 should take the framework of the old games and work of that, not deconstruct the framework and start with a plot of land.

I would say that 343 has one of the hardest jobs in the video game industry in terms of creativity. They have inherited, from Bungie, a massively successful franchise with an incredibly diverse community that knows Halo just as well as the developers do. It’s like Bungie handed the keys to a really nice car and said, “don’t f*** it up.”

343 has a very difficult job because if they try to copy/paste existing mechanics from successful franchises like in Halo 4, you get a massive backlash from the community because it’s just not Halo anymore. On the other hand, if you keep things the same all the time, eventually Halo will grow stale and become another call of duty franchise. But if you try something new and it ends up terrible like in Reach, you’ve screwed the pooch entirely.

I always thought that reach had the potential to be the best Halo, but it failed so massively that I don’t consider it a Halo at all anymore. They were introducing new mechanics, reworking the weapon sandbox, making it more unique in in the gaming industry. In theory. The end result was a massive flop.

The main thing they did wrong in Halo 4 was that they used reach as their foundation, and simply added cod features to the game. They did improve on a lot of the things that made reach garbage, but ultimately it didn’t play like a Halo game, and that’s why a lot of the community went away.

For the next Halo games to be successful, 343 needs to return to the basics of what made Halo great. They need to use Halo CE and Halo 2 as the foundation of the core Halo gameplay. But they also need to innovate and evolve. Halo needs to be unique from the other franchises, as it was before. That, I believe, is the true attraction of the original games; it was different, it stood out from the crowd, and it played better than any other shooter on the market. They need to create new, unique gameplay mechanics that don’t copy another franchise or completely ruin the core game, and that’s the real challenge there.

Halo doesn’t need sprint, it doesn’t need perks or specializations or loadouts or ADS or a cover system or any of that crap you already see on the market. It needs to be original and unique, and it needs to play well whilst doing so. That’s 2 requirements that Halo hasn’t met for a while now.

So that’s what 343 gets paid to do. They already have a fanbase that knows how a Halo game should feel, and they need to continue to evolve the game without -Yoink!- them off. It’s a very stressful job, and it’s inevitable that they’ll get hate from a lot of the hardcore players who insist that it has to be exactly like Halo CE/2/3. But eventually, they’re either going to find that sweet spot where all the changes go well, or they’re going to fail.

I’m putting my trust in 343 in Halo 5 for now because I know at their heart they want to see Halo do well, and they have a hard job in trying to evolve their game without messing everything up. So I wish them luck in their endeavors and will try to keep an open mind. I just hope they don’t f*** it up.

I don’t mind abilities like sprint, dual wielding, boarding, etc as long as they are balanced. The two examples of sprint we have seen have not been great… And the second example of dual wielding was lack luster, but I do not see the potential “ground pound” being received well. It’s certainly a “cool” thing to do but I am afraid it will not benefit the gameplay. I feel as though the other abilities mentioned do benefit gameplay. Dual wielding offered players the ability to mix and match weapons tactically for certain scenarios (plasma pistol and magnum to both drain shields and take precise headshots), at the cost of grenade throwing and meleeing. Boarding gave an otherwise defenseless player a small chance at properly orienting him or herself to board an enemy vehicle, though it did not put that player at an advantage over the other who is in a vehicle. Sprint, though many people hate it, and it WAS flawed, has the potential to give the player the ability to move a little quicker, while being unable to fire, melee, throw grenades, or reload. All of these abilities have trade offs and are very believable things for a spartan/elite to do. We have yet to see how the new abilities will function, but I simply cannot find a reason why ground pounding is needed, or what possible way it will have trade offs. Furthermore, if too many abilities are included, players will rely on them more, taking away from the classic run and gun aspect and placing more emphasis on jumping off of tall things smashing people.

They might make ground-pounding a support move. It could send out an EMP or a stunning blast to stall or weaken the opposite team, whilst leaving the user with their fist stuck in the ground. That could allow the user’s team to take out a power weapon-holder at the possible cost of only one teammate, rather than all of them slinging grenades like custard pies.

As for Sprint, I think it does have a place in Halo, but it needs to be balanced in order to be competitive. A slower exit from it, for example, meaning one has to stop using it before entering a firefight. Plus, it makes it more engaging and lore-friendly. Spartans are smart enough to know that they don’t have to jog everywhere, and if they can run at about the same speed as a low-end car, I see no reason why they couldn’t.

I hated equipment, and I sincerely hope it’s not there. In fact, I hated the standard wait-for-weapons-to-respawn system of previous Halos with a passion. It encouraged hogging, camping, and made matches repetitive, not to mention just being boring. Face it, even though it worked terribly, Ordnance drops looked amazing. I sincerely hope that they at least revamp the old system, possibly by using pre-announced selections of weapons dropped to a random chokepoint so there’s still map control, but not in a way that makes it repetitive.