After 343 Industries took over the Halo license from Bungie following the release of Halo: Reach, there was cause for concern from some fans. They didn’t want their favorite sci-fi franchise to be taken for granted by a new studio. When Halo: Combat Evolved – Anniversary arrived, fans were optimistic about the future of the franchise and when Halo 4 came out, their reassurance was solidified. It was a solid game with a strong campaign that developed the characters well and was a solid effort on the part of a new developer.
Of course, just as titans may rise, they can also fall hard and fast. The positive announcement of the Master Chief Collection (an amalgamation of the first four mainline Halo experiences) was dashed by a dismal release with a compromised online multiplayer component. Still, we knew that the next Halo game was on the way and like clockwork, Halo 5: Guardians released 3 years after Halo 4. Now with a subtitle and a superior console, 343 Industries was able to place a heightened emphasis on Halo 5’s Multiplayer. Unfortunately, the game quickly became notorious for its lackluster campaign, forced 4-person squad co-op, and the absence of any split-screen component.
With Halo 6’s announcement expected later this year, fans are eagerly salivating over any news pertaining to the franchise’s future. This list represents the strongest ongoing rumors for the next game. While some are mere speculation from the community, others are lifted directly from prior lore. Mild franchise spoilers follow.
25 From Rain To Flood
Despite being fixed on the ongoing Forerunner Saga, the Flood have always been the mutual threat of the franchise. They are, after all, the reason the Halo arrays exist. Even the Forerunner and Human war that was outlined in Halo 4 refers to the Flood as a major threat. Given the evidence of their imminent return thanks to Halo Wars 2’s Awakening the Nightmare DLC, it is only feasible that their infestation will extend beyond the arc in the next mainline Halo game.
Adding the Flood to Cortana’s ongoing threat will be a lot to juggle for a short game.
Even though they can seem long, each main Halo game only lasts approximately 8 hours. Perhaps a longer development time for a longer and beefier campaign is why Halo 6 has not been unveiled up to this point.
24 The Comfy Couch
Thankfully, this is one rumor that 343 Industries has already solidified: split-screen multiplayer will exist in all FPS Halo games going forward. This is in large part due to the tremendous backlash that the lack of split-screen co-op and multiplayer in Halo 5: Guardians caused. It essentially isolated the community, many of whom still get together weekly to play the Halo games together. As soon as fans learned that 343 Industries' poor excuse for the lack of split screen had to do with compromising the game’s frame rate, many of them spoke out on the Halo forums. Thanks to the passionate arguments of the fans, the studio eventually buckled and owned up to their mistake with a promise to fix it the next time around.
23 Back To Basics
In late 2017, a change to 343 Industries occurred when Halo Wars 2 veteran artist Jeremy Cook was hired for the Art Director role. There have been many criticisms lobbied against the Halo developer for both story and art direction and it looks like the studio is taking both to heart by making key personnel changes at the studio. Ever since 343 took the mantle of the Halo franchise, the art style has gotten darker with muted colours representing a shift in tone for the series.
There was quite a stir when the Master Chief was given a full armour redesign between Halo 3 and Halo 4.
With Cook now on the team, it is believed that he will be able to bring a strong balance between the old and new aesthetic and achieve a balance that pleases fans of both.
22 Cortana’s Infection
Near the end of 2017, Youtuber HaloFollower published a video detailing a theory of Cortana being infected by a Flood “logic plague” as indicated by a transmedia dialogue from a Halo-themed loot crate. In Halo lore, the aforementioned plague is the way the Flood can corrupt an A.I.’s programming. If this theory holds up, that means that the Gravemind would have infected Cortana on High Charity between the events of Halo 2 and Halo 3. Given Cortana’s absence in much of the third game and her onset rampancy in Halo 4, this theory has merit. Even Cortana’s cryptic messages in Halo 3 points to the Gravemind’s meddling. The only truth that resonates with Cortana throughout all of the games is that she cares deeply for the Chief. Even in Halo 5: Guardians, she brings the Chief to her so she’ll have her favourite ally at her side.
21 Returning To Its Namesake
The final frame of Halo 5: Guardians comes in the form of the Legendary ending of the game. It sees a Halo ring lighting up on the outside, as Cortana can be heard humming in the background. Yes, Cortana did, in fact, take over the mantle of responsibility for all Forerunner technology.
This includes the Halo rings.
