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Top 7 Halo Spinoff Games We Need

From a Flood horror game to a futuristic version of the Battle of Thermopylae, so much of Halo's expansive universe has yet to be explored

As reported last week, it looks like the new leadership at 343 Industries is working hard to bring Halo back to its former glory and has a solid plan in order to do so.


Assuming the leaks and rumours are true, this is certainly good news and even though we're likely a ways away from getting our hands on another Halo game, at least it's trending in the right direction and the future is looking promising.


For a sci-fi universe as great as Halo's however, there's still so much room for it to grow and become a truly sprawling enterprise that can attract fans from many different genres.


With the right kind of investment and a smart selection of studios, Microsoft could turn Halo into an expansive gaming universe similar to what Star Wars once was in its heyday.


Arguably, they could make it far better simply by maintaining a strict adherence to quality over quantity, for as good as many Star Wars games were back in the day, LucasArts also released a lot of half-baked shovelware as well.


Given the current economy, Microsoft is uniquely positioned to capitalize on their current assets and set themselves up to dominate the gaming space in the coming years.


That much has already been made clear as Microsoft has made it evident it's dedicated to the long game, demonstrated by their recent acquisition spree which saw massive publishers like Activision-Blizzard and Bethesda, along with their huge portfolios of studios and IP, join Microsoft's expanding empire.


Surprisingly however, not long after their Activision-Blizzard deal was finalized, Microsoft (justifiably) received plenty of backlash mere weeks ago as they shuttered multiple studios, including the talented Tango Gameworks and Arkane Studio's Austin branch.


While Arkane Austin's closure wasn't a huge shock given the absolute mess that was Redfall, Tango not long ago released a successful (according to Microsoft's own statements) new IP which scored incredibly high with critics and gamers alike in Hi-Fi Rush.


CEO of Microsoft's Gaming division, Phil Spencer, didn't exactly offer a straight answer as to why the layoffs occurred, which was particularly baffling in Tango's case given their successful track record, but he has mentioned multiple times that Microsoft is doubling down its focus on expanding its biggest brands.


Looking back at Xbox's Showcase event, that much is certainly evident - Gears of War, Fable, Doom, Fallout, Starfield, and even Perfect Dark had strong showings and hammered this point home, with Fable and Perfect Dark both being dormant for quite some time but having plenty of franchise potential that Microsoft is clearly hoping to capitalize on.


With how expensive and time-consuming games are to make these days, it makes sense to invest more into established franchises and thus continue the main storylines, but what Microsoft seems to slowly be realizing is that AA titles made by capable studios have plenty of potential too (like the upcoming Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn which is coming to Game Pass, or Sony's recent success with Helldivers 2), particularly given the boost in exposure Game Pass can provide.


The Unreal Engine in particular makes it so that even smaller studios can produce very high quality, great-looking games without a bloated budget (such as the afforementioned Flintlock) - and that's where the expanding of major franchises, particularly Halo, should be done.


Take good ideas for spinoffs within an established franchise, then get a smaller, talented studio to run with that idea, with the team in charge of the series consulting on the project and sharing game assets to make sure they stay true to the franchise's cannon and characters while still allowing them the creative freedom they need to create a compelling game.


There are tons of ideas that fans and developers alike have suggested over the years that Microsoft has never capitalized on, and plenty of capable developers - both within its now massive brigade of studios, and outside of it as there are a wealth of talented third parties that can be hired without breaking the bank.


As such, and in keeping with good ol' Bungie's obsession with the number seven, I've compiled the top seven ideas for Halo spinoff games that Microsoft should run with - as well as what studio(s) may be best suited to the task.


Note that sequels to the two prior spinoffs in the Halo universe aren't included in this list, though I'll briefly touch on those now.


Fans have begged for a sequel to Halo 3: ODST ever since its successful release in 2009, its somber and rain-soaked campaign giving off a very different vibe than the original trilogy.


It was the first (and to date, only) FPS Halo title that put players in the boots of an ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper) rather than a superhero-esque Spartan (or their Covenant Elite equivalent, namely the Arbiter).


A sequel would of course be high on the list of possible Halo spinoffs to green-light, but given its proximity to the core Halo FPS experience, it would probably be better served following the release of a future major Halo title, similar to how the original was crafted - using the same engine and mechanics as say the Halo: CE remake or whatever Halo 7 will be called, which is then tweaked and added to in order to suit the particular experience.


A welcome deviation from the shooters that dominate the Halo gaming universe came in the form of Halo Wars, with two excellent real-time strategy games coming in that series developed first by RTS legend Ensemble Studios and then by the highly talented Creative Assembly for its sequel.


Though it improved on the original and offered a highly compelling storyline which would later tie into and help shape Halo Infinite, its short campaign and lack of substantial changes to the original's formula saw it underperform compared to Microsoft's targets - that was also due in large part to Microsoft itself with its PC release strategy at the time.


In trying to expand the Windows Store as a hub for PC gaming, all PC releases Microsoft put out at the time required games to go through the Windows storefront, which wasn't exactly a popular decision (not to mention it left Linux and Mac gamers off the potential customer list).


Given that real-time strategy titles are far more popular amongst PC gamers than they ever have been on consoles, this certainly didn't help Halo Wars 2 reach its full audience.


Microsoft has since remedied this problem in recent years, with virtually all of its PC releases now coming to the far more popular Steam.


