Halo 5’s Multiplayer Sounds Absolutely Glorious

Halo 5’s Multiplayer Sounds Absolutely Glorious

How do I put this politely? Halo 4’s multiplayer, I believe, systematically routed the strengths of the series, stripping it of its points of difference, leaving nothing but a weird hollow shell behind. But here’s the good news: Halo 5 appears to have seriously learned from those mistakes. In a new trailer detailing the upcoming Halo 5 beta, 343 Industries has detailed some of the mindset behind the new multiplayer and it sounds glorious.

That’s if you like the kind of Halo multiplayer experience that I like.

For reference:

— Arena style, competitive 4 v 4. — Small, well balanced maps like Lockout, Guardian, and Midship. — MLG style settings. — A stripped back weapon set that compliments this.

I mean, this is practically what 343 Industries seems to be promising with the Halo 5 beta. Most Halo games have always struggled with that compromise — balancing the Big Team Battles crowd with the competitive folks, but this beta appears to be exclusively tailored to people like me — who enjoy the frenetic, tight MLG style competition play. I think this is a good thing.

Because really, in this day and age, Halo can’t compete with Battlefield when it comes to sheer scale. It can’t compete with Call of Duty when it comes to the who upgrade/XP/levelling thing. I think it’s definitely in Halo’s best interest to focus on its point of difference: Halo has always been the strongest competitive experience on console when stripped to its core mechanics. From the above trailer it feels as though 343 Industries has really embraced that philosophy and ran with it.

One can only hope.

343 Industries has employed a number of ex-Halo pros to help with the game’s development and I wonder if this has had an impact on that direction? It certainly feels as though Halo 5’s multiplayer is headed in that direction.

And even if that type of competitive play isn’t you bag, I think it can be argued that it’s the best direction for Halo multiplayer as a whole. Halo 4 felt like an attempt to placate fans of other games, an attempt to bring the Call of Duty crowd into the fold. It didn’t work. Fans of Halo left quickly, fans of Call of Duty played… Call of Duty. I’m hoping this is a solid return to the roots of Halo multiplayer.


  • I disagree, I believe MLG doesn’t represent Halos multiplayer and they only represent their own, super niche playlist. Forcing everybody to play their way will only hurt and alienate the population.

    There are many ways to play Halo and even to play Halo competitively. Stripping away everything to cater to the 0.00000001% will only hurt the franchise.

    • Oh yeah MLG play style pisses me off
      but it’s got to be better than the hollow CoD Style they had with Halo 4…

      what a year to be a halo fan though!

    • Totally agree. 343 have done nothing good with the Halo franchise at all. They are going from one extreme to another with this decision: Halo isn’t COD and doesn’t need loadouts. At the same time, Halo doesn’t need to be stripped down to MLG pro. Please let them do away with killstreaks though. That shit is annoying as hell.

    • The problem with Halo is its fan base.

      Halo has some of the most diverse multiplayer audience going…
      People who exclusivly play SWAT, or Big Team Battle, or Oddball, or Griffball (which is now going to be a Call Of Duty mode apparently). There are people who only play vehicle maps, and those who will not go near vehicle playlists.
      It could be argued that this is one of the reasons that, despite numerous itterations & changes, Halo still finds some semblance of an audience… but to say that going to closed, tight, 4v4 games for the beta will kill off its audience is a bit premature.

      Me, I’m stoked that they’re going back to even starts…

          • First off, those were customisable, you can easily make gametypes with no loadouts or AAs.

            Second, loadouts can still be even. Creating a gametype in Reach in which you have 3 loadouts, 1 with the AR, 1 with the Plasma Repeater and 1 with the Spiker (no AAs) is still even. The stats between the weapons are just slightly different. A gametype with 2 loadouts of Rocket Launcher and Fuel Rod Cannon are still even as the RL is stronger but the Fuel Rod Cannon has more ammo and can cover larger areas.

            What you’re asking for is same starts. Where it’s essentiall 1 “Loadout” at spawn that’s already been pre-determined.

      • I have been been playing Halo from the start, and have played every single Halo game. In Halo 3, I played SWAT, BTB, and GB the most. If they remove BTB and GB, I will be very disappointed. I like Halo because it’s not like CoD, it’s like Halo.

    • Very true. I, and most of my friends, enjoy BTB, Grifball, Sniping, and SWAT in Halo games. Also, the BTB maps were big and the vehicles were fun, especially hijacking or grabbing onto an enemy tank and destroying it. Then there were the few different, but all great, forge maps. They should have 3 or 4 cool and different forge maps in Halo 5, unlike in Halo 4 where they really only had 2 that were alright for forging.

  • Yeah I haven’t been this excited since UT2004 was released haha

    honestly I played heaps of Halo 4 and I just don’t know how 343i got it wrong considering that reach was pretty damn perfect

  • I think it’s great. This can’t be the only gametype, so it’s good to see halo go back to proper competitive gameplay. Hopefully a return to the great times of Halo 2/3.

