Building the Ultimate Halo Game

WEAPONS

Aiming
Dual Wielding
Customizable Weapons
Weapon Attributes

Aiming

Nothing really needs to change much at all in terms of how players aim their weapon, and the general “feel” of aiming the weapons (e.g., the degree of turn acceleration) and how moving your characters and firing the weapons affects one’s aim would be more in tune with Bungie-era Halo.

Mechanically, aiming would be similar to “traditional” Halo. For example, as in every game in the series except Halo 4, when a player takes damage while zoomed in with a scoped weapon it would knock them out of zoom. Finally, “aim down sights,” a common fixture in modern FPSs, would not be utilized. However, I would not be averse to certain scopes mimicking the aesthetics of ADS as Halo 5 does, while at the same time behaving like aiming has always done in Halo, i.e., no hip fire penalty or accuracy bonus for zooming in (though unlike Halo 5 not all weapons would have zoom capability in this game). Mainly, the “Smart Scope” feature would apply to Covenant weapons, which emitted holograms instead of having true scopes; this would serve to keep them more distinct from the more traditional “smart-link” sights of previous games, which would continue to be used for most UNSC weapons.

There are some aspects of aiming that need to be addressed, though. Aim assist (which comes in two flavors: sticky aim/reticle magnetism, which is the tendency of your crosshairs to “gravitate” towards an enemy, and bullet magnetism, which adjusts the trajectory of your rounds slightly) should be no more than what is necessary for the game to play properly. With sufficiently accurate weapons, there wouldn’t be a need for large amounts of it to keep the player’s shots on track, though there is a necessity for at least some aim assist as most weapons would be useless without it (seriously, start a custom game, have you and a friend go on the same team, seriously try fighting each other; you’ll see how necessary aim assist is). Levels of aim assist would be appropriate for the type of weapon in question. Overall, levels of aim assist would be no higher than in Halo 1, Reach, or H2A. Also, reticle magnetism would be tweaked to reduce or prevent instances of targets running in front of and past your targets causing your crosshair to get yanked away from who you are shooting.

Reticle bloom is a feature introduced in Reach which I would include in this game. It is a visual feedback mechanism present on weapons with rate-of-fire-dependent accuracy, which has typically been a factor that applied to most of the automatic weapons in the Halo series. For many weapons, accuracy degrades with sustained rapid fire, and this would be indicated by an expanding reticle. The larger the reticle becomes, the worse a weapon’s accuracy gets. For example, the AR would have a maximum shot spread of 0.5 degrees when its reticle is completely contracted, but when it is fully expanded that number increases five-fold. I am personally a big fan of this feature, as it is a valuable feedback mechanism. However, as precision weapons (e.g., the DMR) would no longer have ROF-dependent shot spread, bloom would no longer apply to them and would be relegated to automatics. As in Reach, crouching would reduce bloom slightly by causing the reticle to reset a bit faster.


Dual Wielding

I’ve always considered dual wielding to be an overall bad and completely unnecessary addition to gameplay. It resulted in several weapons that were originally good single-wield weapons being reduced to mere “half-guns” that had questionable efficacy when not used in conjunction with another dual-wieldable weapon. While it was a major selling point of Halo 2, it was de-emphasized in Halo 3, where more emphasis was placed on single-wield weaponry, and was eliminated entirely in all subsequent games except Halo 2 Anniversary. This game would continue having dual wielding omitted, and all weapons would be single-wield only.

However, if dual wielding were to be included (and that would be a huge “if”), I would only apply it to handguns. While a single handgun might not be quite as effective as a single-wield weapon, they could be extraordinarily powerful if you were carrying two. It would also serve to keep the M6 and Mauler distinct from their respective counterparts (DMR for the former, shotgun for the latter; the plasma pistol is already differentiated from the plasma rifle due to it being semi-auto and having the overcharged shot). So, in the end we’d have just three dual-wieldable weapons: one with precision and headshot capability, one with anti-shield and stun capability, and another that’s designed for close-quarters combat. That provides more than enough combos to leave weapons like the plasma rifle, SMG, and Needler single-wield.

As for other aspects of dual-wielding, I think if you swap from your dual-wield combo to your other weapon, you shouldn’t drop one of the two duals. They would both be holstered, one on each leg. However, it would still require that you drop your left-hand weapon or swap to your slung/holstered weapon to throw grenades, since you would need a free hand to do so. Furthermore, you wouldn’t be able to zoom in even if the weapon is usually capable of doing so, since you would of course not be able to look through two different scopes or sets of sights at the same time. I’m still undecided on whether the player should still drop his left-hand weapon to melee. On one hand, I don’t see any reason why you can’t pistol-whip someone when holding a handgun in each hand. On the other hand, it could be considered unbalanced if the player could also melee in addition to having doubled firepower.


Weapon Variants  & Specialized Ammo Types

A new feature I would add would be the ability to modify certain weapons beyond their default attributes. This would be something simple, like non-standard attachments or the ability to utilize special types of ammunition, but I think it’d add some more depth to gameplay.

As for how this feature gets utilized by the player, it would likely be something similar to how Halo 5 does it, with each weapon having variant models with special attributes. For example, there might be a variants of individual weapons with special attachments that are non-removable, e.g., a magnum with a scope but no silencer, one with a silencer but no scope, and a bare-bones magnum with neither that serves as the base model. There could also be weapons with specialized ammo types. Both Halo 5 and Halo Online utilize a system similar to this.

By having fixed weapon variants one can avoid having to add any complex UI elements or control schemes like the one seen in the Crysis series, which allows players to manually swap out attachments on the fly via an in-gameplay menu. Also, having non-removable attachments keeps any individual weapon variant from being too flexible and generalist, thus discouraging players from becoming too reliant on a single weapon, and there should never be a “one gun to rule them” all situation. As a general rule, weapon variants would be harder to come by, much like power weapons are. For example, advanced variants of Covenant weapons would be found only in the hands of very high-ranking units or on the battlefield in some out-of-the-way supply cache. Note that, unlike in Halo 5, not every weapon will likely have a variant.

For balancing reasons, and to avoid cluttering the game with excessive variants, weapons can support only one optional attachment (excluding scopes), even if they aren’t logically exclusive (e.g., a silencer combined with an extended magazine). However, a weapon can combine any attachment with any ammo type, assuming it supports both.

Here is a partial list of common attachments and special ammo types that I would likely include:

1. Suppressor/Silencer

Compatible weapons: Pistol, SMG, BR
Ability: Reduces audibility of the weapon. User does not show up on the motion tracker when firing while standing still or moving slowly. Active camouflaged players do not de-cloak or show up on radar when firing. Effective range is reduced.

2. Extended Magazine

Compatible weapons: Pistol, AR, SMG, BR, DMR
Ability: Increases magazine capacity and maximum ammo by 50%.

3. Grenade Launcher

Compatible weapons: AR, BR
Ability: Fires a fragmentation grenade at moderately high speeds that detonates on impact. Players can switch between thrown grenades and the grenade launcher by holding the grenade toggle button. For balancing reasons, grenadier variants are not compatible with other attachments and cannot use special ammo types. The grenade launcher would have the following characteristics (see next section for details regarding weapon stat entries):

Damage: 120 (blast) + 30 (impact damage)
Blast Radius: 6 m
Accuracy: 0° + ballistic arc
Rate of fire: 1 round/2 sec
Projectile Speed: 75 m/sec
Ammo Capacity: single-shot
Max. Ammo: 6 grenades
Damage Modifiers: same as frag grenade (see below)

4. “Shredder” Rounds

Compatible Weapons: AR, SMG, BR, DMR
Ability: Fragmenting JHP rounds inflict 50% extra damage to organic targets (excluding Hunter armor). Inflicts normal damage to all other targets.

5. Incendiary Rounds

Compatible Weapons: AR, SMG, BR, DMR
Ability: Inflicts 50% extra damage to mechanical targets (e.g., vehicles and Forerunner constructs). Inflicts normal damage to all other targets. Can ignite Grunt methane tanks.