The creator of Halo Wars 2, Creative Assembly, has since done extremely well with its popular RTS series Total War, which also includes three entries that bring the popular world of Warhammer into the RTS fray, in very similar fashion to what Halo Wars did with the Halo universe.


With Creative Assembly's pedigree and current success, combined with a smarter PC release strategy, now would certainly be a good time for Microsoft to once again call on the British developer to craft a new entry in the Halo Wars series.


Space battles between UNSC and Banished ships and their fighters were originally intended to be in Halo Wars 2 but ended up being sidelined and planned for the sequel, which to date has yet to materialize - returning to that idea would certainly offer that something different that fans were hoping for in the last entry.


Hopefully, it isn't the last we've seen of the Halo Wars series, nor is it the last we've seen of FPS Halo spinoffs like Halo 3: ODST.


Now for the reason we're all here - the potential new spinoffs.


Derelict UNSC Ship

7. Halo: Isolation


When Halo: Combat Evolved kicked off the incredible Halo sci-fi universe back in 2001, it did so in a rather unique way.


No, I'm not talking about the way it pioneered FPS gaming on consoles, or its surprisingly intuitive and great handling of vehicles in an FPS, or any of its stellar gameplay mechanics.


When it comes to sci-fi and particularly when it comes to sci-fi involving war with aliens, the aliens themselves and the locales/technology are what inspires a sense of wonder in viewers/readers/players.


Often, this is most effectively portrayed when alien beings are first encountered, something that countless movies, shows, and games typically use as a tool to relate its characters to the audience - the characters presented on screen or on the pages of a book are going through this exciting/horrifying/curious experience for the first time, just like we are.


With Halo, it dropped us deep into a conflict that had been raging on for quite some time before we ever picked up a controller and assumed the role of Master Chief.


The Covenant, despite being a fascinating new encounter to players, were well-established enemies of the characters in the story - to them, it was just another fight.


That wonder, that sense of discovery that the universe's characters went on to share with the players, was instead transferred to the Halo itself - the spectacular and beautiful ring-like structure that gives the franchise its title.


As the Pillar of Autumn, the human ship you're on that is fleeing an alien force and being torn to pieces by boarding parties, stumbles upon a massive, awe-inspiring construct unlike anything seen before, not only are the players curious about this magnificent thing, but the characters themselves are just as curious and awestruck as the player is.


After crash landing in an escape pod on the strange structure, its soon made clear your enemies are just as confused about what this bizarre ring is as you are, and not long after, they unwittingly release a terrifying force from this "Halo" that threatens not only themselves, but you and humanity as well, now throwing you into the middle of a war on two fronts.


This new threat came with a distinct element of horror, which was particularly strong when players first come across what's essentially a short found-footage film produced by the final recording of a dead Marine, showing the player the deadly threat that was the Flood for the first time.


The Flood levels in the original game certainly evoked a feeling of dread which was never replicated to that extent in any future Halo titles (and no, I'm not talking about the lone sore spot of the original campaign, the poorly designed and hated mission "The Library", which evoked dread for an entirely different reason).


An advanced alien conglomerate with far more advanced technology hell-bent on destroying all humans is terrifying enough, but the Flood, a never-ending, uncaring wave of terror which has no motive besides consuming everything it finds?


That's the kind of thing the horror genre was made for.


The powerful force may have been (at least for now) dealt with in the Halo storyline, but there's still plenty of opportunity to explore the most terrifying of Halo's factions, something fans have certainly wanted for years given they haven't appeared in a Halo game since the original trilogy ended.


Perhaps the most compelling of these possibilities is illustrated best by Alien: Isolation, a 2014 surprise hit from Creative Assembly (the same studio that crafted Halo Wars 2, no less).


Alien: Isolation is a first-person survival horror game set in the Alien universe of movie fame, where the daughter of the original Alien movie's Ellen Ripley is investigating the disappearance of her mother on board a space station.


It smartly made the player hopelessly underpowered to deal with the threat they face and instead, players must rely on avoiding, outsmarting, and only as a last resort, fighting for their survival - this kind of gameplay hook would be perfect for a Flood-focused Halo title.


Playing as a lowly Marine or other UNSC personnel trapped aboard a ship that has been taken over by the Flood would be the perfect way to return to Halo's horror roots and expand upon them in a meaningful way.


Unlike most horror titles however, the objective here wouldn't be to simply survive - your character would be painfully aware that a ship full of the Flood is a danger to the entire human race, and thus them being able to get off the ship is no longer the primary objective.


Instead, the goal would be to overload the reactor onboard the derelict ship, a suicide mission yet the only way to stop the Flood from claiming more victims and potentially endangering the entire human race.


Though the Flood in some senses can be likened to zombies, the parasitic organism doesn't just feed on organic material - it reshapes it, molding it into the form it needs in order to take over more advanced organisms.


The Flood also retains the knowledge and functions of its prey, which are fed into a type of hive-mind, allowing individual vessels to use weapons, tools, and even control ships to further the goal of its collective self, which is to consume all living matter to create a single, all-knowing organism.


Given how quickly it consumes and spreads, a single Flood spore presents an incredible danger - a ship infested by the Flood is effectively a ticking time bomb, waiting for an opportunity to strike and infect anybody it comes into contact with - and for a lone survivor walking the halls of such a ship, it's one giant, terrifying death trap.


As the lone soldier tries to make their way through the UNSC vessel, the Flood will become aware of this unwanted presense, not only trying to kill the soldier, but is also smart enough to figure out their goal, and thus it does everything in its power to prevent the reactor from being overloaded.