The fact that Halo will be returning to its namesake in the next game is very exciting. Since 343 Industries has taken over the franchise, neither main game has featured a level on a Halo ring (but we definitely flew by one in Halo 4). Instead, the recent games have been on two Forerunner planets and, despite it all being tied into the lore, returning to a ring would leave room for the Flood to reappear. The benefits outweigh the cost at this point.
20 That Xbox One Teaser is Important
Remember that nameless Halo teaser that was released at E3 2013 with the promise of the next game releasing in 2014? It featured a cloaked Chief walking through a desert, discovering a Guardian and it down. The Chief’s visor was cracked and his helmet was very worn down. It’s clear that there was some sort of an idea for the next Halo game even back then, but nothing from this trailer ended up making its way into the final game. We can only speculate why the Chief is cloaked and where he is. Some believe he’s on the Ark, while others have noticed similarities in the planet in the background seeming to match the planet in the Legendary ending of Halo 5: Guardians. It’s anyone’s guess at this point, but there’s still enough connective tissue to make even the fiercest fans to speculate on a connection.
19 The Beta Is Coming
This year’s E3 may only give us a taste of what’s to come in Halo 6, but one thing that is a guaranteed announcement will be a multiplayer beta for the game. After having so many crippling issues with The Master Chief Collection’s multiplayer – something they are only bothering to resolve now – 343 Industries promised that all future titles would have a Beta.
Like clockwork, Halo 5: Guardians’ beta ran for just over two weeks.
It allowed players to enjoy a limited number of modes and maps while gaining valuable multiplayer data. This proved especially useful given all of the mobility changes players had to get used to in Halo 5 vs. Halo 4. It is very likely that the Halo 6 beta will fall either in the summer or holiday 2018. It has also been announced that a Beta for the fixes to the Master Chief Collection will run late spring of this year.
18 Rounding Out The Squad
17 A New Engine
With each new major Halo release, has seen a significant graphical and animation upgrade. In fact, each new game to feature the Master Chief has come with a significant asset overhaul. That is why it isn't crazy to assume that Halo 6 will be on a brand new game engine. In fact, depending on when the game will be released, this will be an expected assumption. If the game comes to the homes of players in 2019, many will assume that an extra year of development time will have been for the creation of a new, native 4K game engine. It would definitely fit right at home with the Xbox One X. The Master Chief himself has also gone over a number of gradual and iterative design changes with each new instalment. It is truly exciting to see what 343 Industries will bring to the next Halo.
16 Not By The Numbers
Despite each mainline Halo game being numbered, 343 Industries has claimed that it is their intention to phase out the numbers entirely. The way to ease fans into this transition was by giving Halo 5 the “Guardians” subtitle only for the number to be removed completely the next time around.
Of course, there’s still a possibility of a number, but it is unlikely.
Many believe that having numbers can negatively affect sales so phasing them out would definitely benefit new players who, as-of-yet, have not experienced the story of the Master Chief and wish to do so. This seems to be integral to 343 Industries’ philosophy of inclusivity as they re-released past games on the Master Chief Collection in preparation for Halo 5: Guardians. Changing the look of the “3” midway through The Witcher III’s marketing campaign definitely led to an increase in sales and interest in the game.
15 REQ Your Wallet
In a post-Star Wars: Battlefront II world fuelled by an obsession for micro-transactions (or MTX as EA lovingly refers to them), developers really have to question their place in modern gaming. Originally, the Halo franchise would incorporate purchasable DLC in the form of Multiplayer Map Packs. Typically consisting of three or more additional maps, these packs were made with the same polish as the rest of the game, but were inaccessible for some without sufficient funds. With Halo 5: Guardians, 343 Industries decided this fracturing of the player base needed to stop, so all maps and multiplayer updates were released for free. They turned their attention to paid and randomized loot packs that would include multiplayer perks and occasional vanity items. Chances are high that these REQ packs will be making a return in all games going forward.
14 Halo’s Battlegrounds
With the popularity of Fortnite and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), it is only a matter of time before the Halo franchise seizes a Battle Royale mode of its own. Halo 5: Guardians has already been met with praise for its Warzone game-type that features two big teams fighting for base supremacy while contending with enemy AI.
A Battle Royale game-type would put Halo 6 on the map for new multiplayer gamers.
The unique combat mechanics and vehicular gameplay would blend well with this free-for-all game type and it would be an easy sell for anyone who isn't convinced in getting Xbox Game Pass. When it comes down to it, there are far more reasons to include a Battle Royale mode than to exclude it from the next game.