6. Improved Battery

Compatible Weapons: Plasma Pistol, Plasma Rifle
Ability: Increases maximum battery capacity by 50%. Usable only by standard models.

7. Improved Heat Sink

Compatible Weapons: Plasma Pistol, Plasma Rifle
Ability: Reduces cool-down time from overheating by 30%. Usable only by standard models.

If I come up with ideas for other attachments or ammo types, I’ll add them, but generally there would be fewer loadout weapon variants than in Halo 5 to eliminate redundancy and avoid cluttering up the REQ system.

 

Weapon Attributes

Entry Key

Damage: The base amount of damage, in hit points, the weapon inflicts per hit (or per second, for certain weapons). For explosive weapons, this is the maximum damage, which is inflicted at the center of the blast. Damage does of course drop with distance away from the blast center. Damage curves will be explained and shown in Appendix IV.

Blast Radius: For explosive weapons, the blast radius in meters.*

Fuze Length: For grenades, how long it takes to explode once armed.

Accuracy: The maximum amount of shot spread a weapon has, in degrees. Weapons with rate of fire-based shot spread are given a range of shot spreads; the lower number is the maximum spread for when the reticle is fully contracted, while the higher number is the maximum spread for when the reticle is fully expanded. Unless otherwise noted, weapons with shot spread will have a shot pattern approximating a Gaussian distribution, much like the AR or shotgun in Halo 1. For reference purposes, one degree of shot spread will result in a pattern with a maximum possible diameter of approximately one meter at a range of 30 meters, and for purposes of comparison, in Halo 1 the pistol had a shot spread of 0.2° while the shotgun’s was 10°.

Rate of Fire: How quickly the weapon fires, in rounds per second. Assuming  a 30fps frame rate, divide 30 by the rate of fire to determine how many frames are between each shot (e.g. a RoF of 3 rounds/sec would mean each shot is 10 frame apart).

Projectile Speed: The velocity of the weapon’s projectiles, in meters per second.*

Ammo Capacity: For weapons not powered by a battery, the maximum number of rounds a magazine, etc., can hold. Weapon variants equipped with the extended magazine attachment have 50% greater magazine capacity.

Max. Ammo: For weapons not powered by a battery, the maximum amount of ammunition the player can carry for the weapon, including both spare ammo and what is actually in the weapon (e.g., the AR’s max ammo is 192 rounds — 32 rounds in the in-use magazine and 160 spare rounds/five spare magazines). Weapons equipped with the extended magazine attachment have 50% greater maximum ammo.

Battery Life: For battery-powered weapons, the maximum number of shots a fully-charged battery can provide before depleting.

Overheat Rate: For battery-powered weapons, how long it takes for the weapon to overheat (assuming heat gauge is at zero).

Stun: For plasma weapons, how much the weapon stuns the enemy.

Sights: The default scope or sights a weapon has, if any, and its degree of magnification.

Other Features: Any other special attributes the weapon possesses, e.g., headshot capability**, or alternate ammo types.

Damage Modifiers: Any damage penalties or bonuses a weapon may possess. Modifiers apply for the standard ammunition type for weapons with multiple ammo types. See Appendix I for a fuller explanation of damage modifiers. Note that “Player Shields” and “Player Health” includes the shields and health of the Elite character in Campaign, though NPC Elites have their own modifiers. Human NPCs also take damage to health like the player does. “Sentinel Armor” modifiers apply to Enforcers and Constructors as well.

*Note: Most Halo games (Halo 1, Reach, Halo 4, & H2A, at least) used “world units” or “distance units,” which were approximately equal to 3 in-game meters, for the standard unit of length. I simply translated the distance unit figures I have for H1’s weapons back into meters.

**Note: As in previous Halo games, headshots can only be inflicted on an enemy whose shields are down or are sufficiently weak that the weapon’s damage bleeds over to the target’s health (i.e., a headshot to an enemy with only 5 HP of shields from a headshot-capable weapon that inflicts 15 HP of damage would kill them).


Handguns

NOTE: All stats for the handguns assume that they are all single-wield only. Certain stats (mainly damage, rate of fire, and/or accuracy) might change somewhat if dual wielding is retained. All handguns would have somewhat quicker melees than larger weapons.

1. M6 Pistol

Damage: 14 (M6C & M6C/SOCOM)
        30 (M6D)
Accuracy: 0.5°
Rate of Fire: 3.75 rounds/sec
Projectile Speed: hitscan
Ammo Capacity: 12 rounds
Max. Ammo: 72 rounds
Sights: none (M6C)
        2x smart-link scope (M6D & M6C/SOCOM)
Other features: Headshots kill instantly
Damage Modifiers: 
                  Player Health: 140%
                  Jackal Shield: 0%
                  Hunter Armor: 20% 
                  Flood Flesh: 150% 
                  Sentinel Armor: 25%
                  Light Vehicle Armor: 10
                  Heavy Vehicle Armor: 5%

Notes: This particular iteration of the pistol would be the M6C from Halo 2, albeit balanced for single-wield use. It would be a reasonably effective sidearm, though not so effective that the average player would want to default to it. It would be capable of inflicting damage at a decent rate (with the stats I’ve assigned them, it would actually be slightly more powerful in damage-over-time terms than the BR and DMR). However, it would lack a scope and thus would not be capable of zooming in, and would have less accuracy than other headshot capable weapons. Generally speaking, it would be outclassed at medium to long ranges by other headshot capable weapons like the BR and DMR, plus its small magazine size means the player can at best manage only two kills before having to reload (or three kills if equipped with the extended magazine variant). To compensate for this, it would have a faster reload time than other larger weapons.

The pistol would also have two unique variants: the silenced M6C/SOCOM from ODST and the infamous M6D from Halo 1. The former would obviously be focused on stealth, and would be a natural complement to the SMG for missions where you’d want to sneak around more efficiently. The latter would of course remain the powerful hand cannon it’s known as, including retaining its trademark three-shot-kill (if the third shot is a headshot, of course).

Thehttps://i0.wp.com/www.halopedia.org/images/thumb/6/65/M6C_SOCOM_r.png/325px-M6C_SOCOM_r.png M6C/SOCOM would be a mid-tier loadout weapon more on the level of the base model DMR, while the M6D would, due to its extreme firepower, be treated as a power weapon instead of a standard loadout weapon, just like it is in Halo 5 Warzone.

2. Plasma Pistol

Damage: 16 (normal fire; standard model)
        20 (normal fire; Void's Tear)
        70 (overcharged shot; standard model)
        100 per second (overcharged shot; Void's Tear)
Accuracy: 0° (+ homing for overcharged shot)
Rate of Fire: 5 rounds/sec
Projectile Speed: 150 m/sec (normal)
                  60 m/sec (overcharged)
Battery Life: 150 shots (normal)
              10 shots (overcharged)
Overheat Rate: same as in Halo 1
Stun: 0.133 sec
Sights: 1.5x holographic sight
Other features: Overcharged shot
Damage Modifiers (normal fire):
                  Player Shield: 125%
                  Player Health: 75%
                  Elite Shield: 150%
                  Hunter Armor: 30%
                  Hunter Flesh: 60%
                  Sentinel Armor: 200%
                  Vehicle Armor: 10%
Damage Modifiers (overcharged):
                  Player Health: 60%
                  Player Shields: 200%
                  Elite Shields: 300%
                  Jackal Shields: 400%
                  Hunter Armor: 30%
                  Hunter Flesh: 50%
                  Sentinel Armor: 200%
                  Vehicle Armor: 10%

Notes: The plasma pistol would once again become a reasonably effective anti-personnel weapon, functioning almost identically to how it did in Halo 1. Instead of the anemic little plasma bolts from Halo 2 & 3, the normal shots would once again be capable of causing significant damage. While the plasma pistol would not be quite as strong as most other common weapons, it wouldn’t be useless as a killing tool. Perhaps the stun effect from Halo CE, which caused an enemy’s movement speed and turn radius to decrease significantly, would return as well to compensate for the weapon’s relatively slow time-to-kill.

