What's The Reason For Lack Of Elites After Reach?

Since Halo 2, playable Elites have been a big part of Halo. It’s very cool to play as them. H2 had them. Halo 3 as well. Reach had them too, with even going as far as to have a game mode dedicated to Elites. Then all of a sudden playable Elites were no longer a thing with Halo 4. Why? Then that carried over to Halo 5 and Infinite. Did 343 want to go back to the roots of Halo CE or something? Why not continue the foundation of Halo 2? Why CE? When I went back to CE this year, I saw how flawed the game was. It’s a good game, but not the best. I always played as an Elite in the series. Hopefully they return in Infinite.


Because they dumped all this time into designing coatings and armor for you to buy for your spartan. Halo 4 and 5 just laziness. Infinite there’s an actual reason.


Ah! that’s an easy one, the answer for that is: Laziness.
I don’t think Playable Elites will ever return, 343 seem to hate them for some reason and when you ask them why they always put they same excuses: “we want players feel as a spartan, fighting for humanity that’s what halo is about bla bla bla” , “It wouldn’t be balanced” , “we want a lore accurate MP experiencie”.
Nothing wrong that they want those things, but, c’mon… I too played as a Elite since Halo 2 and I always ended in the top 3 best players on the matches, i didn’t feel any disadvantage or soemthing like that.

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Because the two models are not balanced against each other at all, with Elites being a significantly easier target unless you’re shooting them from behind.

For a Dev, unless the mode specifically calls for it (EX: Invasion in Reach) there is no point in programming and developing two models when one will be completely superior to the other in a way you can’t balance and thus be used significantly less, if at all. It’s just wasted development time and effort.


The simple answer is that a second player model means more work.

If forge used campaign assets to allow players to control AI characters I think that would be an incredible way to make a workaround. Since the Infinite campaign isn’t out I don’t know if this process is as simple as it was in previous Halo games which had that feature built in to the game engine.

This is already possible on Xbox in Halo: Reach so long as the custom game host is a PC player who uses a mod to start a custom game on a firefight map. It would be possible on Forge World if 343i put the AI character “bipods” inside of that map. (An engine limitation requires all .map files to contain all the assets that they use. This is why some custom games have Forge Monitors: The biped for it is stored inside of the map and thus can be spawned with gametype scripting.)

Just give us elites as an armor core option, done deal.


They have to create a new player model for that to happen though. A new player model means new animations, plus there are also hitbox & apparent hitbox considerations. Also, what about sounds and callouts? That would also have to be made to check if the player was an Elite or not.

I agree that having it be a separate core is the right way to do it. It would be really cool to have and would fit right in.


I imagine most of the animations can just be used from the campaign elites, but yeah there is likely a few that need to be added for weapons and vehicles that they don’t use in the campaign. Sounds and Callouts can also draw at least partially from campaign’s assets.

Point is, while I’m not saying there’s no artistic work needed to get them working, a lot of it can just be drawn from the campaign, and most of what they need to do is in the implementation, like adding a second category of voiceprints for different elite voices, for example, or organizing the way coatings apply to them, defining the armor pieces and where they lie in the pass/store, etc.


Since Halo 4, 343’s reason for excluding them is a mix of lore and development time. Starting with H4 they introduced the whole war games concept, that all multiplayer matches are just Spartan 4’s practicing against each other in a simulation on the infinity. There are no Elites that would have access to the simulation and thus are excluded because why would a canonical Spartan IV “practice” as an alien.

The more grounded reason is probably due to design issues that playable elites introduce. The Spartan and Elite model are not the same, and cant be made equal without compromising the identity of the Elites. Hence why all the Elites are hunched over in H3 Multiplayer. In Reach Bungie decided to go forward and just make Elites as they are, larger and superior combatants. As a trade off they are limited to specific modes like invasion or Elite slayer. Invasion was an interesting mode, but I would say a failed experiment. 343 decided to axe it, and an Elite slayer mode isn’t enough to justify the development effort to program playable elites in an interesting way.

I’m not sure which reason came first, if the lore dictated the cut or if the cut dictated the lore, but either way I highly doubt elites will ever return in a playable form. The best we got were the HO armors for Elites in H3.

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The War Games Lore doesn’t really exclude Elites though, Your telling me with all the tech swapping and armor design collaborations going on, that there’s never any Joint Operations Training going on?