A full-blown horror title would certainly be a unique Halo experience and would properly capture the threat of the most dangerous foe in the Halo universe, even if the game itself focuses on a rather isolated incident.


Given Microsoft's prior relationship with Creative Assembly on Halo Wars 2, and that studio's success with Alien Isolation, they'd be the perfect team to work on such a project and inject a healthy sense of fear back into the Halo gaming universe.


Halo Battlefront Mod

6. Halo: Battlefront


Out of all the spinoff ideas listed, this one has a decent chance of already being in the pipeline (at least in some form), and for good reason - it's a perfect fit, and it's one I've been making the case for over the past two years.


A studio founded by a former Bungie employee, Certain Affinity specializes in multiplayer development and has assisted in the production of multiplayer components for many big games like Call of Duty: Black Ops, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Doom, and multiple Halo titles including Halo Infinite.


They were reportedly hard at work on a battle royale version of Halo before it was unceremoniously cancelled by Microsoft in 2022; since then, many rumours have popped up suggesting that, although the initial idea was canned, Certain Affinity has continued development on a standalone Halo multiplayer title using that canned project's assets.


Speculation as to exactly what that title will look like, and when it will actually release, has unfortunately not been met by answers even a few years later, with rumours once again picking up recently that the unnamed Halo project may be surprise dropping later this year.


It's been strongly rumoured that the title in question is a new, expanded version of Halo 5: Guardian's Warzone mode (not to be confused with Call of Duty: Warzone, the free-to-play battle royale mode in that series).


It would certainly make a lot of sense as despite Halo 5's lukewarm reception from fans, who particularly disliked the game's campaign and deviation from the classic Halo gameplay formula, that title's Warzone mode was amazing and its implementation of microtransactions was generous, fair, and most importantly, profitable for Microsoft and co.


A new iteration of the PvPvE gametype has been called for since Halo Infinite launched, but that looks to be dead given that 343 is moving on from the title - a standalone version however, still looks like a strong possibility.


The underrated Warzone mode originally pit two teams of twelve Spartans against each other on large, sprawling maps, the main objectives being to capture and hold multiple bases to score points for your team.


To make things more interesting, AI opponents, whether they be Covenant or Promethean, would also spawn on the map and attack both teams. High value targets (essentially mini-bosses) would also occasionally spawn in and provide a point boost to whichever team managed to kill them.


The first team to hit a certain score was declared the winner - or, if they captured and held all the bases on the map, the opposing team's main base would have its "core" exposed, offering the attacking team a chance to destroy it in order to end a lopsided game early.


That wasn't all - the mode also featured a unique "Requisition" or REQ system that allowed players to call in more powerful weapons, vehicles, and pick-ups like an overshield or active camo, with many variants of each available through the use of collectable "cards".


These REQ cards came in packs available through points acquired either by playing the game or paying for them in the online store.


Each REQ card had a level which indicated what the player had to "pay" (using points they acquire for that match only, based on their achievements and score in the game as well as how long the match has taken) in order to call it in, with more powerful weapons and vehicles of course costing more and being more difficult to acquire.


There was also a cap that slowly increases during the match to further that sense of progression (for instance, at the beginning of the game, the higher value REQs like Scorpion tanks or Banshees can't be used yet, only becoming available when the match has sufficiently progressed).


The REQ cards came in two flavours - permanent cards which once you collect you own forever, which can be selected as your default loadout during the game as soon as its "tier" was reached in the game; and one-time use cards which grant you the use of an item, like a power weapon or vehicle, in exchange for points you earned during the game.


For instance, instead of spawning with the default assault rifle and pistol, when the match's REQ tier advances to a new level, you can instead choose one of your permanent REQs to spawn with a battle rifle or perhaps a modified, improved AR with a scope instead of the default weapons each time you re-join the fight.


Then, using points you accrue during the match, you can call in a SAW machine gun either when you spawn or at a REQ station located in the bases on the map. That SAW is dropped when you die (if there's ammo remaining, anyone can then pick it up and use it) and costs you one of your cards in addition to your points, so once you either run out of ammo or die, you don't get that weapon back.


More powerful and exotic weapons and vehicles of course require higher REQ tiers to be reached and cost you more points, and are less common in REQ packs.


While it sounds complicated on paper, in practice it was very intuitive and saw each match instilled with a clear sense of progression and strategy as one tried to call in the right REQs at the right time to gain an advantage on the battlefield.


It was a great mode that is sorely missed - it also had a lot in common with one of the most beloved classics in gaming, Star Wars: Battlefront.


The classic Battlefront games pit two opposing Star Wars factions against each other on very large maps, battling for control of multiple objectives on the chaotic and sprawling battlefield.


As a match would progress, access to new units unlocked, allowing you to spawn as a more powerful character - for instance, instead of spawning in as a default battle droid, you could choose a more advanced B2 droid or a droideka.


The games also featured "hero" units, which are limited on each side, but are far more powerful than standard units and can turn the tide of battle on their own - these units consisted of famous named Star Wars characters like Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Obi Wan Kenobi, Darth Maul, etc.


Warzone already implemented a similar idea of match progression from the classic Battlefront games, but stopped short of allowing different unit types - and that's where it should naturally be taken to become something truly special.


A new iteration of Warzone would include disparate units for each faction, allowing you not only to progress in terms of what weapons and vehicles you can use during a match, but what units and traits you'd have access to.