The plasma pistol’s overcharged shot would of course remain and effective shield-breaker, but, like in Halo CE, it would also be capable of causing significant damage to a target’s health (note that bleed-through would not apply to charged shots). The charged shot’s EMP effect for vehicles would be retained, but reduced a bit, perhaps no longer than two seconds; this would be largely depending on the charge shot’s tracking capability. Their tracking would also be like it was in Halo 1. If the tracking is too good, you could end up with situation like in Halo 2 where the charged shots never missed what they tracked. Halo 3 had the opposite problem, with the charged shot having negligible tracking and requiring a somewhat difficult-to-get lock-on, which is also something I’d try to avoid as the charge shot shouldn’t be completely useless. With the offensive capabilities closer to the Halo 1 version, the plasma pistol would be a versatile, effective, standalone weapon that is outright deadly in the right hands.

The plasma pistol would have an advanced variant similar to the Void’s Tear from Halo 5. The standard fire would inflict a bit more damage and would have a special physics impulse that drags weapons and grenades to the user. But more notably its charged shot would detonate on impact into a swirling gravity vortex lasting about 1 to 1.5 seconds. The vortex would produce persistent area-of-effect damage, have a continual EMP effect against vehicles, caught within it, would would have a black hole-like effect on nearby objects subject to normal game physics, pulling in players, weapons, and other objects before blasting them outwards with an explosion-like physics impulse, which would not cause any direct damage but could hurt players with collision damage from any objects or debris thrown about. In Campaign the vortex would also cook off any grenades upon detonation. To better differentiate its fire from the standard model, perhaps it’s shots could be a more distinctive violet color instead of green.

Other possible variants could include one similar to the Spitfire, being considerably more powerful, having a quicker charge time and enhanced EMP effect for the overcharged shot, and taking longer to overheat. Another possibility would be a “Brute plasma pistol.” It would, like the Brute plasma rifle before, be red and fire red plasma bolts that do more damage, but more notably the overcharged shot could, instead of being a shield-breaker and having an EMP effect against vehicles, set targets on fire, inflicting damage like an incendiary grenade.

3. Mauler

Damage: 5 to 100 (6 per pellet × 20 pellets per shot)
Accuracy: 10°
Rate of Fire: 3 rounds/2 sec (1.5 rounds/sec)
Projectile Speed: 600 m/sec
Ammo Capacity: 5 shells
Max. Ammo: 25 shells
Sights: none
Other features: enhanced melee damage (+5 to base)
Damage Modifiers:
                  Player Shield: 60%
                  Jackal Shield: 0%
                  Hunter Armor: 10%
                  Flood Flesh: 150%
                  Sentinel Armor: 50%
                  Light Vehicle Armor: 10%
                  Heavy Vehicle Armor: 5%

Notes: The Mauler wouldn’t change appreciably from how it functioned in Halo 3. It has less accuracy than the shotgun (due to its shorter barrel, for purposes of the fiction), inflicts less damage (with the stats above it would require 40 pellets, or two perfectly-placed close range shots to kill an enemy with full shields & health in MP), and generally lacks the overall firepower and effective range of the shotgun. However, it fires and reloads much faster, and the blade on the handle would give it enhanced melee damage. The Mauler-melee combo, a popular attack in Halo 3, would not be as effective since not only would the melee lunge likely be removed but it would under most circumstances be incapable of killing an opponent in MP who has full shields and health (though it would still be very dangerous). The Mauler-melee combo would only be capable of killing a foe who’s at 100% if the player lands the full blast and then follows it up with a jumping melee. In fact, taking into account damage modifiers, the player may wish to strike with a melee first and then fire the Mauler, which would likely prove a more dangerous attack than shooting first and then meleeing.


Automatics

1. MA5 Assault Rifle

Damage: 12
Accuracy: 0.5° to 2.5°
Rate of Fire: 10 rounds/sec
Projectile Speed: 900 m/sec
Ammo Capacity: 32 rounds
Max. Ammo: 192 rounds
Sights: none
Other features: none
Damage Modifiers: Elite Shields: 75%
                  Jackal Shield: 0%
                  Hunter Armor: 20%
                  Hunter Flesh: 60%
                  Flood Flesh: 75%
                  Light Vehicle Armor: 10%
                  Heavy Vehicle Armor: 5%

Notes: The AR would be at least as accurate as its Reach incarnation, with extremely low shot spread when firing in short, controlled bursts. It’d be the same old “spray” but with a lot less “pray.” It’s still a primarily close-quarters weapon, but could still be capable of effective suppressive fire at mid-range.

The AR would be one of the more flexible loadout weapons, capable of accepting most attachments and all special ammo types. It would also be one of only two weapons capable of using the grenade launcher attachment, the only attachment that is itself a weapon.

2. Plasma Rifle

Damage: 12
Accuracy: 0.1° to 0.5°
Rate of Fire: 10 shots/sec
Projectile Speed: 150 m/sec
Battery Life: 200 shots
Overheat Rate: 2.5 sec @ max. ROF
Stun: 0.067 sec
Sights: none
Damage Modifiers:
                  Player Health: 50%
                  Player Shield: 150%
                  Elite Shield: 200%
                  Hunter Armor: 20%
                  Hunter Flesh: 50%
                  Sentinel Armor: 200%
                  Light Vehicle Armor: 10%
                  Heavy Vehicle Armor: 5%

https://i0.wp.com/www.halopedia.org/images/thumb/4/44/H2A_T25DER.png/300px-H2A_T25DER.pngNotes: The plasma rifle would be as formidable as it was in Halo 1, if not more so, due to certain upgrades. One thing I never liked about the H1 version of the PR is that there was substantial shot spread with sustained fire (the maximum shot spread was 5°), which hardly makes sense given that its relatively slow projectiles require a substantial amount of leading to hit a target past close range. Therefore, shot spread would be reduced considerably for this version.

The plasma rifle would have two variants. The first would be the familiar red-colored Brute plasma rifle. It would have a faster rate of fire (15 rounds/sec) but overheat more quickly. The second variant (perhaps named “Stinger” or “Vespin’s Sting”) would have the same damage and accuracy as the base model, but would take longer to overheat and its shots would have a stun effect like the Halo CE version of the plasma rifle, as well as a higher velocity.

3. M7S Submachine Gun

Damage: 5
Accuracy: 0.8° to 4°
Rate of Fire: 20 rounds/sec
Projectile Speed: 600 m/sec
Ammo Capacity: 60 rounds
Max. Ammo: 360 rounds
Sights: 1.5x red-dot sight
Other features: none
Damage Modifiers: same as Assault Rifle

Notes: When I first wrote this article, I had conflicting ideas on how to differentiate the SMG from the AR. Halo 2 & 3 do it by making it a dual-wield weapon. Halo 3: ODST gives it a silencer and a scope, which the AR lacks. And Halo 5 gives it greater damage over time than the AR, but significantly less accuracy. As mentioned earlier, I don’t particularly support dual wielding as a concept, nor am I too keen on the idea of an SMG being more lethal than an assault rifle. Therefore, I would tend to go more towards ODST’s solution of the SMG being silenced by default. In fact, it would be the only automatic weapon capable of being equipped with a silencer. In fact, I would likely have all SMG variants equipped with a silencer. And of course the SMG would be able to zoom in, unlike the AR.

While the SMG would deal slightly less damage over time and be considerably less accurate than the AR (recoil would be removed, though), it would have nearly double the magazine capacity of the AR, allowing the player to deal out more damage overall before having to reload.

So, the stealth aspect, default zoom capability, relative lack of variants, and sheer volume of firepower would be the main means of keeping if from being totally redundant against the AR. Generally, the SMG would be treated as a slightly higher-tier loadout weapon than the base model AR.

