Ever since Halo: Combat Evolved made its first appearance on the original Xbox in 2001, the series has been a smash success. The flagship franchise was Microsoft’s first foray into the gaming market and it ushered in a new era for shooters. Bungie’s Halo games, in particular, are regarded as classics of the genre. In the early 2000s, Halo brought gameplay innovation to a genre bogged down in clunky GoldenEye knock-offs. The few gems out there — anything Valve released — were few and far between. Anybody with a working TV and original Xbox back in the day must have fond memories of Capture The Flag matches on Blood Gulch. When Bungie ceded creative control to 343 Studios, many fans were alarmist and thought it was the death of the franchise. The poor performance of Halo 5 (and its well catalogued missteps) didn’t provide much confidence going forward.
Now with Halo 5 a couple years behind us, we can look forward to Halo 6 and what it all means for the franchise going forward. With Halo 6 notably absent from E3 this year, there have been scant rumors. Microsoft and 343 are staying tight-lipped. But we’ve been able to scrounge up some of the most promising and most thrilling rumours about Halo 6. This ain’t your old message board fodder— we’ve come up with the top possibilities and theories for Halo 6 based on what its creators have let slip. Here are the top 15 rumours for Halo 6.
15 Back To Basics - Halo 3 As A Blueprint
After two games under their belt, 343 Industries have learned their biggest lesson— and that’s to go back to Halo 3 as a blueprint for a successful franchise. Although they have their own story to tell and they probably won’t be returning to the narrative elements of Halo 3, it’s safe to say 343 will seek to emulate what made Halo 3’s combat and campaign such a standout success. Some of the features rumored to return are a classic Halo playlist, ODST’s firefight mode, and split-screen. Not to mention Master Chief will play a prominent role again. Back when Bungie made Halo 2, their ethos was: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Looks like 343 has finally learned the same. Let’s hope they’re not simply cashing in on the nostalgia rememberries everybody seems to be eating up these days.
14 The Real-World Military Is Excited
Here’s a big one: Lan Support is coming back. That water cooler gossip has recently been confirmed by 343 too, so it’s not only a rumour anymore. Players will once again be able to play offline with their friends. Needless to say, the real world military is excited at the prospect as they don’t always have an internet connection in the remote corners of the world when they're trying to get their Halo on. Microsoft’s insistence on online-only gaming proved not to be popular move, with some believing that decision helped cause the big dips in Halo 5 sales. With the threat of profits dropping, Microsoft and 343 are now quite happy to give players what they want. Halo 6’s return to form is welcome to just about everyone.
13 CONFIRMED: Welcome Back REAL Co-OP
Multiplayer split-screen is coming back! Along with LAN support, this rumor has been confirmed as true. It’s a good thing too. Multiplayer without split-screen is like a tennis match with only half a court. A major complaint about Halo 5 was the lack of split-screen. Why 343 thought it was a good idea to remove split-screen is anybody’s guess. They claim it was the hardest decision they ever had to make as a studio. There must have been many graphic and practical issues that forced their hand, but somebody should have been in the room to warn them that the lack of split-screen was a death kiss. Sure enough, Halo 5 underperformed. Halo 6 won’t be making the same mistake and we couldn’t be more thrilled.
12 Get Hyped: It’s Coming Next Year
By this time next year, you could be booting up Halo 6 on Xbox or PC. Halo games are released like clockwork; Halo 5 dropped in October 2015, and by that math, Halo 6 is most likely coming out in 2018. Halo 6’s absence from E3 this year gave some people cause for concern, fuelling rumors that the game won’t see shelves for quite some time. But if we’ve learned anything from Microsoft, they drop Halo games like Spartans in a battlefield, whether they’re ready prepared or not. Hopefully, they stick to their promise and release the game in-full while giving fans everything they crave. Right now, there’s no reason to expect a delay. 343 Industries knows how to crank out a game now. The wait should be shorter than ever.
11 It’s Not Exclusive To Xbox
Get ready to play Halo 6 with your PC buds! Like Gears of War 4 allowed crossplay between PC and Xbox One, Halo 6 is rumored to allow the same multi-platform gaming. This rumor has legs, too. Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, teased us with the possibility of cross-platforming during an interview with PC Gamer. When asked if there was any reason Halo 6 could not be released on PC, Spencer said, “not at all.” Considering Microsoft has already made cross-platform headway with Gears 4, it’s almost guaranteed they will do the same for Halo 6. Bonnie Ross’s comments about trans-media also mean they are open to exploring all avenues. From a business perspective, why wouldn’t they want to give players every chance to play Halo on a Microsoft system?
10 Halo’s Best Mode Is Coming Back
One of Halo’s best campaign modes, Firefight, is back on the scene. A fan favourite since its launch in Halo 3: ODST and also appearing in Halo: Reach, Firefight Mode lets up to four players cooperate in a wave-based mode over Xbox Live. Personally, my fondest memories of Halo are playing this repeatable mode while increasing the difficulty with a bunch of friends over Xbox Live. Why Microsoft would strip away features instead of keeping the favourites and adding news ones is mindboggling. In keeping with this article’s theme— which easily could be called Hard Lessons Learned By 343 Industries — Firefight Mode is making a triumphant return. Get ready to play side-by-side with your pals again in Halo 6. With LAN and Split-screen coming back, there’s little doubt you can play Firefight Mode in the same room.