          • Actually, the gamemode is an EXACT copy of Ricochet. Literally. Ricochet was new in the fact that you picked up a ball and passed it around to team mates before scoring. You could score 100 points by going into the goal, and 50 points for throwing it in. You could also hit people with the ball and throw it to enemies so they are forced to stop shooting at you.
            EXACT COPY.

  • I think if their main focus is based around 4v4 / MLG playstyles they might lose a lot of the more casual players who will just pick it up and play a few games every now and then. I think 343 need to take a good hard look at what bungie had worked with over the years, and use a lot of that as inspiration. Personally i thought 3 and reach were near flawless games for their time and big team battle was outstanding, regardless of whether battlefield can do it on a larger scale or not.

    • I’m not a casual, and correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t actual Halo fans love every version of Blood Gulch. That is one of their most successful maps, and it is great. There’s also maps like Sidewinder, and different versions of it, and maps like Wetwork or Headlong from Halo 2. I have played every Halo game since the beginning and I loved BTB, and if they take it out completely, or make it worse by not having enough maps, I will be very disappointed. They had a good balance, and whoever wrote this article isn’t too bright, because 343 should keep that balance, not get rid of it.

  • Totes disagree. Early Halo was fun because you could pick it up and just play and not be disadvantaged by levels or only game modes that demanded high skill/precision. It had map weapons and fun game modes and not every one just DMRing from across the map. It had variety. The kinda thing you could play split-screen with non “gamer” mates. MLG style is the total opposite of that and closest halo mode to CoD.

    Stripping the weapon set is good though, way too much fluff in 4.

    • That said, it does sound like they are ditching loadouts and bringing back map weapons, which is the big thing that damaged Reach/4 imo.
      And the big 4v4 focus primarily for the beta, now I watch it again.

      I don’t want an Xbone but color me slightly interested.

    • Exactly. I like how they did it in Halo: Reach. In that game, you would only unlock cooler armor when you leveled up, and other cool things. I think they need a completely cosmetic unlocking system. They did something similar in Halo 3 where you could only unlock armor, and could only do it by doing achievements. Anyway, I like that system, and I also loved Big Team Battle and Grifball on Halo 3 and Reach, they were the main things I played in Halo 3 and 2. I think taking out BTB and GB would be a huge mistake.

  • Speaking of Halo news, The Humble Bundle store has Spartan Assault on a deep discount for it’s Daily Deal. Might not be a true Halo game, but worth a look at less than $1.50.

  • Halo fans are going to be playing Destiny. Even going so far as to call it Halo Guardians? Are you kidding me?

  • I completely agree with you mark and I feel like some of the comments on this post have misread what you are saying and are not passionate enough about the halo franchise to understand.
    Halo reach and halo 4 were far too casual for the halo franchise with their kill streak rewards and load out starts. It gave the winning side/higher levelled players a too big advantage. Console fps have enough casual titles to crash a pelican, halo 5 can still be competitive by incorporating elements of mlg into it. I highly doubt that halo 5 will have one playlist called mlg. They have merely stated that in the beta there will be 7 or so small arena type maps.
    Halo 3 was a competitive game before the mlg playlist was even added but the good thing was that anyone could kill anyone but the better team always won. The game was about map control and strategies rather than use this load out or ordinance drop now.
    What I’m trying to say is I’m excited to see what halo 5 has to offer and think 343 should have pushed for this style game when making halo 4.

  • I’m so happy.

    Note: The BETA will have a competitive focus in order to nail the core game mechanics – the full game will still ship a large range of fun gametypes.

    Think back to Halo 1 & 2. Those games had a great foundation of core mechanics, and the extra game modes were just gravy to add to the experience.

  • Notice the silence after he says “we’re going to have dedicated servers“? That’s because he says “unless you’re Australian. LOL n00bs, who cares about those guys anyway. HEY STEVE! CAN WE CHARGE EXTRA TO THE AUSSIES AS SOME KIND OF PUNISHMENT FOR NO PARTICULAR REASON? CHEERS!

  • Bring Halo back to it’s former glory. The days of Halo 2 and 3 online multiplayer. It was purely about skill and not about who wants to play the game the longest to get the best loadouts. Great move in my opinion and this could even warrant me purchasing an Xbone.

  • Is that lady’s last name Wolfkill? That’s fuckin’ hardcore as shit.

    So hey, let’s talk about Halo 5’s title for a second. Is the whole game called Halo 5: Guardians? Nobody’s going to call it that, why bother? It’s like how everyone calls Halo: Reach “Reach” and Halo 3: ODST “ODST”.
    The only case where it’s different is Halo: Combat Evolved, which everyone calls “Halo: CE” or “Halo 1” because saying “Halo” when talking in the context of the whole series can be a little unspecific and/or confusing.

    Maybe I’m just talking shit here, but I still think “Guardians” isn’t a very impressive subtitle.

    • I have also thought way too much about this too. Don’t get me started on Assassin’s Creed’s naming conventions either.