4. Spiker

Damage: 18
Accuracy: 0.2° to 1° (+ ballistic arc)
Rate of Fire: 7.5 rounds/sec
Projectile Speed: 180 m/sec
Ammo Capacity: 24 rounds
Max. Ammo: 168 rounds
Sights: none
Other features: Enhanced melee damage (+5 to base)
Damage Modifiers:
                  Jackal Shield: 0%
                  Hunter Flesh: 80%
                  Flood Flesh: 80%
                  Light Vehicle Armor: 10%
                  Heavy Vehicle Armor: 5%

Notes: While the Spiker wouldn’t have the versatility or fast-moving projectiles of the AR, the stealth capacity of the SMG, or the anti-shield and stun abilities of the plasma rifle, it would have more raw power than all three. Though the spikes are relatively slow (only about 20% faster than a plasma rifle bolt), they would inflict a substantial amount of damage, so a player with good aim and leading skill could kill an enemy quicker than they could with an AR or PR. Its magazine capacity would be cut in half to balance the increase in per-shot power. Also, the Spiker’s dual bayonets would give it higher melee damage than the AR or PR. Finally, the spikes would still ricochet off of hard surfaces and would exhibit a ballistic arc flight path (i.e., the spikes fall over distance).

Possible variants of the Spiker could be one that fires projectiles capable of penetrating through multiple soft targets. Another could have projectiles that cause additional burn/bleed-out damage over time as long as they’re lodged in the target.

5. Needler

Damage: 10 (needle)
        100 (supercombine)
Blast Radius (supercombine): 2 m
Accuracy: 4° (random spread) + homing
Rate of Fire: 8 rounds/sec (standard & Talon of the Lost)
              10 rounds/sec (Hailstorm)
Projectile Speed: 30 m/sec (standard & Talon of the Lost)
                  37.5 m/sec (Hailstorm)
Ammo Capacity: 22 needles
Max. Ammo: 95 needles
Sights: 1.5x holographic sights
Other Features: "Supercombine" capability
Damage Modifiers (needle):
                  Jackal Shield: 0%
                  Hunter Armor: 20%
                  Flood Flesh: 120%
                  Light Vehicle Armor: 10%
                  Heavy Vehicle Armor: 5%
Damage Modifiers (explosion):
                  Jackal Shield: 150%
                  Elite Shield: 200%
                  Hunter Armor: 20%
                  Hunter Flesh: 50%
                  Flood Flesh: 300%
                  Sentinel Armor: 400%
                  Light Vehicle Armor: 20% (standard & Hailstorm)
                                       80% (Talon of the Lost)
                  Heavy Vehicle Armor: 10% (standard & Hailstorm)
                                       40% (Talon of the Lost)

Notes: This version of the Needler would combine aspects of the Halo CE and Halo 5 versions. As in both of those games, it would take seven Needles to create a “supercombine” explosion. Like in Halo CE, sustained fire would be capable of producing multiple supercombines in a single target.

The needle velocity and tracking would be closer to the Halo 5 version. The degree with which the needles homed in on targets seemed good enough in Halo 1, based on the apparent turn radius, but at a sluggish 12 m/sec, the needles moved too slowly. Other versions of the Needler had faster projectiles but iffy tracking. But the Halo 5 version feels perfect.

Finally, unlike every game from Halo 2 onward, the “supercombine” would no longer be instantly fatal to most enemies, that is unless of course the target is weak enough to die from the damage (according to this post at Bungie.net, it inflicted about the same damage as a rocket in Halo 3, thus explaining its lethality). While it would instantly kill enemies in multiplayer (unless they have an overshield), many of the tougher enemies could survive a single supercombine. This means that complacent players who are used to spraying short bursts of pink death at Elites and Brutes will have to get used to burning through more needles.

The Needler would have a two advanced variants functionally identical to the “Hailstorm” and “Talon of the Lost” from Halo 5. The former would have a higher rate of fire and improved needle velocity and tracking. The latter would be capable of supercombining in vehicles and the needles would remain in the target longer, giving the user a better opportunity to create a supercombine.

6. M739 Light Machine Gun/Squad Automatic Weapon

Damage: 12 (standard)
        25 (anti-materiel variant)
Accuracy: 0.2° to 1° (+ recoil)
Rate of Fire: 15 rounds/sec (standard)
              10 rounds/sec (anti-materiel variant)
Projectile Speed: 900 m/sec
Ammo Capacity: 75 rounds
Max. Ammo: 225 rounds
Sights: none
Other features: none
Damage Modifiers: Same as Assault Rifle (standard model)
                  Hunter Armor: 40% (AM model only)
                  Vehicle Armor: 40% (AM model only)

Notes: I was always puzzled as to why the UNSC had for the longest time lacked any sort of LMG or SAW type weapon when such weapons are ubiquitous in real-life infantry units. It was probably either oversight on Bungie’s part or they just never felt the need to have one (though some concept art for Reach did show Spartans carrying around a SAW-like weapon). 343i rectified this by giving us the M739 Light Machine Gun, known simply as the SAW. Canonically, even though it wasn’t first seen until the events of Halo 4, the M739 SAW was apparently introduced into service prior to the war against the Covenant.

Like in Halo 4 & 5, the SAW would basically be a “Super AR.” Due to its very large magazine capacity, better accuracy, and faster rate of fire, it would be devastating in close quarters and even highly effective at medium range when using short, controlled bursts. Furthermore, its sheer volume of firepower far outclasses any other automatic weapon. Its massive 75-round drum magazine would take five seconds to deplete even at the SAW’s 15 rounds-per-second rate of fire, and that high magazine dumps out up to 900 HP worth of damage (minus modifiers) in that five seconds. It would be one of the most utilitarian “power weapons” in the game and would be a valuable find. However, this power and large magazine capacity would be balanced by having a long reload time.

There would be a variant of this weapon similar to Halo 5’s “The Answer” variant. It would have substantially greater per-shot damage and damage-over-time than the standard SAW (though a slower rate of fire), plus it would be far more effective against armored targets.


Rifles (Non-automatic) & Other Long Guns

1. M392 Designated Marksman Rifle

Damage: 16
Accuracy: 0.05° (random spread)
Rate of Fire: 2 rounds/sec
Projectile Speed: hitscan
Ammo Capacity: 15 rounds
Max. Ammo: 90 rounds
Sights: 3x optical scope (default)
        4x/6x "Longshot" scope (optional)
Other features: Headshots kill instantly
Damage Modifiers:
                  Player Health: 150%
                  Elite Shields: 125%
                  Jackal Shield: 0%
                  Hunter Armor: 20%
                  Flood Flesh: 125%
                  Sentinel Armor: 20%
                  Light Vehicle Armor: 20%
                  Heavy Vehicle Armor: 10%

Notes: This iteration of the DMR would function almost identically to the DMR from Reach. The DMR is the best-performing mid-range weapon in the series since Halo 1’s M6D pistol, and I prefer it over the random, inconsistent burst-fire BR from Halo 2 & 3. However, it has always been a tad too effective in close quarters, so in order to keep it from encroaching on automatics, its overall damage output over time would be reduced. With the stats above, it would have a minimum kill time of 2 seconds, longer than nearly any other weapon in the game. It makes up for this by having by far the best accuracy of any mid-range weapon. At longer ranges it’s superior to everything besides sniper weapons.

In regards to the Halo fiction, while the DMR was exclusively an Army weapon after being phased out of service in the Marine Corps in 2548 (though re-introduced by 2557), it’s presence would be justified by the facts that A) the rebels at the beginning of the game would be using a mix of Marine and Army gear, and B) the defense of Earth in the later stages would involve both the Marines and the Army.

The DMR would have a unique “Longshot” variant equipped with a high-powered two-level zoom scope. This would give the DMR even longer reach, though still far short of what the sniper rifle is capable of.