For instance, the UNSC side would begin the game with all of its players being standard flavours of Marines, while a Covenant faction would start off as Grunts or Jackals, each with limited health compared to more valuable units.


As a match progressed, more advanced units would unlock, like heavy weapon troopers, ODSTs, and Spartan IV's for the UNSC, while Covenant players could choose from Brutes, Elites, and even Hunters.


Hero units could debut as well, offering the chance to deploy as legendary Halo characters such as the Master Chief, Noble 6, The Arbiter, or Tartarus for instance, each limited in duration and in how many can be on the field to balance their effectiveness.


Not only would it be a blast to play, but it would also be a customization goldmine, as each unit type could have its own customization options, in addition to the weapon and vehicle variants and skins.


Battlegrounds from famous battles in Halo lore and multiple factions would be ideal (the UNSC and Covenant for sure to begin with, then the Banished, Flood, Insurrectionists and even Prometheans being possible factions to add in over time).


With Halo 5, 343 really didn't get enough credit for their Warzone mode, not to mention the fact that it did microtransactions the right way - they weren't required to get the full experience, players were rewarded with a stream of quality content without having to shell out extra cash, and yet they still made the company plenty of money.


Unlike Halo Infinite which tragically failed in their free-to-play multiplayer ambitions given the game's content drought for so long post-launch, Halo 5 was one of the most well-supported games you could get after it released and a return to this kind of support would be more than welcome.


New maps and modes were regularly being added into rotation, new weapon and vehicle variants were constantly being added to the mix for Warzone. If they could expand on this with cool variants of all the different units Halo has to offer (from Marines and ODSTs to Grunts and Elite Zealots to Hunters and Brute Chieftains) it would also have a ton of potential for making plenty of cash off of skins to support the addition of more free content.


If Certain Affinity is indeed working on a new iteration of Warzone, and they go the route of turning it more into Battlefront, Microsoft could have a genuine hit on their hands not only with the players, but with their bank accounts as well.


Balaho, the Grunt homeworld, being glassed

5. The Grunt Rebellion


The Ungoyy, better known simply as "Grunts", are easily one of the most beloved alien species in the Halo universe, perhaps second only to the Sangheili (Elites).


Unlike their Sangheili superiors which are known for their unwavering courage, impressive physical abilities, combat prowess, and warrior mindset, the Grunts are a stocky bipedal race that are typically viewed as dim-witted and less capable than other alien species, both by their human enemies and their Covenant allies.


Their squat stature (they typically stand between 4.5 and 5.5 feet tall) is of course exacerbated in the minds of Halo fans considering that players typically assume the role of an enhanced human Spartan that stands around 7 feet tall, making the aliens that aren't much shorter than a typical human and are much stockier, appear tiny and far from physically imposing.


They are also the only alien species in the Covenant that doesn't breathe oxygen, instead requiring methane in order to survive - as such, they are equipped with (highly explosive) methane tanks that are integrated into their armour, a breathing mask allowing them to operate in environments unsuitable for their survival. This unfortunately makes them even more susceptible to capable enemies who are aware of their vulnerabilities.


Their typically low level of skill, combined with their tendency to panic if their superiors are taken out or if they are confronted by imposing forces such as Spartans, makes most Grunts poor soldiers.


It's also frequently hilarious, with Grunts regularly providing unexpected humour in the midst of combat throughout every Halo game, something that solidifies them as a fan-favourite.


Although the species is viewed as "dumb", certain Grunts have actually demonstrated on many occasions to be quite capable and resourceful even with a lack of support from their superiors.


They are a species with a strong pack mentality, and in sufficient numbers they can be a devastating threat, particularly in close quarters where their tenacity and sharp claws can make them a nightmare for an outnumbered force.


When backed into a corner, the Grunts can prove surprisingly vicious - as the Covenant found out less than a century before the Human-Covenant War began.


As poorly as they appear to be treated by their allies in the Halo games, things were once much worse for the lowly Grunts - not long before humanity stumbled upon the Covenant, the Grunts were forbidden from even wielding Covenant weaponry, being sent into battle entirely unarmed as pure cannon fodder when they weren't being forced to perform manual labour.


The Ungoyy hail from the methane-rich planet of Balaho, and unlike most other species that joined the Covenant, they were not yet a spacefaring race.


Previously, the Covenant had added alien races into their ranks through faith or mutual benefit - the Ungoyy however, were assimilated into the Covenant ranks by force in 2142 and with very little resistance given their lack of technological means.


Despite their rank as the lowest species in the Covenant and their role as physical labourers, the Grunts quickly became some of the most devout followers of "The Great Journey" that was preached by the Covenant's prophets, even if most were unhappy with their position and treatment within the Covenant itself.


They did however quickly develop a fierce rivalry with the Kig Yar (Jackals), a lanky species of bird-like bipeds that often serve as scouts or snipers in the Covenant forces.


Unlike most other client species that composed the Covenant ranks, the Kig Yar are motivated almost solely by financial means, effectively a mercenary force far more interested in plunder than they are in fulfilling the "Great Journey"; this left them as a lowly ranked species as well, though they still garnered far more respect than the lowly Grunts.


With the higher-ups largely ignoring the budding rivalry between the two species, things would eventually boil over on High Charity, the massive mobile spacestation/city that served as the Covenant's capital and governmental hub and hosted billions of individuals from the various species that comprised the Covenant.


As the two lowest castes in the union, the Ungoyy and Kig Yar were forced to share their habitats in the Covenant's capital, which soon created tension given the Grunt's impressively rapid population growth.