9 The Best Graphics Of Any Game EVER
Say what you want about Halo 5 (and this article has already said a lot), but its graphics are drool-worthy. And that’s in an era oversaturated with good-looking games. It stands to reason that Halo 6 is going to be another revolutionary step up in the graphics department, which would easily make it the best looking game of all time. Blur Studios is a pioneer in cutting-edge cinematics. With higher budgets and more developer experience, Halo 6 will warrant the price tag simply for its gorgeous aesthetics. Halo 6’s no-show at E3 this year is promising— it hints that 343 and Blur Studios are cooking up the best possible dish rather than serving up something half-baked. Eat your heart out, Pixar.
8 They Promise: The Game Will Be Complete At Launch
Okay, this one is the biggest stretch. What should be a given— that a game will be complete at launch — has proven to be pipe-dream for many in this age of DLC and micro-transactions. Halo 5 launched with many facets of the game still seemingly in development. With massive lag issues and an incomplete multiplayer mode that relied on further patches and updates to be complete, Halo 5 wasn’t a finished product when it landed in 2015. Developers nowadays seem to be more concerned with hitting their target date rather than releasing a solid, finished game. Yes, fans get annoyed when games are delayed, but I’m sure we can all agree that we want a complete game rather than a rushed one. They promise it’ll be different this time, baby, they’ve changed; Halo 6 will be complete at Launch. We hope so, but we’ve been hurt before.
7 No More Stupid Side Characters - Master Chief Is Back
When Halo 5 dropped, longtime fans of the series were quick to criticize the storyline of the main campaign because players split their time between Master Chief and Spartan Locke. Although many found Spartan Locke interesting as a character, he doesn’t beat the iconic poster boy of the Halo universe, our beloved Master Chief. The result was a miscalculated and underwhelming plotline. 343 acknowledges this error as one of the biggest lessons from Halo 5— and they’re not eager to repeat it. Halo 6 will put Master Chief back in the proverbial driver’s seat of the warthog. Although the writers are keeping tight wraps on the narrative, we can be sure that Master Chief will play a central role like the good ‘ol days.
6 They’re Going To Make Us Say Good-Bye
A major rumor making the rounds is that someone major is going to be written off. There’s no bigger titan to fall than Master Chief himself. Although this rumor spreads every time there’s a new Halo game coming out, it makes perfect sense if you think about it. Halo 6 will mark the end of 343’s trilogy, and like every epic trilogy, they’ll want to go out with fireworks. The end of a trilogy closes an entire arc. Some characters will never come back. Another possibility is that Cortana will die— and for realsies this time. With the shocking twist of Halo 5, Cortana is obviously being set up as the villain for Halo 6. Whether or not she’s made a deal with the devil remains to be seen, but it very well may cost her soul.
5 Six Seasons And A Movie
It looks like Halo 6’s lore will span multimedia. Although we already have books, films, and comics appending the canon Halo universe, 343 has hinted that Halo 6 will stick to point A to B storytelling with supplemental media on the side. Bonnie Ross stated in an interview that, “while we love our transmedia, sometimes I do think we tell a bit too much story in our games. You know when you have a gun and aliens shooting at you, it is kind of hard to digest a lot of story.” Translation: the writers got too ambitious and players couldn’t follow. Deep lore divers can satisfy their Halo cravings with other media that will drop at the same time as Halo 6. What that trans-media might look like is anybody’s guess (comics? animations? mobile games?)
4 Is The Future Of Halo AR?
Back in 2015, Xbox wowed E3 with The HoloLens Experience, an Augmented Reality exhibit of Halo. Lucky attendees enjoyed a 3D tour of a UNSC ship. By all accounts, it was an amazing and immersive experience, providing a glimpse into the possible future of gaming. The HoloLens creators specifically chose Halo because of the subject matter of its universe. Ever since the first game in 2001, Halo’s storyline has included facets of augmented reality, such as Cortana. That makes Halo the obvious choice to herald in this new generation of AR. With Halo 6, 343 Industries has confirmed that the possibilities of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are on the table. Although Halo 6 won’t be completely an AR experience, it could lay the groundwork for future titles.
3 Halo 6 Is Going To Kill The Xbox
Another massive rumour going around is that Halo 6 may be exclusive to Xbox One X and High-End PC. If this proves true, there’s no telling the real-life carnage it would cause. A quick glance at message boards shows that fans don’t really think this will come to pass but some fans are shaking in their spartan-issued boots. The idea that Microsoft would limit players to Xbox One X and PC seems ridiculous at first, but Microsoft isn’t above forcing players to bend to their whims. They have no problem making people play online or cutting out key features when they think it will suit their profits. Nintendo also famously jettisoned the Wii U when it flopped, but they still included Breath of the Wild for Wii U players. Hopefully, Microsoft will do the same.
2 What Destiny Should Have Been
Halo 6 has the potential to be everything Destiny wasn’t (and what Halo 5 wasn’t). Many beloved multiplayer modes aren’t available in Halo 5. With Halo 6, 343 Industries has the potential to take inspiration from some of the best multiplayer modes out there now, like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. A Battle Royale type of multiplayer match would be a erfect fit for Halo 6. Not only would it satisfy longtime fans who have been craving that old school Halo multiplayer, it would fulfil the promise of what Destiny 1 should have been. Halo 6 is in the perfect place to be the hero we were promised.
1 Is Arbiter The New Master Chief?
With Halo 6 going back to its roots, you can expect The Arbiter to play a centric role. 343 Industries is afraid to stray too far with new characters so Thel Vadam is likely to be a main player in Halo 6’s storyline. The developers have announced there will be no new playable characters, meaning The Arbiter could be playable.
It’s possible that if Master Chief bites it, The Arbiter will fill the void and become the new Master Chief for the franchise going forward. The Arbiter is practically the second chief already. While this might seem unbelievable, hopefully The Arbiter will be one of the main characters in Halo 6’s Firefight Mode. Either way, Master Chief and The Arbiter have a bond nobody can deny.