2. BR55 Battle Rifle

Damage: 6.5 (per round; up to 19.5 for full 3-round burst)
Accuracy: 0.1°/0.2°/0.3° (1st, 2nd, & 3rd round, respectively;
          all w/ random spread)
Rate of Fire: non-standard, see below
Projectile Speed: hitscan
Ammo Capacity: 36 rounds
Max. Ammo: 216 rounds
Sights: 2x optical scope
        4x "Marksman" scope
Other features: Headshots kill instantly
Damage Modifiers:
                  Player Health: 140%
                  Elite Shields: 120%
                  Jackal Shield: 0%
                  Hunter Armor: 20%
                  Flood Flesh: 125%
                  Sentinel Armor: 20%
                  Light Vehicle Armor: 20%
                  Heavy Vehicle Armor: 10%

http://www.halopedia.org/images/thumb/3/37/H2A_-_Battle_rifle.png/800px-H2A_-_Battle_rifle.pngNotes: Because some people prefer its burst-fire action over the semi-auto fire of the DMR, I’d bring back the BR as well. Their different fire modes allow them exist side-by-side without them being too redundant, and they seem to coexist fine in Halo 4 & 5. While the 3-round burst’s potential for partial hits makes it less reliable against shielded targets (no matter how good your aim is, you can never guarantee all three rounds will land 100% of the time), the fact that only one of those three rounds needs to hit to score a headshot kill multiplies its effectiveness against unshielded enemies greatly.

The BR would be less accurate than the DMR and its default scope would have less zoom, thus giving it a lower effective range, but it would be more powerful than the DMR in terms of damage over time, giving it the edge at closer ranges. Because of the nature of its burst fire, it has an unusual rate of fire. When firing at max ROF and assuming a 60 fps frame rate, each round in a burst would be separated by five frames, giving the entire burst a 13-frame duration, with a 13-frame gap between bursts. As it would take 12 rounds to kill, this gives it a minimum kill time of 1.5 seconds, almost exactly between that of the AR (1.2 sec) and DMR (2 sec). If it proves necessary to reduce the duration of the burst to improve consistency (assuming a simple adjustment to the accuracy parameter doesn’t work), then the gap between bursts would be adjusted to maintain a constant damage-over-time for the BR.

Aside from being able to use special ammo types and extended magazines, it would be the only precision weapon capable of using the grenade launcher attachment. Additionally, there would be a variant with a unique 4x “Marksman” sight, which, while not quite as good as the “Longshot” DMR, would still provide greater range than the default scope. Also, unlike the DMR, the BR could be equipped with a silencer. Overall, the BR would rival the AR in terms of number of variants.

3. Needle Rifle

Damage: 12
        100 (Needle rifle supercombine)
Blast Radius (supercombine): 2 m
Accuracy: 0.15° (random spread)
Rate of Fire: 3.75 rounds/sec
Projectile Speed: hitscan
Ammo Capacity: 21 rounds
Max. Ammo: 126 rounds
Sights: 2x holographic sights
Other Features: Headshots kill instantly
                "Supercombine" capability (Needle rifle only)
Damage Modifiers:
                  Jackal Shield: 50% (Carbine)
                                  0% (Needle rifle)
                  Hunter Armor: 20%
                  Flood Flesh: 125%
                  Light Vehicle Armor: 20%
                  Heavy Vehicle Armor: 10%
Damage Modifiers (Needle rifle supercombine): same as Needler

https://www.halopedia.org/images/d/d0/H2A_T51Carbine.pngNotes: While the Covenant Carbine is an iconic weapon, I always felt it functioned too similarly to UNSC weapons. Sure, it’s purple and alien-y looking and fires green bullets, but it’s magazine-fed and needs to be reloaded, just like the BR, with which it shared the same niche. At least in Halo 2 & 3, the BR was burst fire, so the Carbine had a little something to distinguish itself by, but in Halo 4 where the Carbine and DMR exist side-by-side, it comes across as a bit redundant. While Reach’s Needle rifle was also a magazine-fed weapon, its ability to produce supercombine explosions made it even more distinctive from its UNSC counterparts than the Carbine. While, I would much rather have just the Needle rifle, the Carbine is kind of an expected weapon now, so I’d instead have them both in the game.

The Carbine itself would not be changed considerably. While being semi-auto just like the DMR, its higher rate of fire, lower damage, lower accuracy, and reduced zoom make it a more “spammy” weapon.

The Needle rifle meanwhile would change a bit, likely being made functionally similar to the “Blood of Suban” Carbine variant from Halo 5, thus making it more of a mid-tier power weapon. Unlike the Reach version of the Needle rifle, this version can supercombine in shielded targets, taking five shots to do so, with the supercombine explosion being identical to the Needler’s.

4. SRS 99D AM Sniper Rifle

Damage: 100 (standard)
        150 (anti-materiel variant)
Accuracy: 0°
Rate of Fire: 1.5 rounds/sec
Projectile Speed: hitscan
Ammo Capacity: 4 rounds
Max. Ammo: 24 rounds
Sights: 5x/10x scope
Other features: Night vision (usable only when zoomed in)
                Headshots kill instantly
                Penetrates lightly-shielded/unshielded infantry
Damage Modifiers:
                  Jackal Shield: 0%
                  Elite Shield: 150%
                  Hunter Armor: 20%
                  Hunter Flesh: 200%
                  Flood Flesh: 5%
                  Sentinel Armor: 20%
                  Light Vehicle Armor: 25% (standard variant)
                                       40% (AM variant)
                  Heavy Vehicle Armor: 15% (standard variant)
                                       25% (AM variant)

Notes: The sniper rifle would only experience a few small changes to its basic functionality. It would retain the slower rate of fire it had in Halo 3 and Reach. The shots would still be able to punch right through most enemies and keep going (they would also ignore any kind of helmet protection any enemy may have, making it an insta-kill against helmeted enemies), damaging anything else that might be behind them. However, this would only happen if the shot hit an enemy with light shields (<100 hit points worth of shielding) or no shields. If a shot cannot break a shield, it would be stopped by it. The shots would also not penetrate more heavily armored targets like Sentinels, Hunters, and vehicles.

I would also re-add the night vision ability from Halo 1. The night vision can be rendered nearly useless by sufficiently bright lights, particularly sunlight.

The sniper rifle would have an advanced anti-materiel variant that would use high-explosive incendiary rounds instead of the standard armor-piercing rounds. In addition to inflicting more base damage than the standard rounds (a single round will kill an enemy Spartan in MP regardless of where it hits, that is unless they have an overshield), just like regular incendiary rounds they would do extra damage to vehicles.

5. Focus Rifle

Damage: 180 per second
Accuracy: 0°
Rate of Fire: continuous beam
Projectile Speed: hitscan
Battery Life: 15 seconds of fire
Overheat Rate: 2 seconds of continuous fire
Sights: 2x/8x scope
Other features: Thermal vision (usable only when zoomed in)
Damage Modifiers:
                  Jackal Shield: 50%
                  Hunter Armor: 10%
                  Flood Flesh: 50%
                  Light Vehicle Armor: 10%
                  Heavy Vehicle Armor: 5%

Notes: While the beam rifle is essentially a re-skinned sniper rifle that was battery powered and overheated (just like a plasma weapon) instead of having a detachable magazine and requiring reloading, the focus rifle introduced in Reach is a far more distinct weapon, functioning like a Sentinel beam that’s equipped with a sniper scope (in fact, according to the fiction it was developed by reverse-engineering the Sentinel beam). For this reason, I’d pick the focus rifle over the beam rifle as the Covenant sniper weapon. The only obstacle towards having the focus rifle as the Covenant sniper weapon in the this game is the issue of fiction, as the focus rifle apparently wasn’t introduced until 2552, and as mentioned the story would start at least a year or two before that. However, Halo 4 had a different model beam rifle that was in canon cataloged 23 years before the model seen in Halo 2 & 3, so this focus rifle could simply be a slightly older & different model as well.

In any case, it would be tweaked a bit from how it functioned in Reach. First off, it would receive an increase to its damage. Given how it functions, I feel it is too weak in Reach as compared to the sniper rifle. It should take not much more than about 50% longer to kill an enemy with continuous fire as it would to kill an enemy with two sniper rifle rounds.

