Battle Royale has taken over online gaming over the last few years.
It's been a remarkable transformation for the world of multiplayer shooters. One that developers should ignore at their peril.
The question is, should Halo Infinite join the Battle Royale universe?
Halo's place as a multiplayer game
While Halo's focus has always been on the single-player campaign, it has a big role in the history of online console gaming.
Halo 2 was the most popular game on Xbox Live for two years. It was the portal by which most players dived into the world of online gaming.
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The depth of its multiplayer content was staggering and widely praised.
That grew and the online scene for the Master Chief Collection is still strong even five years after the release of Halo 5: Guardians.
For many, Halo has a special place as a founding father of online gaming. Titles like Modern Warfare 2 may have been the peak of multiplayer shooters for most, but Halo is where it started.
With such a long tradition of online play, Halo fans are as excited to dive into ranked Slayer lobbies as they are keen to continue Master Chief's story.
But with so many players now preferring Battle Royale to old-school multiplayer, will 343 take Halo in that direction?
Could Halo Battle Royale really work?
Halo has never been about customising weapons or scrambling over terrain & buildings.
However, that isn't to say the gameplay couldn't change for the better. It would be good for environments to become easier to navigate with a ledge-grab system. Halo campaigns often end up down corridors and stuck in rigid boxes. A more interactive world that allows for players to pick their own path and find angles would be amazing.
The return of health packs would add some permanence to your damage, like the armour of Warzone.
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Rather than a gas cloud, a Halo BR map could literally disintegrate like a collapsing Halo ring, throwing back to the final levels of Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 3.
There are also plenty of weapons to put into crates. With UNSC, Brute, Covenant, and Forerunner guns to choose from. There could even be multiple versions of weapons like the CE magnum vs the Halo 2 magnum.
Equipment like active camo, bubble shields, and overshield add wrinkles to gameplay.
There are all the ingredients there to make a Halo Battle Royale mode. But maybe it shouldn't be done.
Standing out from the crowd
As an Xbox exclusive (although surely landing on PC eventually), Halo Infinite doesn't need to appeal to the broad world of gamers like Call of Duty or Fortnite does.
It has a huge following, one that is there for single-player and classic online modes.
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At this point, a big shooter not going down the Battle Royale route is more of a unique selling point than having one.
Halo Infinite is going to be THE launch title for Xbox Series X, of that there is no doubt. That doesn't mean it needs to follow the trend of Battle Royale though.
2020 has messed with development for many games. There is a worry that any attempt to build a new Halo BR mode for release with the new game would result in a buggy map or glitchy gameplay, and that's no good for anyone.
343 Studios have the chance to truly stand out from the crowd. Both as the first major shooter on next-gen and as the standard-bearer for traditional multiplayer modes.
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The Master Chief has an appeal of his own, Halo multiplayer has a legacy like no other.
It has been nearly 19 years since Halo: Combat Evolved arrived. In all that time the recipe for success of Halo has not changed. The Battle Royale revolution has been amazing, but Halo is a monolith. Mighty and unchangeable.
It should stay out of the BR world, as cool as it might be to think about.