2019 was filled with exciting reveals for fans across the globe, including a somewhat lengthy cinematic trailer for the coveted Halo Infinite — a game that will see a reappearance of the Master Chief in all his Covenant slaying, Flood crushing, Promethean annihilating glory. A reignition of fan-favorite multiplayer game modes may also be featured, such as Slayer, Capture the Flag, Headhunter, and more. However, one game mode that should make its triumphant return—and hasn’t seen action since Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach—is Firefight.
This cooperative mode has players work together to fend off waves of enemies in an ultimate battle for survival, like the renowned Horde mode in the Gears of War franchise. The more waves players conquer, the more difficult enemies become, until the onslaught is intense enough that survivors want to toss aside their Spartan armor and curl up in a dark, abyssal corner.
The foundation of most multiplayer combat is a strong sense of teamwork and cooperation. Players synergize to the best of their ability while also bringing their formidable skills to the forefront of competitive matches to achieve dominance. Firefight, despite being a mode designed to hunt AI opponents instead of enemy players, is the perfect realm for Spartans to practice their tactics as a team.
Having a rigorous arena in which teams can test their synergy without the distraction of opposing players can go a long way in forming a cohesive unit. Firefight is the place for teams to assess new strategies and minimize their flaws, learning which players’ skills complement each other before putting their feet to the fire. Withstanding the brutal ravages of inexhaustible foes up through the higher echelons of overwhelming barbarism will yield telling results for teams to take their favored strategies against one another in Halo’s other fast-paced multiplayer action.
If 343 Industries wishes to bring a true sense of synergy to multiplayer in Halo Infinite, reintroducing Firefight and borrowing a few rules, modifiers, and mechanics from the franchise’s previous iterations—as well as Horde mode in Gears 5—will be a promising way to implement cold, calculated, efficient teamwork.
Alternatives to Competitive Grinding
Multiplayer modes like Firefight allow players to take a break from the endless slog of grinding competitive matches by offering a more immersive alternative. Instead of constantly dealing with an online community in which toxicity can often blur the lines between friend and foe, cooperative-based modes provide less stressful experiences for players to engage in multiplayer without sabotaging the leveling system and still letting them earn in-game currency to purchase items or upgrades.
Beyond the avoidance of toxicity for those who have a low tolerance for such acrimony, Firefight would give a simple change of pace for players who tire of playing the same competitive modes. Gamers could use Firefight as a way to wind down or regain expended energy required to compete online. If 343 Industries gives fans the opportunity to continue leveling and earning in-game currency through a cooperative mode of this nature, everyone will be able to play Halo Infinite their own way.
Firefight would implement an additional means of immersion in the Halo universe beyond the confines of the game’s campaign. Whether working together to battle against Covenant forces, the Flood, Brutes, or Forerunner technology, players can stay grounded in the distant future’s ferocious warfare by continuing to tackle enemies native to the Halo universe. Fighting opposing Spartans is fantastic, but is also not in keeping with Halo’s general theme: Spartans and humans warring with aliens… with the occasional rogue alien ally.
Spartans, unless in a controlled, simulated training environment, don’t tend to shoot each other to bits or damage each other’s equipment, especially if one is familiar with the plethora of books set in the Halo universe. Thus, getting together to fight against alien opposition that seems limitless would extend an olive branch to those fans who enjoy delving deeper into the lore of their favorite science fiction and fantasy universes. From the billowing smoke of earth-charring explosions to the sulphurous cauterization of singed armor and depleted shields, fans always love feeling like they are in their most beloved universes.
The best way to perfect one’s skills in competitive gaming is to keep throwing one’s self into online matches against other players of equal or better ability. However, gamers can also enhance their talents through modes like Firefight, picking a specific skill on which they wish to focus before jumping back into the meticulous insanity of competitive engagements. Trying new tricks is paramount to improving one’s capabilities, augmenting one’s repertoire.
Firefight would be a focal point for practice making perfect, or at least permanent. Whether standing solo or with a group of friends or unlikely allies, players can spend time working on their survival, proclivity for tactical assessment, and general ability to fight against bleak odds and come out victorious.
General Learning & Nostalgia
Outside the campaign, Firefight could serve to teach novice players the ropes, permitting them to get their feet wet in an online environment, with other Spartans there to watch their backs as they work on their rudimentary skillset. This learning opportunity provides two benefits, one for the novice players and one for seasoned veterans: Novices get the chance to improve, and veterans will have to spend less time trying to carry novices in more competitive spheres.
Moreover, the nostalgia Halo veterans would feel when participating in Firefight would bring more players flocking to Halo Infinite’s already-massive following. There are few things experienced gamers love more than reliving a riveting action experience from their childhood, or earlier gaming years. Nostalgia is a spark that ignites in the hearts and minds of all gamers, fueling the adrenaline that courses through them when they participate in something that reminds them of their exciting times from days past.
Couple the learning opportunity for novices with the nostalgia that grips veteran players, and Firefight would be a welcome resurgence to Halo Infinite and the Halo franchise in general.
With the release of the Xbox Series X now less than a year away, Xbox fans are chomping at the bit to get their hands on the next-gen console’s exclusive, first-party titles, including Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II. If 343 Industries and Xbox Game Studios want Halo Infinite to bring the Halo franchise and Xbox family back to glory, the companies will need to implement as many unique and captivating features as possible in the game.
The success of Gears 5 and its cooperative and competitive elements indicates Xbox Game Studios has the capacity to capitalize on popular franchises by taking familiar gameplay and revitalizing it in fresh, enrapturing ways. Halo Infinite has already promised to bring fans more of what they’ve wanted from the series since Halo 5: Guardians—a refocus on Master Chief. Thus, extending that olive branch to all types of gamers (solo players to competitive enthusiasts) would be a natural step in the right direction.
Hopefully, Halo Infinite lives up to the hype, and if the cinematic trailer released in 2019 is any indication, the franchise will herald in a new, fascinating era for gaming. If 343 Industries has the industrious predilection to exploit the excitement of loyal fans, reintroducing Firefight to the franchise would be one of many correct moves.