Other changes would be giving its scope different magnification levels than the sniper rifle, which would further differentiate the two. Also, instead of night vision, it would have thermal vision. Both are good for dark places, though the thermal vision’s ability to detect heat sources gives it different strengths and weaknesses. For example, enemies or running vehicles are more well-defined (oranges, yellows, & reds against the colder blue background) and it can see through fog or even detect camouflaged enemies, but certain enemies won’t show up (the insect-like Drones, for example, as they are presumably cold-blooded) and anything sufficiently hot, such as a large fire, can effectively blind it. Finally, the scope would also have a range indicator like the sniper rifle’s, though in Covenant script.

The focus rifle would have an advanced variant with improved anti-armor capabilities. The damage modifiers would be adjusted to where it inflicts twice as much damage against vehicles, Hunter armor, and Sentinels than the base model does.

6. M90 Shotgun

Damage: 18 to 270 (18 per pellet × 15 pellets per shot)
Accuracy: 7°
Rate of Fire: 1 round/sec
Projectile Speed: 480 m/sec
Ammo Capacity: 6 shells
Max. Ammo: 30 shells
Sights: none
Other Features: none
Damage Modifiers:
                  Player Shield: 50%
                  Jackal Shield: 0%
                  Hunter Armor: 10%
                  Flood Flesh: 150%
                  Sentinel Armor: 50%
                  Vehicle Armor: 5%

Notes: The shotgun would have the same magazine capacity it had in Halo 3, Reach, and Halo 4, but otherwise it would function very similar to how it did in Halo 1. It would fire 15 pellets per shot, with the pattern retaining the same Gaussian distribution from H1 (as opposed to Halo 2’s “donut spread” or Halo 3’s random distribution). However, to keep up with the rest of this game’s accurized arsenal, the maximum spread would be reduced noticeably from the usual 10 degrees. The damage done per pellet would no longer drop with distance (it ranged from 25 to 18 to 8 damage points per pellet in Halo 1). Since the shotgun would be more accurate than before, I chose the middle value as the single invariable damage figure. It would do less damage up close than before, though the damage is still more than enough to put down many enemies in Campaign or an opponent in multiplayer with one well-placed shot within a few meters.


Heavy Weapons

1. Rocket Launcher

Damage: 250 (SPNKr rockets)
        150 (homing missiles)
Blast Radius: 6 m
Accuracy: 0°
Rate of Fire: 1 round/2 sec
Projectile Speed: 45 m/sec (SPNKr rockets)
                  75 m/sec (homing missiles)
Ammo Capacity: 2 rockets
Max. Ammo: 8 rockets
Sights: 2x scope
Other features: Enhanced melee damage (+10 to base)
                Homing missiles (special ammo type)
Damage Modifiers:
                  Hunter Armor: 60%
                  Flood Flesh: 200%
                  Sentinel Armor: 40%

Notes: The rocket launcher would function almost identically to how it did in Halo 1. The rate of fire is the same, the reload speed would be as slow, and the rockets travel at about the same speed. The rockets would also be incapable of homing in on vehicles.

However, homing rockets would be retained, being assigned to a variant model rocket launcher. This variant’s rockets would perhaps be something more similar to the missiles fired by the Halo 3 Missile Pod. These missiles would inflict much less damage than the standard rockets and have a smaller blast radius, making them far less effective against infantry; however, they would fly faster. Also, they would lock on to vehicles in the same fashion as the Halo 2 rocket launcher and have a similar degree of tracking.

2. Fuel Rod Gun

Damage: 120
Blast Radius: 4.5 m
Accuracy: 0° + ballistic arc
Rate of Fire: 1 round/sec
Projectile Speed: 75 m/sec
Ammo Capacity: 5 fuel rods
Max. Ammo: 20 fuel rods
Sights: 2x scope
Other Features: Enhanced melee damage (+10 to base)
Damage Modifiers:
                  Jackal Shield: 200%
                  Elite Shield: 160%
                  Hunter Armor: 40%
                  Flood Flesh: 200%
                  Vehicle Armor: 50%

Notes: The fuel rod gun would retain the same appearance and functionality (i.e., magazine-fed, same RoF) it had in Halo 2, 3, & Reach, but the projectiles would behave more or less like they did in the first game, having comparable speed and the same ballistic arc trajectory. Unlike in Halo 2 & 3, where the projectiles had a slight homing ability when used by NPCs, the standard model FRG would not have any homing ability in this game.

A possible variant model would be one similar to the Pool of Radiance from Halo 5. It would fire projectiles with a similar effect to incendiary grenades, setting targets on fire with a direct hit and leaving a pool of flames on any surfaces they hit. The radius, damage, and duration would likely not be quite as high as the incendiary grenade’s, but would otherwise have the same basic effect. This model would have a reduced rate of fire from the basic model.

Another variant would combine aspects of the Plasma Launcher from Reach and the Hydra from Halo 5 (because I really like the Hydra). Instead of firing fuel rods, it would instead fire plasma micro-missiles. It could lock onto targets (both infantry and vehicles) in the same fashion as the Hydra, perhaps with similar tracking and projectile velocity, but like the plasma launcher its projectiles would stick to the target, detonating about one to two seconds later.

3. Concussion Rifle & Brute Shot

Damage: 60
Blast Radius: 3 m
Accuracy: 0° + ballistic arc
Rate of Fire: 1.5 rounds/sec
Projectile Speed: 60 m/sec
Ammo Capacity: 6 rounds
Max. Ammo: 24 rounds
Sights: none
Other features: Enhanced physics impulses (Concussion Rifle)
                +15 HP to melee damage (Brute Shot)
Damage Modifiers:
                  Flood Flesh: 300%
                  Hunter Armor: 50%
                  Sentinel Armor: 40%
                  Vehicle Armor: 50%

Notes: While I am also considering the Brute Shot as the small-scale “grenade launcher” type explosive weapon used by the Covenant, the functionally near-identical concussion rifle is a more versatile solution as it allows a weapon that can utilized by both Brutes and Elites. From a story perspective, Halo: Reach suggests that Brutes used concussion rifles when working alongside Elites, but other canon sources show the Brute shot in regular use by the Jiralhanae prior to the events of Halo 2. Halo Wars shows it was in use during the Harvest campaign, and its official designation suggests it was cataloged in 2525, which makes it one of the first Covenant weapons encountered by the UNSC.

The concussion rifle would be more or less functionally the same as its Halo Reach incarnation, including the ability of its shots to project more force against enemies and objects than other explosives. It would be primarily used by higher-ranking Elites, most commonly Ultras.

Meanwhile, the Brute Shot would be essentially treated as a variant of the concussion rifle despite the two not looking anything alike (the concussion rifle was essentially a replacement for the Brute shot anyway, so…). While it does not have the enhanced physics impulses of the concussion rifle, its massive bayonet would provide a tremendous boost to the player’s melee damage. It would only be used by Brutes of Captain rank or higher.

4. Spartan Laser

Damage: 400 (80 per pulse × 5 pulses per shot)
Accuracy: 0°
Rate of fire: 3-second charge time + cool-off period
Projectile speed: hitscan
Battery Life: 4 shots
Overheat Rate: 1 shot
Sights: 2x scope
Other features: Overpenetrates targets
Damage Modifiers:
                  Hunter Armor: 50%

Notes: The laser cannon would function pretty much identically to how it always has. Instead of a single blast, each laser shot would consist of five distinct pulses fired in five consecutive frames. This means that it is capable of grazing shots: if only one pulse catches the target, it may fail to take it out, though it would still inflict a decent amount of damage. It also means that the player can “sweep” the shot, potentially damaging or killing targets that are side-by-side.

5. Railgun

Damage: 250 (direct hit)
        80 (splash damage; standard model)
        150 (splash damage; Whiplash & Arclight)
Blast Radius: 2 m (standard)
              3 m (Whiplash)
              4 m (Arclight)
Accuracy: 0°
Rate of Fire: 1.5 second charge time
Projectile Speed: hitscan
Ammo Capacity: single-shot (standard model & Arclight)
               2 rounds (Whiplash)
Max. Ammo: 10 rounds
Sights: 1.5x smart-link scope
Other features: Enhanced physics impulses
Damage Modifiers:
                  Elite Shields: 150%
                  Hunter Armor: 40%
                  Vehicle Armor: 20%

Notes: This hard-hitting weapon is perhaps my favorite new weapon in Halo 4. It would function essentially the same as it did in that game. It would be somewhat more effective against vehicles, though. In addition to direct hits on a target causing tremendous damage, it would have a small amount of splash damage if it hits any terrain or structures.  As in Halo 4’s Campaign and in Halo 5 in general, the railgun will automatically fire about 1 to 2 seconds after attaining a full charge.

