Over the years there has been a major discussion in the Halo Community. Should Halo include armour and spartan abilities? This question has been asked for various reasons. Some fans feel that they destroy the core of Halo gameplay. Others feel that they work well and add an extra layer of skill to the game. It has not yet been confirmed if armour or spartan abilities will return in Halo Infinite, but with the promise of returning Halo to its roots, fans assume they won’t see these abilities in Halo Infinite. This however might not be the case. To understand how abilities would work in Halo Infinite, there must also be an understanding of their place in the Halo franchise.
The History Of Abilities In Halo
Looking back at abilities in Halo, they were officially first seen in Halo Reach as armour abilities. However, many have come to the conclusion that it was in fact Halo 3 that influenced the inclusion of abilities in Halo. Halo 3 first introduced equipment. These were a range of throw-able items that had a large range of uses. A bubble shield for example was used to protect players from incoming projectiles, whereas a Regenerator was used to heal the player. Looking at some examples, we can link them to various armour abilities that appeared in future Halo titles. The bubble shield is the easiest example, as the Halo Reach Drop Shield armour ability is near exactly the same. Armour Lock can also be closely related to a mix of both the Invincibility and Power Drain equipment from Halo 3.
Equipment also influenced some of Halo 4s armour abilities, such as the Hard-light Shield being somewhat of an evolution from the Deployable Cover, the Regeneration Field being an evolution of the Regenerator, and the Autosentry being an evolution of the Auto Turret. Some other abilities, such as Sprint and Active Camouflage, can be explained through evolving from the power ups. Active Camouflage has been in the Halo games since the beginning, so naturally it developed into an armour ability. Camouflage was also seen in Halo 3 as equipment under the name Cloaking. Sprint on the other hand, is one that players might not often make the connection to. The Custom Powerup in Halo 3 added increased movement speed, so this could be seen as a type of Sprint. Promethean Vision in Halo 4 very possibly evolved from Halo 3 ODSTs Visual Intelligence System, Reconnaissance (VISR), or the scanning ability, that would allow you to both highlight points of interest and enemies.
Moving onto Halo 5, Armour Abilities were transformed into Spartan Abilities. This change noticeably removed the choice of armour abilities and instead gave everyone the same base mechanics. Previous abilities such as sprint went from being a choice to the player to a core element of the gameplay. This was one of many changes that were made to help the game have fair starts. Like the previous games, all abilities could be turned off in the game settings and allow players to create gametypes that they preferred. With this change from armour abilities to spartan abilities, many fans are unsure if Halo Infinite will include abilities at all.
How Would Abilities Work For Halo Infinite?
There are two main ways in which 343 Industries could incorporate abilities into Halo Infinite. They could create them as Armour Ability pickups, or as core gameplay elements. The third option and perhaps the most likely is that they will do both. It has been proven in the past that it is possible to have abilities separated in both campaign and multiplayer. The Halo 5 revive system was a good example of how a gameplay element can be exclusive to one area of the game.
For the multiplayer, this may also be the case. The Halo games have in the past had dedicated areas for social play and ranked play. It is likely that there will also be dedicated areas for both classic and modern gameplay within Halo Infinite. A place in which fans of both types of gameplay can come together and enjoy the game. Much like in Halo 5, Halo Infinite would likely have an option to turn off these newly added abilities. It would also be likely that due to this option, players would each have their own section of online multiplayer matchmaking.
Setting aside how the matchmaking options would work, the question still remains on how the abilities would work in gameplay. It is a high possibility that Spartan Abilities will still remain in Halo Infinite, however, the number of abilities are expected to be reduced. Ground Pound, Spartan Charge and Clamber are the three elements most likely to be removed in Halo Infinite. Sprint, Thrust and Smart Scope are all abilities that are expected to remain. These abilities could feature in a “Modern Halo” playlist in which fans of these abilities can play, whilst those who dislike the abilities can stick to a “Classic Halo” playlist.
Armour abilities could also play a part in the game along with Spartan Abilities. Much like how equipment worked in Halo 3, or how powerups have worked in the entire Halo series, armour abilities could all be picked up on the map. It has previously been tested in Halo Reach, with various armour abilities such as evade being map placed pickups. This has proved to work very well and is a way of including abilities whilst also keeping the game fair and balanced. Players fighting over powerups on the map could be handled the same as Power Weapons are. A timed respawn and limited uses are a couple of ways of adding balanced armour abilities into Halo multiplayer.
The balance of a Halo experience with abilities and a Halo experience without abilities is something that 343 Industries must deliver on. The Halo fan base is divided nearly 50% each way, so if 343 Industries want to win over all fans, they must first make a game that caters to both Halo styles. Would you like to see the return of abilities in Halo Infinite? Do you think Halo Infinite can succeed by only following one type of Halo style? Let us know on the Gaming Instincts Twitter and keep up to date on Halo at Gaming Instincts.