It did for the most part until the HO armors were added to H3, canonizing the Anvil which is a joint facility run by Elites and the UNSC. War games takes place on the Infinity, due to the complex political relationship the UNSC has with any Elite faction it’s not like they could just invite the Arbiter over for some practice.

I’m sure there are joint UNSC and Elite faction operations. I believe the mission to return to the Ark was a joint operation. Overall 343 designed the lore of War games to be Spartan centric.

Personally it seemed like an easy way out in regard to the Elite design problems. They didn’t even bother trying.

The lore “reasons” do seem to be more of an excuse rather than legitimate reason. I believe as far back as halo 3 the playable elites were explained as the spartans having the option to use the visual imprint of an elite in training exercises, or something like that, and with elites being more established as allies for humanity now, it wouldn’t be farfetched in the slightest for elites to either volunteer or be compensated for participating in spartan training exercises for the clearly beneficial reasons of spartans facing a greater variety of targets in training, and for elite soldiers to hone their own skills.

While they had been around for awhile they were always somewhat problematic, the main issue being hit boxes. You could keep them unique to the character but then you give an intrinsic advantage to the model with the abnormal head placement. You could make them the same, but then (due to the character design) you have a much larger and more distinct character model to achieve such (which is where we ended up with Reach). You could reshape the model all together to sidestep either issue, but then what would be the point?

By not including them 343i removed the need to make them work. I really liked the invasion premise from Reach, but if anyone is being honest the player population for that mode wasn’t exactly exploding, but I think they always hurt competitive play to one degree or another.

Because 343 wanted to make their own identity for the game, and didn’t realize the community wants this back. They saw only 1/5th of the community used it and thought. We don’t need that, and pissed off 1/5th of the community now it is like 1/20th as all those players quit even though they are just waiting for it to come back.

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With Reach they weren’t available in Matchmaking except for specific gametypes. It was mainly in customs, where perfect balancing mattered less, that people used them. If they did something like that I wouldn’t have an issue. What would be the problem?

Heck, if they allowed them in social gametypes but not ranked I personally wouldn’t care, as there balancing doesn’t matter quite as much, and with the right SMMR, even if Elites had an advantage/disadvantage they’d get paired with people performing similar to them.

Now, I do acknowledge that from a development standpoint it may seem like a waist of money if you can only use them in key gametypes. But if you sell cosmetics for them, are we to assume the whales wouldn’t buy them all? And whales are who I’ve been told account for most of the Free To Play profits. So that should be a monetary incentive right there, no?

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Ngl, I was never a fan of bungies design for spartans, they were always “blocky” and just too boring for me. Thats why i always prefered elites because i just adore them way more than spartans.

Im aware of the hitbox issues and I kinda like what bungie did with them in reach, however being locked to a single playlist that was hella repetitive broke me entirely… i couldnt play my favorite modes as an elite. Its been 10 years and even if 343 said in the past “not at launch” it still makes me afraid we wont have them if we dont keep requesting them.

Besides, elites have evolved a lot over the years, their posture is more straight now, they arent as hunched as they used to be 13 years ago, their heads can be seen from the back now, why not use this? I mean wouldnt this just make things easier to balance? If getting headshots from behind is still a problem just give them a bigger headshot hitbox, or a “secondary” where it can detect a headshot from the back…

Infinite going back to the og spartans aesthetics i dont like has me conflicted, but elites getting way more badass and not being able to play as one makes me so damn sad… lol.

I would gladly take a bigger size, bigger hitbox and being easier to kill as long as they allow me play as my favorite species once again.


While I don’t agree with the spartan designs being unappealing, I agree with everything said about the elites. Their designs in infinite are also so damn good, it makes me even sadder that they aren’t playable. That one render of the blue elite they showed in that inside infinite blog? MMM!

That seems like a super presumptive take. There ARE legitimate criticisms to playable elites, such as the fact that they have different hit boxes that can provide an advantage in game. Have you ever tried to get a headshot off on an elite player from behind in Halo 3? It’s pretty rough.

At the end of the day, it just seems like something that the development team doesn’t care much for, like dual wielding. I don’t think they ought to cater to every desire some members of the community have if it means compromising their vision.

You know it’s funny you mention the Halo 3 Elites. I too had a hard time getting back headshots on them, but apparently they had the same hit box as the Spartans the whole time.

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That makes it even worse! The hit box not matching the model in an arena shooter is such a massive oversight. No wonder I couldn’t get back headshots. I was supposed to close my eyes and pretend I was shooting at an entirely different shape.

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