The “Whiplash” and “Arclight” variants from Halo 5 would return. Instead of standard slugs, the Whiplash fires airburst munitions that explode in close proximity to enemy targets (say, within two meters). If the shot’s trajectory takes it within the specified distance from the target, the round will instantly detonate as if striking a solid object, inflicting splash damage to all targets within a radius greater than that of the standard rounds. Since the railgun is hitscan, the Whiplash’s round would not detect targets in a spherical radius, but rather detect the first target within two meters of the flight path of the projectile, measured perpendicular to said flight path. The Whiplash would also have a two-round magazine.

The Arclight’s rounds are impact detonation only like the base model. However, they are far more powerful. In addition to having splash damage that is lethal to Spartans (and anything weaker than a Spartan) out to at least 3 meters, allowing for a potential kill even in the event of a missed shot, they have enhanced anti-armor capabilities and are capable of piercing through multiple targets, both infantry and vehicle. Additionally, the Arclight would not automatically discharge after charging up for a shot, allowing the user to keep the weapon primed and ready to fire instantly after acquiring a target.

6. Heavy Machine Gun

Damage: 20
Accuracy: 1 to 2.5° (as turret)
          2 to 5° + recoil (when detached from mount)
Rate of fire: 10 rounds/sec
Projectile Speed: 900 m/sec
Ammo Capacity: infinite (mounted) or 200 rounds (detached)
Sights: none
Other Features: Turret-based weapon, removable from mount
Damage Modifiers: same as Assault Rifle

Notes: This version of the .50-caliber machine gun turret would likely remain a single-barreled weapon like the Reach HMG and would still place the player in third-person view and slightly reduce their speed. It would be considerably less accurate than the assault rifle as well when it’s removed from its mount due to the awkward nature of the “Hollywood-style” handling of the weapon, and on top of that it would generate prodigious recoil when firing at its maximum rate.

7. Plasma Cannon

Damage: 14
Accuracy: 0° (as turret)
          0.5 to 1.5° (when removed from mount)
Rate of Fire: 12 rounds/sec
Projectile Speed: 150 m/sec
Battery Life: infinite (mounted) or 150 shots (detached)
Heat Capacity: infinite
Stun: 0.05 seconds
Sights: none
Other Features: Turret-based weapon, removable from mount
Damage Modifiers: Same as Plasma Rifle

Notes: The plasma cannon would once again be the Covenant equivalent of the human’s machine gun turret. It’s basically a somewhat faster-firing version of the plasma rifle that doesn’t overheat. While it does less damage over time than its UNSC counterpart and requires leading one’s target at longer ranges, it does have a slight stun effect. Also, even though it doesn’t overheat, it does have some shot spread when being carried around due to the same awkward handling it shares with the Gatling gun. This inaccuracy should balance out the aspects of the weapon that give it an advantage over the plasma rifle.

8. Target Designator

Damage: 250 per missile × 7 missiles
Blast Radius: 6 m
Accuracy: 0°
Rate of Fire: 2 sec. charge time + 20 sec. cool-down time
Projectile Speed: special (see below)
Ammo Capacity: one barrage per charge
Max. Ammo: 3 charges
Sights: 3x/6x smart-link scope
Other Features: see below
Damage Modifiers: Same as Rocket Launcher

Notes: The target designator from Reach would make a comeback. As before, it would be an extraordinarily powerful yet also extraordinarily rare weapon. As in Reach, it would function by “painting” either a point on the terrain or a single enemy target, and its standard attack would be to call in an artillery strike where seven projectiles, each one identical in power and blast radius to a SPNKr rocket (meaning it can inflict up to 1750 HP of damage in a single barrage), bombard random points within a 15-meter radius of the point “painted” by the device. It’s also possible that it may be capable of having an alternate offensive mode in Campaign, perhaps dictated by the story, i.e., calling in a Longsword to bomb a key target.

In Campaign the designator may only show up a couple of times in the whole game. It would be available in Firefight and possibly also Invasion as a very high-tier weapon, but it would not appear in any regular 4v4 or Big Team maps in matchmaking, though players could place it on such maps in Forge for custom games if they wish.


Other Weapons

1. Energy Sword

Damage: 160
Battery Life: variable (10 kills in multiplayer)
Damage Modifiers:
                  Elite Shields: 300%
                  Jackal Shields: 200%
                  Flood Flesh: 150%
                  Hunter Armor: 20%
                  Vehicle Armor: 10%

Notes: The sword would function more or less identically to how it always has, with a lunging attack that has considerably more range than the normal melee attack. Using the melee button would also initiate a faster but shorter-range attack, with the same range as a regular melee. As is the standard for the sword, the battery depletes only with a successful kill, and battery consumption is dependent on the enemy killed (e.g., 10% battery for an Elite, Brute, or opponent in MP, 5% for a Grunt, 20% for killing a Jackal by cutting through its shield). Attacking with the handle of a depleted sword would be functionally identical to a regular melee, including damage and modifiers thereof.

2. Gravity Hammer

Damage: 150 (hammer impact)
        80 (shockwave)
        Standard melee damage (handle strike)
Blast Radius (shockwave): 4 m
Battery Life: 20 shockwaves
Other Features: Enhanced physics impulses
Damage Modifiers (hammer impact):
                  Vehicle Armor: 30%
Damage Modifiers (shockwave):
                  Elite Shield: 200%
                  Flood Flesh: 300%
                  Vehicle Armor: 10%

Notes: The hammer would, like the sword, function similar to how it always has. The shockwave it generates would be centered on its head, and like before would be much like a grenade blast, except it’s harmless to the hammer’s user and generates considerably more force, enough to knock infantry back a couple of meters and even flip a light vehicle over. It could still also deflect grenades and rockets. If the player hits their target with the hammer, both direct impact and maximum shockwave damage is inflicted. While the hammer is more powerful than the sword, as always it depletes battery power with every swing. Once the battery is exhausted, the player can still attack with the handle. Attacks with the handle would function identically to regular melee attacks.

3. Sentinel Beam

Damage: 100 per second
Accuracy: 0°
Rate of Fire: continuous beam
Projectile Velocity: hitscan
Battery Life: 15 seconds of fire
Overheat Rate: 2.5 seconds of continuous fire
Sights: none
Other Features: see below
Damage Modifiers:
                  Elite Shields: 200%
                  Hunter Armor: 20%
                  Flood Flesh: 150%
                  Light Vehicle Armor: 20%
                  Heavy Vehicle Armor: 5%

Notes: As in previous games, the Sentinel Beam would be a relatively straightforward weapon. Nothing fancy. Just a simple hitscan weapon firing a continuous beam, and much like Covenant weapons has a battery and can overheat. For balancing reasons, when used by a player it would inflict more damage than when used by an enemy in Campaign. Generally, it would be a bit more powerful than the AR, and would be treated as a lower-tier power weapon similar to the Needler.

4. Flamethrower

Damage: 80 per second (direct fire stream)
        30 per second (burn damage)
Accuracy: see Notes
Rate of Fire: continuous flame
Fuel Capacity: 15 seconds of fire
Sights: none
Other Features: Sets most targets, objects, & surfaces on fire
Damage Modifiers:
                  Jackal Shield: 50%
                  Elite Shield: 150%
                  Hunter Armor: 50%
                  Hunter Flesh: 50%
                  Sentinel Armor: 50%
                  Light Vehicle Armor: 20%
                  Heavy Vehicle Armor: 0%

Notes: The flamethrower’s stream of napalm would likely retain the same area of effect and limited range as the Halo 3 version. Like the other third-person view weapons (the HMG & plasma cannon), the player would have reduced mobility when carrying the flamethrower. The flamethrower is dangerous not because it can kill more quickly than other weapons, but because it sets things on fire. A target, object, or surface remains on fire for several seconds after they were last exposed to the fire stream. A short burst is enough to kill an opponent in multiplayer, though they’ll still live long enough to potentially initiate a counterattack before they burn to death. Of course, constant exposure to the fire stream will kill an enemy much quicker.


