The gaming industry over the years has welcomed the rise of the Battle Royale genre. A genre in which a high number of players, typically one hundred, are forced to fight until one person is victorious.
Many games such as Fortnight, Call Of Duty and Tetris have adapted this genre into their games, so just how would Halo adapt Battle Royale?
THE INITIAL DROP
For most first person or third person shooters that have a Battle Royale mode, the game will start off by dropping from the sky. Different games incorporate this in different ways, be it gliding or using a parachute.
Halo is a franchise that has seen characters drop from the sky in many ways. Some of these ways would be perfect for the initial drop of a Battle Royale game mode.
There are many lore related restrictions in the Halo universe, however, this doesn’t mean that a normal marine couldn’t use a drop pod, or an ODST couldn’t use Spartan armour. These normally impossible tasks for the Halo lore could be made possible by a simple trick.
Allowing it all to be simulation training. We have seen War Games’ simulations be used in the Halo universe not just for Spartan candidates, but for other UNSC personnel too. It would be entirely possible to play as a marine and still wear spartan armour if it were in a simulation environment.
An ODST drop pod seems like the most logical choice for a falling from the sky scenario. Whilst it’s questionable if any game could currently handle 100 drop pods along with 100 players on screen at once, it would surely be a concept that would make any Halo fan truly thrilled at the beginning of every game.
Another viable option would be to use Pelicans, the common air vehicle in the Halo games follow a line across the map and allow players to drop when ready, as is the case with most current Battle Royale titles.
HEALING AND ARMOUR
Many games that currently have a Battle Royale mode feature some sort of healing system and armour system. These two systems are somewhat already integrated into the Halo universe and into previous Halo titles.
Since the very beginning of the Halo franchise with Halo Combat Evolved, Halo featured both a health system and a shield system. These systems working together in a first person shooter could be seen as a precursor to what we see today in such games as Fortnight.
When it comes to loot in a Battle Royale setting, more is always good. When it comes to healing though, a balance is also very important. Luckily in the Halo universe there is a variety of healing items that could be put in a Halo Battle Royale setting.
Small, medium and large healing items that would allow players to enjoy their experience without feeling like there were too many or too few healing items. For the small healing item, a simple Biofoam canister would suffice. Biofoam has appeared in Halo 3: ODST, as well as Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn. However, it has been present in the Halo Universe since the very beginning in the book, Halo: The Fall Of Reach. The medium level healing item could be Polypseudomorphine, also known as polly-sue. This item has also been in the Halo Universe since Halo: The Fall Of Reach, but has yet to appear in game.
The large healing item would of course be the most well known healing item in Halo, the health pack. The Halo health pack first appeared in Halo Combat Evolved and has since been seen in Halo 3: ODST and Halo Reach.
Armour is slightly more complicated than health due to armour usually being associated to rank in the Halo universe. Although previously mentioned that these lore elements could be written off by using in game simulations, the players own association would still be disturbed and would therefore effect their engagement. Another element is how the armour will work.
The various Battle Royale games on the market each have a different approach to their armour system. Some games have different tiers of armour, others just use an armour bar similar to a health bar. In terms of what would work for a Halo Battle Royale, I would suggest a brand new armour system. One that instead incorporates different parts of armour, rather than different levels.
Each armour piece being that of a Halo marine. The helmet being the rarest piece, followed by the chest, then the legs, and so on. I think this would allow players to feel more rewarded as they play too, as they’ll always have at least one of the common armour pieces very soon after dropping into the game.
This is the most debated topic in the Halo community when it comes to Halo Infinite, however, it is a fairly simple topic when it comes to Battle Royale in Halo. Being a Spartan is an absolute no go for Halo Battle Royale, simply because it would be too easy. However, as discussed already, if the players were marines, they would be weaker and find it harder to survive.
As such we can determined that any Halo gameplay that includes Spartans in the past game can be removed as a possibility, due to various reasons such as their rechargeable shields interfering with gameplay.
The core gameplay would then fall down to only one game, Halo 3: ODST. Whilst there are certain elements, such as the “VISR” mode that would not be reasonable in Battle Royale, the health systems and general gameplay of Halo 3: ODST make it the most suited for a Battle Royale game mode.
Another gameplay element that Halo is famous for is its inclusion of vehicles. Vehicles have been proven to work in Battle Royale in such games as Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 Blackout. With the amount of Halo vehicles available throughout the Halo Universe, there are many possibilities of what could be used in an open battlefield. Such vehicles as the Scorpion tank could be extremely rare, whilst vehicles such as the Mongoose could be far more common.
I NEED A WEAPON
Weapons are core to any shooting game and Halo is of course no different. The Halo franchise is known for having an incredible amount of weaponry in its sandbox, which would allow for many options and variants of a Halo Battle Royale mode. Covenant only modes and Forerunner only modes are examples of the variants that could exist for Halo Battle Royale.
Power weapons are items that players fight over in normal style Halo, so Battle Royale would be no different. These power weapons, such as Energy Swords, rocket launchers or sniper rifles would have to be extremely rare in a Battle Royale setting for the gameplay to be fair for everyone.
Perhaps a set tier system for weapons could be in place so that only the strongest power weapons appear in some sort of ordnance drop. Middle class weapons and precision weapons, such as the Battle Rifle, DMR and assault rifle could all be uncommon. The lowest and most common tier of weapons could include the pistol (The CE version only appearing in ordnance), the SMG or other various weapons previously used as duel wieldable weapons in Halo 3.
A common element in some Battle Royale games is the inclusion of customisable weaponry, be it the scopes or magazines. Whilst this wouldn’t be an entirely new thing for the Halo Universe, I personally think it would over complicate the simplicity of Halo gameplay. Halo Online has shown players that customisable weaponry is possible, but for the most part, in a 100 player free for all, I feel simplicity would help set a Halo Battle Royale apart from the rest.
TIME TO POWERUP
Powerups have been a feature of the Halo franchise since the very beginning with Halo Combat Evolved. The addition of equipment in Halo 3 only added to the possibilities players could have when engaging with each other. Halo Reach to Halo 5 added a range of armour and Spartan abilities that once gain further expanded the options when fighting enemy players. I think all of these elements would work perfectly in a Battle Royale setting.
Giving the players more options on how to engage with each other is a good way to expand the chance they’ll replay the game. Battle Royale games often have an abundance of pick ups across the playable areas of the map and Halo Battle Royale would be no different.
Powerups, Armour Abilities, Spartan Abilities and equipment are all potential pickups. All of these tiers of abilities and pickups could be fitted into two categories. Throwable assists and none throwable assists. This would allow a temporary Overshield to be on the same level as a one time limited time use of a Hardlight Shield.
It would also allow the majority of the Halo 3 equipment to be included in the game without them feeling too overpowered. Such items as a bubble shield and flare would still be throwable, however, even armour abilities such as the auto turret could be classified as throwable, too.
Overall the Halo universe has many elements from current and previous titles that would allow a Battle Royale to succeed. Whilst there are many elements to take into account such as in game lore, gameplay balance, replayability and fan feedback, the potential is still there.
What’re your thoughts on a Halo Infinite Battle Royale? Would you like to see it? Do you have anything you’d add or remove to allow the gamemode to work for Halo? You can let us know on the Halo Respawn team on Twitter. We also have a Halo Respawn Discord for those who would like a more personal discussion, or just some Halo memes.
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