13 No Clean Ending
When Halo 4 was shown at E3 2012, it was announced to be the first part of a new trilogy to be dubbed as the “Reclaimer Trilogy” that would begin with Halo 4 and conclude with the as-of-yet unannounced Halo 6. Following the release of the game that fall, 343 Industries claimed that they had too much story to tell in simply 3 games.
They have since re-dubbed the current story-arc as the “Reclaimer Saga.”
Given the feedback that Halo 5: Guardians has received about feeling like the first-act of a story, it would be wrong to assume that Halo 6 resolves the major conflict that was only teased in Guardians. It is reasonably speculated in the community that the current arc will conclude on the next iteration of the Xbox with Halo 7.
12 Halo 6 Or Halo Wars 3?
The end of Halo Wars 2 saw Anders aboard on a new Halo array the Ark had just created. Traveling through slip-space, she is stopped by a Guardian only for the game to cut to credits after this revelation. They essentially turned the hype and desire for a new Halo Wars game into a cheap promotional plug for the next entry in the Master Chief’s story. That said, it also leaves us with some clues as to Halo 6.
It is likely that Cortana will keep Professor Anders imprisoned.
Be that the case, a mission in the next game will feature the Chief discovering her in a Forerunner prison. Despite the exact details being vague on how the story will connect, it would be amazing to see the Infinity and Spirit of Fire join forces to help take down Cortana and her Guardians.
11 Locked Squad-mate
If the next Halo game continues Halo 5: Guardians’ thread of being a 4-player Co-Op experience, 343 Industries should replace the stuffy and one-note Spartans of the previous entry and focus on developing the heroes they’ve had us bank on for a while. Players spent the majority (80%) of Halo 5 as Spartan Locke and it would be amazing to have him build camaraderie with the Chief. It would definitely go a long way to repair the damage Halo 5 did to the Chief and to the one-note Locke working well together. Like the way Halo 3 made the second-player the Arbiter, it would be refreshing to see Locke in a multiplayer squad with the Chief, and allowing them to put their differences behind them.
10 Contact: Unknown Classification
Just as we’ve seen with each Halo game, there are sure to be a small number of limited enemy types. Halo 5: Guardians split the shooting time between the Prometheans and Covenant equally, as dictated by the narrative. At the end of the game, the Grunts swore allegiance to Cortana, so it is likely that they will be fought alongside Prometheans in Halo 6.
Hopefully, the next game will stop making us fight the Warden Eternal!
The Elites led by the Arbiter will be easy allies, so this would be an amazing opportunity for the Brutes to make a return to the series like in Halo 3. If the Flood do make a fateful comeback, having them bring a couple new enemy-types (or bosses) would be refreshing.
9 Tournament Time!
Recently, Halo fans were given a survey in order to assess their current impressions on e-sports. Given the time of this survey’s release, it is believed that Halo will be making a major e-sports push in its next iteration. During the development of Halo 5: Guardians, the team was fortunate to be housing their own e-sports players who acted as valued testers for the multiplayer at 343 Industries. Given the immense popularity increase of e-sports and the rise of interest in new game modes such as Battle Royale, is a very safe bet to assume that the e-sports push around Halo isn’t going away anytime soon. After Microsoft’s acquisition of Beam (now known as Mixer), they have been able to build their own platform to host viewable e-sports directly into the user interface of the Xbox One and Windows 10 computers.
8 Reed Between The Halos
In early 2017, Brian Reed, the Narrative Lead on Halo 5: Guardians stepped down from the position to the joy of many Halo fans. Reed had also acted as the lead on Halo 4’s Spartan Ops, a serial that was transformed from a game into a graphic novel series. Both of those served a vital setup to the opening of Halo 5’s campaign.
The departure of Reed from this role represents a turning point in 343’s Halo narrative direction.
It will now allow players to follow the Reclaimer Saga without transmedia attachments. With any luck, this shift in thinking will double down on the strong character development for the Chief that was established in Halo 4. Regardless of who 343 Industries chose as the new lead, they have the mother of all messes to clean up.
7 Transmedia Vision
One thing that has been discussed less, but hyped for much longer is the live-action Steven Spielberg Halo TV show. First announced in 2013, a live-action Halo series was said to be in early development. The only solid detail known about the series is that Spielberg would be serving as an executive producer. In an interview with TV Guide in January 2018, Showtime’s David Nevins claimed, “[It] is absolutely still in development, still moving forward and I’m encouraged by what we’ve seen so far.” When asked about what gamers could expect, he added that, “…it will definitely satisfy the fans of Halo.” While little is known about the show’s release date, it is a safe bet that 343 Industries would be looking to tie it into the main Halo games in some capacity. Chances are good that it will link partly with the next instalment, Halo 6.