This growth frequently led to the Kig Yar being forced to relocate their homes and nests, causing increased stress on female Kig Yar which in turn saw a rapid rise in infant mortality.


In an act of revenge on the encroaching Ungoyy, a group of Kig Yar shipmasters poisoned Ungoyy Infusion (recreational drugs frequently used by Grunts by pumping it into their methane tanks) supplies on their ships as well as in the lower districts of High Charity. Any Grunts unfortunate enough to use the contaminated chemicals were permanently sterilized as a result.


The Ungoyy initially brought this problem to a Covenant ministry, believing it was caused by faulty atmospheric controls - an investigation however revealed the Grunt's supplies were intentionally sabotaged by a group of Kig Yar, which understandably caused outrage.


Despite being presented with clear evidence and a recommendation of stiff penalties, the ministry decided against such repercussions and instead simply fined the Kig Yar shipmasters involved in the plot, dismissing the Ungoyy's complaints and stating that the Grunts would quickly recuperate their losses given their specie's rapid reproduction rates.


With many other grievances accrued over their centuries of service within the Covenant, the handling of that case proved to be the straw which broke the camel's back.


In 2462, the Grunts on High Charity began to openly revolt, attacking not only the Kig Yar but all of the races in the Covenant, no longer tolerating the poor treatment they received by their supposed allies.


The lower districts of High Charity were quickly engulfed in conflict as Sangheili and Kig Yar forces attempted to squash the rebellion, but the Grunt's overwhelming numbers and ferocity made them extremely difficult to deal with.


Packs of Grunts were even able to take down seasoned Sangheili warriors, sending a shock through the entire Covenant military.


The violent uprising and the Ungoyy's startling success in open engagements with the Covenant military was enough to inspire the Hierarchs in the Covenant to instate a new Arbiter, a title thrust upon a chosen Sangheili warrior in a time of need.


The newly commissioned Arbiter decided the best way to quash the Grunt rebellion wasn't through conventional combat, but through a show of genocidal force instead. Under his command, a fleet of assault carriers began to rain down massive beams of white-hot plasma on the Grunt homeworld of Balaho, annihilating entire Ungoyy tribes in mere moments and turning the ground to glass as the rebelling Grunts on High Charity were forced to watch broadcasts of the carnage.


The Ungoyy quickly surrendered to stop the destruction and the Covenant ended their assault, leaving Balaho largely intact.


Though the rebellion may not have lasted long thanks to the Covenant's ruthlessness and technological capabilities, it showed the Covenant that when motivated, the Ungoyy could be competent and tenacious combatants.


Had they not threatened to wipe out billions of their kind, the Covenant realized the Grunts had a real chance of succeeding in their rebellion, their sheer numbers overwhelming the other Covenant species.


As is Sangheili tradition, the Sangheili leaders who ended the Grunt Rebellion did not punish the rebel survivors, and instead rewarded the Ungoyy for their courage and "warrior spirit", providing them with significantly better training and equipment going forward, and finally allowed them to use Covenant weaponry.


They also integrated Grunts into standard military units, fully elevating the Ungoyy into true infantry forces.


The minister who had refused to properly handle the Infusion incident which led to the uprising was also dismissed and replaced by a new minister, one who promoted better relations between all members of the Covenant.


Though they enjoyed new rights and a newfound respect from the Sangheili as a result of their uprising, the Ungoyy were still the lowest ranking member of the Covenant and lacked any real representation in the Covenant government - the San'Shyuum (Prophets) in particular doubted the Ungoyy's loyalty, but honoured the Sangheili's decision to incorporate the Grunts into the military given the Sangheili were entrusted with all security matters.


With the Grunts being one of the most beloved factions in Halo, and with a compelling story behind it, a game centering on the Grunt Rebellion has plenty of potential to provide a unique experience and one that explores the political dynamics within the Covenant more than any other Halo game has before.


Another game that would likely be best served by being built out from an existing title (such as the planned Halo remake or the sequel to Halo Infinite), playing as a lowly Grunt during the rebellion would need to feature melee combat in a way no Halo has before, allowing the player to claw and rip away at the flesh of the Elites and Jackals that oppose them, with blood and gore being required to convey the harsh reality of the rebellion.


Grunts could also perhaps use other, impromptu melee weapons as well, along with weapons off of their fallen foes, while being part of large swarming waves of fury against more traditional Halo combatants.


The somewhat limited combat options for the Grunts in this case, despite it being a story centered on them, would likely make such a game grow repetitive and dull rather quickly - instead, the majority of missions would explore the conflict from the side of the Covenant forces, with a playable Jackal or Elite (or perhaps both) putting players in the middle of the action as they fight overwhelming waves of rabid Grunts.


To explore more of High Charity, as well as the dynamics between the races in the Covenant, would certainly be entertaining and the Ungoyy Rebellion is an interesting piece of Halo history that has to date never been fully explored, really only getting mentions in games and novels without going into much detail, providing ample room for creative freedom.


Despite the serious and dark reality of the story, there's also plenty of potential for humour given the Grunt's quippy attitude along with their fierce rivalry with the Jackals.


A developer like Fatshark, which is currently known for its highly entertaining melee-focused co-op FPS games set in the Warhammer universe would be the perfect fit to flesh out this kind of title.


