Recently, it was discovered that Halo developer 343 Industries "is looking for a Senior Producer to work with our Core Services team to help develop a new project in the Halo universe," according to a job listing.
With Halo Infinite coming later in 2020 and Head of 343 Industries Bonnie Ross expressing a desire to "tell different stories through different genres," it seems incredibly likely that this new Halo project will be a spin-off title. Here are some possible directions that we think this upcoming game might take.
Halo Wars 3
One rather obvious possibility is that the new project will be another Halo Wars game, most likely Halo Wars 3. Considering that Halo Wars 2 was generally well-recieved by critics and fans alike, the idea of Halo going back to the RTS genre for a third iteration isn't that hard to believe. The off-to-the-side nature of Halo Wars makes telling exploratory narratives easier as well, which is something that we know 343 Industries wants to accomplish.
In terms of what the gameplay would look like, I think we would end up with something similar to Halo Wars 2, except with more strategic and tactical depth so that the game would be more appealing to hardcore RTS fans. Considering space combat was also considered for Halo Wars 2 at one point, it's likely that we would see that introduced as well.
LEGO-style Mega Construx game
Something a lot of Halo fans don't know is that back in the early 2010s, a LEGO-style Mega Bloks game (codenamed Haggar) was being developed by the studio N-Space for the Xbox 360 as part of a partnership with 343 Industries and Mega Bloks. Unfortunately, the project was canceled in 2013, and in 2016, N-Space shut down.
A year after this, gameplay of the project leaked online, and 343 Industries released an official statement confirming that "Haggar had a lot of fun ideas and invention behind it, but ultimately didn't progress beyond the early prototyping levels that are shown in the recent video."
The reason I think 343 Industries might try and revitalize this project for modern systems is because of how explosively positive the Halo community's reaction was to the leaked gameplay footage. Countless fans took to social media platforms to express their love of the idea and disappointment about the game's cancelation. When you consider how far along the original project looked, 343 Industries would probably have an excellent foundation to work off of if it decided to give Mega Bloks Halo (now rebranded as Mega Construx) a second attempt. It would also be a fantastic way to introduce younger audiences to the franchise.
A grounded, gritty shooter
Ever since the release of Halo 3: ODST, the general Halo fan base has been interested in a Halo shooter that takes a more grounded approach. ODST showed just how immersive and intense Halo could feel when you're stealthily traversing the war-torn streets of a Covenant-infested city as a normal trooper instead of saving the galaxy as a supersoldier in thick, shielded armor. Considering the fact that the fan base's interest in this type of approach hasn't gone away over the years, it's possible that a new Halo spin-off may finally go all-in on this idea.
As for what the game may be like, I suspect that it would take inspiration from ODST and put you in the shoes of a Marine. The ability to jump high and rip turrets off of their mounts would be removed, and instead the gameplay would feel weighted and slower — perhaps like Metro Exodus. Survival mechanics and design choices such as limited ammunition, status effects, and more could be implemented, too, and if the Flood end up entering the fray, we might have a survival-horror Halo game on our hands.
Some type of mobile experience
There's a good chance that the upcoming project may also be a mobile game. Between Gears POP! and Forza Street, Microsoft has been carrying some of its biggest Xbox IPs into the mobile market. Considering the fact that Halo is Xbox's flagship franchise, it's not a stretch to think it's the next series in line to make its way to your smartphone.
It's also worth pointing out that Halo has already appeared on app stores twice already. The topdown shooters Halo: Spartan Assault and Halo: Spartan Strike were both released years ago on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone (press F to pay respects) devices. While they're currently not for sale anywhere except on PC, their original release on mobile does highlight that Microsoft is willing to put Halo on phones.
A Halo MMORPG
The canceled Mega Bloks project wasn't the only Halo game to never see the light of day. Back between 2004 and 2007, Ensemble Studios was developing a Halo MMORPG, codenamed Titan, which was meant to compete with World of Warcraft. Though the project was never completed and Ensemble Studios shifted its focus to developing the original Halo Wars, it did lead to many Halo fans expressing interest in the concept of a Halo MMO.
Considering the MMO market is a space Microsoft isn't competing in at all right now, there's a fair chance that it may be looking to break into it with Halo. After all, Halo's universe is deeply rich in terms of scale, detail, and lore — all three of which are vital pillars that any MMO setting needs.
Admittedly, this would be quite an ambitious endeavor and I imagine that if it were the case, 343 Industries would need to partner with one or multiple studios. That being said, I really want it to happen, as I think it would be an incredible new angle to appreciate Halo from. The idea of a Halo game where you can choose to be a UNSC or Covenant soldier (Spartans and Elites, respectively) and then engage in a gargantuan open universe filled with PvE and PvP opportunities with your friends sounds phenomenal.
What do you think of the ideas I presented here? Is there another type of spin-off that you think is more likely to happen? Let me know.
If you're looking to hop into the Halo universe now, make sure you check out the Master Chief Collection on Xbox One and PC. It gives you all of the pre-Xbox One era Halo shooters in one place for an awesome price, making it an immensely valuable purchase.
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