Looking at Microsoft’s game library over the last three console generations, few titles (if any) are as iconic as the Halo games. Starting with Bungie’s Halo: Combat Evolved on the original Xbox, the series has dominated the conversation in terms of Xbox console exclusives, pushing forward Xbox Live and online multiplayer in general. Boasting balanced gameplay, a variety of game types and a strong community, the multiplayer component of the Halo games has consistently been the most important to the series. Halo 5: Guardians, the most recent game in the series, continued that tradition by delivering the series’ best multiplayer experience to date. Although that experience was lacking in key fan-fave features and modes at launch.
Since Halo 5’s launch in October 2015, developer 343 Industries has consistently supported and expanded the Halo 5 multiplayer component. Soon after the game was released, the developer released a free update that added “Big Team Battle,” the popular 8 vs 8 game mode missing from the game’s launch, to the multiplayer offerings, along with new weapons and maps. The developer later added Halo 2‘s Battle Rifle to the game, a favorite weapon among longtime fans.
343’s most recently announced addition to Halo 5 is Warzone Firefight – a PvE (Player vs Environment) mode originally introduced in Halo 3: ODST. Taking advantage of the excitement of the Halo World Championship 2016 Finals, the developer debuted the first footage from the new game mode (above). The upcoming addition looks to utilize the scale of Halo 5‘s Warzone multiplayer to provide the largest cooperative experience ever seen in the Halo series.
The new Firefight allows up to eight players to fight together against five increasingly difficult waves of enemies, all while racing the clock to complete certain objectives. While those objectives haven’t been revealed, the developer confirmed that they will be dynamic, making each round of Firefight feel just a little bit different than the previous.
The mode boasts the most on-screen enemies in the history of the franchise, including a new tier of “Mythic” boss characters said to be more powerful that the Warden Eternal. Firefight will give players full access to the REQ system, allowing players to summon their entire arsenal of weapons, vehicles, and armor mods to aid their teammates and survive the enemy waves.
Though the developer did not announce the official release date in the trailer, the new mode has a launch window of summer 2016.
Firefight offers a nice break from the competitive multiplayer modes of the Halo series, keeping the multiplayer gameplay feeling fresh. It’s absence was strongly felt in Halo 4 and 5 where 343 tried to replace it with the less-than-stellar Spartan Ops mode. Bringing the mode back in Halo 5 is a smart move by the developer and expanding the player count to eight promises some of the most frenetic action in the series. Hopefully it will be enough to make up for the issues with Warzone and the REQ system and can draw players back into the game a few months before the big 2016 fall releases hit,
Halo 5: Guardians is available now on Xbox One. Warzone Firefight will be available in Summer 2016.