Their previous work on Warhammer: Vermintide 2 and the recent Warhammer 40,000: Darktide, both of which also launched on Xbox Game Pass, certainly show off gory, visceral FPS action with plenty of melee-focused carnage as well as a penchant for throwing a ton of enemies at the player, things that such a project would need.


UNSC Insurrection War

4. Halo: The Insurrection


Expanding on my vision for a Call of Duty-style FPS title brought up just a few weeks ago, utilizing one of COD's talented developers (or forming a smaller group using resources from several of those studios) to craft a fast-paced military shooter set in the Halo universe has the potential to be a smash hit and one that could easily facilitate crossovers with other titles.


Though initially envisioned as a multiplayer title, a full game in the vein of a standard Call of Duty release would be a blast - to complement the multiplayer suite, a frenetic, explosive campaign filled with big set pieces and tons of action would certainly get people on board with a crossover title.


As for the story and setting, many Halo fans, particularly if they've only played the games and haven't read any of the novels, may not even be aware that prior to the devastating war with the Covenant, the UNSC was in a prolonged and vicious battle with Insurrectionist forces.


With all Halo games to date having taken place long after humanity was first engaged by the Covenant, the games show a virtually united front from humanity as they are left with no choice but to fight for their very existence against an overwhelming enemy force.


Before that however (and even for some time during the Covenant war), humanity was very divided.


In the Halo universe, humanity began to colonize various planets and moons outside of our native solar system following the invention of the Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine - or slipspace drive - at the end of the 23rd century, which effectively meant that human vessels gained the ability to travel faster than the speed of light.


As humanity quickly spread amongst the stars, its colonies were ultimately governed by the Unified Earth Government, with the Colonial Administration Authority and its military branch being created as a secondary governing body to oversee humanity's many established settlements as well as facilitate the creation of new colonies.


Eventually two "tiers" of colonies formed - the Inner Colonies, which were the settlements closest to Earth and included the second-most populated planet in human space, Reach, which also served as a vital military hub; and the Outer Colonies, those on the outer edges of human-explored space, often mining or agricultural settlements established far away from Earth and its most vital installations.


Over time, resentment grew in the Outer Colonies over the CAA's overbearing bureaucracy and what many colonists believed was an Earth-first approach to handling its citizens.


Originally starting with peaceful protests and negotiations between disgruntled colonists and the CAA, eventually different rebel groups formed and eschewed diplomacy, resorting to terrorist attacks on cities, political assassinations, and kidnappings, swiftly plunging the Outer and even Inner Colonies into chaos.


The United Nations Space Command, or the UNSC as all Halo fans know and love it by, as the primary military and exploratory agency of human governments, engaged the rebels as best they could alongside the much smaller Colonial Military Authority forces, but the terrorist tactics used by insurgent groups and the amount of compromised UNSC personnel made it next to impossible to prevent heavy casualties.


Though initially the fighting was confined to a few systems, it soon spread throughout human-controlled space and even to the Sol system itself. The once-widespread support of the rebel factions amongst the Inner Colonies quickly eroded following the wanton spread of violence and heavy civilian losses.


Eventually the insurrectionist groups coalesced into the United Rebel Front, a conglomerate of insurgent groups that together planned a massive uprising in the Eridanus system - the UNSC however learned about the planned attack, and began Operation: TREBUCHET, an aggressive and overwhelming response initiated in 2513 that sought to bring the rebels across the entirety of the Outer Colonies in line.


The far-reaching and violent operation was widely accepted at first, but as the fighting carried on for years and civilian casualties mounted, that support waned as the UNSC and its faithful were locked into a battle of attrition against an enemy that became extremely well-versed in guerilla warfare.


Although many still seem to be under the impression Halo's iconic Spartans were created as a last ditch effort to defeat the Covenant, it was actually due to the bloody conflict with insurrectionists that the ORION Project, and later the SPARTAN program, was created - the UNSC sought to create a new tier of super-soldier which would be capable of wiping out insurgents swiftly and covertly.


It was only by sheer coincidence that the Covenant showed up after the SPARTAN-II program was well underway, and in fact, John-117 and the rest of his Spartans were rushed into active duty before the program's facilitators, like Dr. Catherine Halsey, had planned - ultimately of course, the Spartans, despite their incredibly small number, would prove to be the most important weapon in the UNSC's arsenal against their alien foes.


Returning to the focus of this game however - assassinations, terrorist bombings, urban and guerilla warfare - the UNSC-Insurrectionist War is practically written for a Call of Duty game.


Whether players take on the role of a new Marine (or multiple different ones), or perhaps fill the boots of a young Sergeant Avery Johnson (more on him down below), there's plenty of potential for a strong and action-packed campaign to show off a side of the Halo universe that has yet to be explored virtually.


Earlier variations of classic UNSC weaponry and vehicles would of course make an appearance, and the conflict creates an opportunity to create new human weaponry in the form of Insurrectionist equipment which can have its own style to separate it from the classic Halo arsenal.


As discussed in the previous piece regarding this potential spinoff, the multiplayer has the potential to become a multi-verse of sorts as well with the addition of factions, and for a co-op offering, a variation of Call of Duty's zombies mode which deals with the Flood would certainly be a fun addition as well.


Hopefully with so many talented developers and major franchises under the same umbrella, these kinds of creative collaborations and crossovers are one day realized.


Contact Harvest

3. Contact Harvest


If you're a fan of the Halo novels, you'll no doubt recognize the title, as it matches the excellent fifth novel in the series written by then-Bungie director of cinematics Joseph Staten, who worked on the original trilogy and was later brought in to 343 Industries to help clean up the mess that was Halo Infinite's development.