  • Ugh, this kind of shit pisses me off. They ballsed up Halo 4 and they STUCK BY IT. No matter what happened they defended their baby and rebuffed the criticism and they stuck by it their bullshit loadout/ordinance COD-borrowed systems.

    Then, all of a sudden, as they’re pimping their new game they’re all like “Halo has always been about fair starts and map control”. Fuck you 343. Such hypocrisy, such design-by-committee game development.

    • If they’d only ‘designed by committee’ at the beginning of halo 4, we wouldn’t have such pointless things as loadouts & ordinance. We would also likely have better maps. I can’t even fathom how many times Haven has been chosen over all other maps simply because it’s the fairest (with spawn location, power weapon location, choke points and team shot capability) map in the game.

      This design by committee is something clearly needed. I’m an MLG guy, I still loved reach and all of it’s irritating loadout abilities more than H4.

      I have a very very very nagging thought in my mind that the Master Chief Collection will be better than H5’s multiplayer. Unless they decide to trim the fat and return to the arcade style FPS it was in the beginning.

      God I hope they aren’t adding things like an empty weapon knife that one hit kills, a sliding maneuver, reticule bob, view recoil, or kill streaks again. (ordinance was the halo reply to kill streaks).

      Trimmed back down to reach/3/2 days is what I want, yet more new maps.

      Essentially more of the same, a’la COD wherein every game is arguably a map pack…

    • Well, 343i was created specifically to keep churning out Halo stuff. Of course they would use buzzwords like this to get people hyped up for their game. I wouldn’t be surprised if hiring “MLG pros” was a gambit to get their player base to think they’re focusing on competitive design, especially for MLG wannabes who follow MLG as gospel truth.

      • They just seem to lack identity. I kinda don’t give a shit what they do with Halo, but they should just own it. I dunno, put Chief in a completely different kind of armour, make it 3rd person, kill the Chief, don’t change a thing whatever, just have some conviction and out your own fingerprint on the series instead of being blown about by fan demands and other popular franchises.

        As it is, 343 are just pumping out frankenstien Halo creations that are a hodge-podge of other people’s work and forum dweller’s opinion. I wish they’d just make something they want to make, to hell with what MS and the fans demand.

        • Yeah, despite the fact that I don’t like 343i or the direction they’re taking the franchise, I’ve always at least said they should be doing their own thing. If they have a vision they should focus only on that, they’ll bring in their own fans and create their own community. Not half ass it with a death scene to try and trick you into thinking they’re being bold.

          They’re trying too hard to please everybody and giving in to demands. People complained about bloom in Reach? Well, some people have made positive rebuttals to those claims, so let’s put bloom into Halo 4 but not increase the spread when the reticle is expanding.
          People complained about the jetpack? Well, some people liked using it too, so lets make a shittier version of the jetpack.
          People are still complaining about AAs? Well let’s just remove them entirely, obviously they can never work.

          I noticed this immensely during the TU for Reach. Making a TU to cater to MLG, setting up a shitty “voting” period, then splitting the playlists between the two. Surprise surprise the TU playlists were often barren and the people who claimed to be breaking their Reach disc in half when Halo 4 comes out left the series and the TU playlists all together. Now the people who love Reach but want the flaws fixed are stuck with the original 2010 version with empty playlists that will never be updated again.

          • – Reduced bloom rate for the DMR, Needle Rifle and Magnum down to 85% (which is a lie as that’s the rate the bloom expands for all weapons while crouching) and a special no bloom playlist for the DMR, Needle and Magnum for MLG.

            – Removed the ability to “shred” stuck plasma grenades with Armour Lock (which only worked half the time).

            – Removed Sword Block.

            – Added bleedthrough to melee.

            – Allowed people to play the campaign with 4 players on those arcade consoles that had no hard drive (because apparently this was so important).

            Now, issues like nerfing the Banshee, Scorpion or fixing the Juggernaut gametype? Pfft, not important.

          • Well, if I knew you forgot the abbreviation I wouldn’t have to type all that stuff up.

    • No. They TRIED to take Halo in a new way that they thought would be interesting. They had NO way to communicate to us. No forums, no previous games, nothing. Also, Certain Affinity made the multiplayer, and Certain Affinity was created by a Halo 2 multiplayer designer.
      Obviously it didn’t work, so now they are reverting to the previous games.

  • Halo 4 is the first Halo I truly enjoyed the multiplayer side of. Halo 2 was good for its time. I found Halo 3 to be so god damn boring; the only good time I really had was that infection custom game on the big sand dune map. Reach was okay, I like AA although armour lock annoyed me occasionally when I went to ram someone with a vehicle. Halo 4 still felt completely like halo but enhanced. I like load outs and AA, I like ordinance drops. I like big team battles with vehicles. I like being able to take out the asshole destroying my team in the mech by using camo to sneak up and stick a grenade inside his suit. I like SWAT, I like team snipers, I like all the variation. MLG should just be another playlist people who are into it can choose.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!