Grenades

NOTE: By default, players would be limited to two of each type of grenade. Grenades would have the same throwing arc as in Halo 1.

1. Fragmentation Grenade

Damage: 120 (splash damage)
Blast Radius: 6 m
Fuze Length: 0.5 sec
Damage Modifiers:
                  Hunter Armor: 25%
                  Hunter Flesh: 50%
                  Flood Flesh: 200%
                  Sentinel Armor: 40%
                  Vehicle Armor: 50%

Notes: The frag grenade would probably be made more similar to how it was in Halo CE, having the same fuze length and arming only after they came to rest, as opposed to other games where they arm after striking the first floor or shallowly-angled surface they impact. However, they would have a smaller blast radius than in Halo CE.

2. Plasma Grenade

Damage: 120 (splash damage)
        infinite (against most "stuck" infantry; see below)
Blast Radius: 5 m
Fuze Length: 2 seconds
Special features: Adheres to infantry & vehicles
Damage Modifiers:
                  Jackal Shields: 200%
                  Elite Shields: 300%
                  Hunter Armor: 25%
                  Hunter Flesh: 50%
                  Flood Flesh: 200%
                  Sentinel Armor: 300%
                  Vehicle Armor: 50%

https://i0.wp.com/www.halopedia.org/images/thumb/e/ea/H2A_Render_PlasmaGrenade.png/120px-H2A_Render_PlasmaGrenade.pngNotes: The plasma grenade would function the same as it did in Halo 1. While it can stick to an enemy to kill them instantly (this does not apply to vehicles or certain infantry units; refer to the Enemies section on the previous page for infantry units that are resistant), it has a longer fuse and a smaller blast radius than a frag grenade. It also would inflict the same base damage as it did in Halo 1, which means that it cannot kill an opponent in multiplayer who has full shields and health. This contrasts with every iteration of the weapon from Halo 2 (post-1.1 TU) to Halo 4, which in multiplayer can instantly kill an opponent with full shields and health without having to stick them, which kind of diminishes if not defeats the purpose of the weapon’s most distinguishing characteristic.

3. Incendiary Grenade

Damage: 60 per second
Blast Radius: ~2 m or 1 target
Fuze Length: detonates on impact (flame lasts for 4 seconds)
Other features: Sets most targets, objects, & surfaces on fire
Damage Modifiers: same as Flamethrower

Notes: I really liked the incendiary “firebomb” grenades from Halo 3. However, it wasn’t very common as only Brute Stalkers, which were rather uncommon, carried them in Campaign, and they were rarely found as pickups. They were also not found by default on any multiplayer map, supposedly because it would cause framerate issues or something to that effect. I’d like to change that. Firebombs would be carried by a wider variety of Brutes and could even be found as pickups in weapon caches. They would be found on certain maps in multiplayer as well, though they might not be as common as plasma grenades. They would function pretty much the same as in H3, bursting on impact and setting things on fire. It would set fire to only one target or, if it hits a surface, create an irregularly shaped pool of flame averaging around 4 meters across, making it effective for both direct attacks and area denial. While there is no impact damage, the 2200° C fire deals a lot of damage. A direct hit on an enemy is a guaranteed kill unless they have very strong shields (e.g., an overshielded opponent in multiplayer or a high-ranking Covenant soldier). Anything stepping into the pool of flame would suffer considerable damage as well.

4. Lotus Anti-tank Mine

Damage: 150
Blast Radius: 6 m
Fuze Length: Proximity fuze, 3 sec. arm time
Damage Modifiers: Same as Rocket Launcher

Notes: Though classified as a grenade for gameplay/inventory purposes, the Lotus mine would technically function very similar to the Halo 3 trip mine, being a powerful proximity explosive. However, it would be smaller (about 30-45 cm in diameter) and emit no light. To reduce incidences of accidental betrayal, it would have a bright red waypoint over it that is only visible to the allies of whoever deployed it (of course, this would be a non-issue if I were to eliminate friendly fire from matchmaking). The mines would inflict noticeably more damage against vehicles than other grenades, being capable of dealing critical hits to light vehicles that have full HP and doing serious damage to heavy vehicles. Due to their power, they would be hard to come by in matchmade multiplayer, being restricted to maps that support vehicles and having only maybe two spawn points per map. They’d be a bit more common in Campaign and Invasion, though.

<<< Back to Part 3: Campaign

Forward to Part 5: Vehicles >>>

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2 thoughts on “Building the Ultimate Halo Game

  1. Ok, I was just reading this article, and while I haven’t reviewed all the minutae and every single statistic yet, I have some comments…

    For one, I 100% agree with the idea of making a new game which focuses on the human/covenant war across different planets and colonies, rather than on the rings and the flood. You could really position this at any point in the timeline so as to provide the best battle scenarios.

    I really would like to see the Elites return as the primary enemy. I definitely agree that the Brutes would need some reworking to really contribute to the game, but I can’t even really think of how you would do that…and I wouldn’t miss them if they weren’t there.

    The number one thing I’d like to see in a new Halo campaign would be a serious, more realistic (Blomkampish) tone, and an enhanced focus on combat mechanics and AI. I would try to make the campaign combat match the intensity of a multiplayer match as much as possible. IMO an Elite should have equal health/shields and deal equal damage to the spartan player, and those values should not change across different difficulty levels. Ideally, the difference in the difficulty levels would entirely lie with how smart and aggressive the enemies were.

    Definitely agree about the AR – compress the old AR and old BR into one select fire weapon. With a good spread-bloom system, accuracy would be reduced during sustained auto fire enough to balance it out, while short bursts and rapid semi-auto would grant enough accuracy to go for head damage at mid range.

    I actually think there could be potential to use the fire mode selection as a wider overall game feature. The AR would be the primary reason to implement it, but it could be used in other weapons as well. For example, imagine switching modes on the Plasma Pistol – one mode being the dual function one we’re used to, one charge mode that automatically charges and holds an overcharge bolt until you pull the trigger, and “semi” mode that only fires the mini shots, but does so as soon as you pull the trigger rather than when you release it. You could also use such a command to adjust the rate of fire of the PR (ie 300/450/600 rpm) to manage damage vs overheating rate, or to toggle between magnification levels on the Sniper Rifle (5x/10x) or even the BR and Carbine (2x plus a 5x option).

    On the SMG – I think the way to differenciate it is ammo capacity and accuracy of sustained fire…it could even be changed to a very compact LMG (think mk46 mod 0). Firing a lighter round (even up to 5.56) it could deliver full auto with a tighter spread/less recoil than the AR for up to 70-100 rounds straight, at the cost of lighter per hit damage and no ability to go for pinpoint headshots.

    Of course I also agree with you on most other aspects we’ve dicussed in the past – i.e. semi-auto BR, health packs, fall damage, etc.

    As far as implementing different classes of characters, I can think of a lot of different ways to implement them. For example, when playing the ODST or any other human character, you might experience much more severe recoil effects on weapons like the SMG, AR, and BR…or even more realistic tactical shooter-ish characteristics like (basic/limited) posture/movement based accuracy and aiming only with whatever sighting was available on the weapon (irons, or scope).

    By comparison, playing the spartan you would have the superhuman strenth and coordination to fire the heavy recoil weapons to the performance we’re used to in Halo regardless of movement or posture. Due to the enhancements of the HUD, the spartan might be able to fire towards a projected reticule without actually using the sights of the weapon (due to cpu-managed eye/hand coordination). One thing I did in my last mod was make the 2x magnification universal to all weapons – this could be explained as a magnification feature of the spartan helmet/hud and not the optics of the weapons.

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