Halo fans of all stripes however will surely recognize the man featured in the image above, even if he appears younger than they may be used to - one Sergeant Avery Johnson, a foul-mouthed, combat-hardened Marine that instantly became a fan-favourite with the release of Halo: Combat Evolved.


Sergeant Johnson would of course be a major character throughout the original trilogy, a grizzled veteran that had no time for bullshit but was no stranger to lightening the mood with a little humour and featured a "never say die" attitude.


He fought in almost every major UNSC battle one can think of, and later became vital to establishing an alliance between the UNSC and the alien Sangheili (Elites).


If you haven't read the book however, you wouldn't know that Johnson made a name for himself originally with his heroics on the planet Harvest, which marked the very first contact humanity had with the alien forces known as the Covenant.


Originally a member of Project ORION, which was later renamed the SPARTAN-I project, Johnson was no average soldier - ORION, like the SPARTAN projects that followed, sought to create a new breed of enhanced human soldier to turn the tide in the war against the Insurrectionists, using cutting-edge biochemical enhancements and new training methods to boost the capabilities of its military volunteers.


Despite initial success with the resulting sixty five soldiers (and a second batch of one hundred), side effects (most notably mental instability) were common and led to many ORION members later being discharged.


Unfortunately for the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) which ran the program, ORION was deemed too costly and ineffective and was shut down as a result, but it did serve as inspiration and a valuable learning experience for the later SPARTAN-II program.


Though his enhancements are nowhere near what the likes of the Master Chief and other SPARTAN II's or even III's have, Johnson is also not an average soldier, no doubt playing a large part in his ability to serve for decades despite fighting in so many brutal battles.


Long after the highly secretive ORION project was disbanded and its remaining operatives were placed in normal units, Johnson would be assigned to the planet Harvest, an agricultural planet far in the outer colonies.


He was tasked with training a covert militia in order to ambush insurgent forces which were suspected to have caused the disappearances of multiple commercial freighters around the planet.


Using another freighter as bait, Johnson and his team stumbled upon four Kig-Yar (Jackals) and engaged the would-be pirates in what became the first official battle between the UNSC and the Covenant.


The Covenant of course proceeded to launch a full-scale attack on the remote planet, a single Jiralhanae (Brute) ship ultimately being more than enough to glass the surface of the farming colony, the Covenant's signature superheated plasma bombardments scorching the surface of the planet and turning it into glass.


The extremely limited forces on Harvest valiantly fought against the invading aliens, and thanks largely to the heroics of Sergeant Johnson, they bought most of the civilian population enough time to evacuate and escape the overwhelming brutality of humanity's new enemy.


The Battle of Harvest would be the perfect setting for a spinoff Halo game, putting players in the boots of a beloved character from the franchise in Sergeant Johnson, fleshing out his origin story that many gamers know nothing about.


It's also hard not to draw parallels to the upcoming Gears of War: E-Day.


Like Halo, the Gears of War games picked up well into an already established conflict against an invading alien force - in the case of Gears, the first game took place some 14 years after "Emergence Day", which saw the Locust Horde come up from underground and slaughter millions of people in an overwhelming surprise attack that plunged their world into a desperate fight for survival.


Similarly, the first Halo title takes place some 27 years after first contact was made with the Covenant, with many of humanity's colonies having already been destroyed while the UNSC desperately did everything it could to keep the Covenant at bay and away from its Inner Colonies.


Even Halo's lone prequel, Halo Reach, is set just before the events of the first game and thus well into the war.


With Gears of War: E-Day, an entirely new dynamic is presented as players get to experience how the series' characters reacted when first confronted by this novel foe and how they had to scramble to find ways to fight back against a brutal and overwhelming enemy they had no knowledge of.


Unlike most of the other ideas on this list, a traditional Halo shooter would be most fitting, adapted to tone down the advantages a Spartan has like what was done with Halo 3: ODST - Johnson's augmentations may make him stronger and more capable than a typical Marine, but lacking any MJOLNIR armour means shields are out of the question and thus he can absorb a far lower amount of damage compared to the likes of the Master Chief.


Utilizing the mechanics of the rumoured Halo: CE remake would be a no brainer to create this new game, with of course the movement and shields (or lack thereof) being adjusted to fit with Johnson being the playable character.


"Older" variants of UNSC weaponry would be a welcome addition, and assuming its campaign is successful, it could even kick off its own spinoff series that can loosely follow the novels - following the events of Harvest, a sequel could put players back in the boots of Master Chief, but this time early in his military career, when the Spartans were just beginning in their fight against the Covenant and Johnson was brought in to help guide the Spartans with his combat experience.


Or perhaps having both the Chief (who also lacked shields back then, as the MJOLNIR suits were only upgraded with shielding technology reverse-engineered from the Covenant later in the war) and Johnson as playable characters during missions...there's certainly a lot of potential there for a new series to fill in the lengthy gap between the start of the Covenant War and the events of the first Halo game.


In terms of who Microsoft could choose for its development, given that the new remake(s) appear to be using the UE5 engine, there'd be many studios with Unreal Engine experience that could work on the project or they could use a support studio with Halo experience like Saber Interactive or Certain Affinity, with 343 providing oversight and assets to in order to keep such a game loyal to the Halo mythos.