6 Firefight To Victory
Originally released as a special multiplayer mode for Halo 3: ODST, firefight has since become a fan-favourite. Inspired by Gears of War 2’s hoard mode, firefight features waves of increasingly difficult enemies and bosses to challenge squads of players. There was even a randomized element in the game thanks to the skull bonus multiplier that forced players to dramatically edit their strategies on the fly. Bungie took firefight’s popularity and evolved it into Halo: Reach with matchmaking and greater customization options.
When Halo 4 released, 343 Industries traded the mode for Spartan Ops.
Spartan Ops was a 10-week evolving narrative with a total of 50 levels. Halo 5: Guardians incorporated the rounds of firefight into its warzone-firefight game-type. With Halo 6, many fans are eager to see the return and next evolution of their favourite co-op mode.
5 Commander Palmer Reporting For Duty
First introduced in Halo 4 and later expanded upon in Spartan Ops, Commander Palmer is the fiery and tactically minded Spartan IV, who was last seen on Sangheilios in the aftermath of Cortana’s hostile takeover of the galaxy. She’s with the Master Chief, The Arbiter, and Spartan Locke. It isn’t a real stretch to assume that Palmer could make a fine addition to the Master Chief’s squad, despite the fact that they’ve only shared a brief amount of screen time. Their relationship would likely best be served through Locke, with Palmer keeping the potential tensions between Locke and the Chief to a minimal. Palmer, meanwhile, would represent the humanity of the squad, being the one most likely to crack a joke and provide some necessary comic relief. Having a strong friendship with Lasky would also put her in a suitable role for when they inevitably find the Infinity.
4 Other Realities
When Halo 5: Guardians was shown off at E3 2015, attendees were treated to an Augmented Reality (AR) simulation of Commander Palmer walking participants through the basics of the game’s Warzone mode. This was achieved with Microsoft’s Holo Lens, a headset worn that allows users to see holographic projections overlaid on the real world.
A projected Palmer would appear just as the holograms and AI in the Halo games do.
This allowed for heightened immersion from the participants of the overview. Unfortunately, if Holo Lens will be used in conjunction with Halo 6, its ties may be in a similar vein to those of E3 2015. That’s because, at the time of writing, the commercial suite for holo lens and the development edition are valued at $5,000 and $3,000, respectively. Perhaps now would be a good time for Xbox’s foray into VR gaming.
3 Get Hyped For E3 2018
The lack of Halo announcements or reveals at E3 2017 was a major let-down for fans of the main first-person franchise. This wasn’t much of a surprise as 343 Industries had the courtesy to reveal their absence in the show a week prior to its release. Still, the fans hoping for a surprise reveal were marred with disappointment and grew even more eager to see any news on the next game. The hints that another game is coming have been growing. The most recent news of Halo 6 is that all first-party Microsoft titles, including the next Halo will be available on Day 1 through Xbox’s game service, Game Pass. The series has so much riding on Halo 6 that, at this point, the only logical next step is to reveal it with, at the very least, a trailer and release date.
2 Get Hyped For…2019?
Given their complete absence at E3 2017, it seems likely that 343 Industries will make a triumphant return to the stage in June 2018. However, given the complete silence on the next Halo game, many in the community have begun to speculate that the overall game won’t be out this fall at all. Theorists believe that they will be presenting a teaser for Halo 6 along with the announcement of a Multiplayer beta over Holiday 2018.
It is likely that 343 Industries will be revealing a side game for release this fall.
This would align with past entries as Halo 3: ODST or Halo: Reach. That newly released game would be released alongside access to another series or film and with Beta access. The transmedia push for the series makes a lot of sense for 343 to continue. With that being said, chances are slim Halo 6 won’t release until Fall 2019.
1 All About The Chief
Regardless of if there is an online 4-player co-op mode or not, the entire campaign, if played solo, will feature the Chief in the main role. This is seriously good news after he was tastelessly pushed to the side for 80% of the recent Halo 5: Guardians. Initially, it was believed that Halo 5 would swap between Locke and Chief like Halo 2, where the Arbiter had seven levels and the Chief had eight while the game’s story balanced accordingly. Unfortunately, Halo 5 favoured Locke much more, while giving neither character much room or influence on any of the main plot. As a result of fan feedback lobbied against 343 Industries’ choices, they ultimately decided to make the Chief the only playable character when played solo.