Halo Reach Space Combat

2. Space Combat Evolved


Okay, so the title may be a bit on-the-nose, but it really is crazy that there has never been a Halo spinoff involving aerial dogfights in space.


The only time this was ever really even featured in a Halo game was in the Long Night of Solace, an epic and memorable mission from Halo: Reach which put players in the cockpit of a Sabre starfighter to engage against Covenant fighters in space.


It was a beautifully crafted and thrilling mission that planted the seed in the minds of many fans for a spinoff featuring more of the space dogfighting that served as one of many highlights of the game, but unfortunately, not only have Halo fans never gotten such a spinoff, we've never even gotten a similar mission in any subsequent Halo title.


A space combat game, taking inspiration from classics like Star Wars: TIE Fighter or the more recent Star Wars: Squadrons, would be plenty of fun and explore an aspect of Halo's universe that players never really get to be a part of despite space vessels being such an integral part of Halo's identity.


Though many missions take place aboard spacecraft, whether they be human or alien in origin, the role of starfighters is almost entirely ignored in the games (save of course for that lone mission in Halo: Reach) - it may not be an area of expertise for the Spartans that Halo typically focuses on, but there's no reason a game couldn't center around the UNSC Defense Force and its starfighter pilots.


Even the novels don't delve much into the role of fighter crafts, with coverage of space battles largely focusing on the larger vessels which of course can do damage on a far larger scale, yet fighter pilots in their starfighters still serve important roles in defending larger ships, harassing attackers, escorting troop and other vital transports, and bombing important targets.


Exchanging missiles and chaingun bursts from UNSC Longswords and Sabres with plasma mortars and salvos from Covenant Seraphs and Banshees in epic space battles between fleets of frigates, cruisers, and carriers would be a blast, as would desperately fighting off invading Covenant Phantoms and their protection details in the skies of human worlds.


A campaign could take players through the journey of a talented fighter pilot in the UNSC Defense Force, or perhaps follow multiple different characters to explore various famous battles in Halo lore - it could also put players in the cockpits of Covenant ships to view the war from their perspective, as Halo has done on multiple occasions before.


An upgrade system to allow players to improve their starfighters, swap out weapons and defenses, change the armour and components, and customize the colours and designs on their ship to really make it their own would be welcome, and would certainly be great to include for a multiplayer component.


A co-op feature would also be excellent, allowing players to play through the campaign together or take on an expansive AI force alongside other players, in addition to the typical versus multiplayer (and perhaps a PvPvE element in some modes, where AI serve as lesser opposition while killing human players grants a larger score).


If you haven't played it before, there's a highly underrated game called Chorus that was for a time available on Game Pass (you can now get it for under ten bucks during sales) and featured excellent space combat in beautiful locales.


Developed by German studio Fishlabs on a AA budget thanks to the Unreal Engine, it looked fantastic and had silky-smooth gameplay mechanics, with a surprisingly meaty campaign; they'd be a great choice to hire on to develop this project and turn it into something special.


Operation Prometheus

1. Halo: Operation Prometheus


As any Halo fan will know, the SPARTAN-II program which produced the MJOLNIR-equipped supersoldiers like the Master Chief proved to be an invaluable asset in the UNSC's fight against the Covenant, even if the program was initially intended to be used as a surgical weapon against the Insurrectionists long before the Covenant were ever encountered.


The SPARTAN-II's exploits throughout the Human-Covenant War became the stuff of legend, providing a much-needed morale boost for the vastly outmatched human forces and giving the UNSC hope in times of desperation.


Unfortunately, the legendary Spartans were extremely few in number - less than three dozen ever made it to deployment.


The extreme costs involved in the program, from the years of extensive training, to the cutting-edge biochemical and surgical augmentations applied, to the incredibly costly MJOLNIR armour they sported, all combined to make the project incredibly prohibitive.


Adding in the extremely limited pool of candidates suitable for the augmentations and the fact that roughly half of those candidates (following many years of training and preparation throughout their adolescence) were killed or maimed by the final stages of the augmentation process, many problems needed to be addressed before creating a new wave of Spartans.


Much to the chagrin of the SPARTAN-II program's mastermind Dr. Catherine Halsey, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) took a different approach to the creation of the SPARTAN-III's - most notably, they would be cheaper to train and produce, and be chosen from a wider candidate pool.


The extremely strenuous augmentation regime that the SPARTAN-II's endured would of course be improved by technological advances that came in the years since that program was created, but most importantly, these augmentations would be less aggressive and extreme to avoid losing candidates on an operating table before they ever got to see the battlefield.


Rather than returning to the morally reprehensible way that the SPARTAN-II's were "conscripted" - namely, six year olds that showed great physical and mental promise that were also genetically compatible with the enhancements, were kidnapped by ONI and replaced by flash clones, illegal and extremely short-term fakes that would die mere weeks later - the SPARTAN-III's were chosen from the many orphans fallen colonies provided, the death of their loved ones and loss of their homes serving as an obvious motivator for them to be willing to participate rather than be forced into such a program.


Trained to rely more heavily on teamwork and numbers than advanced tech and equipment, the SPARTAN-III's were far more numerous than their predecessors, with some 300 Spartan III's being produced to comprise Alpha Company.


Thanks to the less-aggressive augmentations and improvements in the technology, not a single SPARTAN-III died from the augmentation process, a clear benefit for both the candidates and the UNSC.


Unlike the earlier Spartans who wore the unbelievably powerful and effective MJOLNIR armour however, the III's were equipped with Semi-Powered Infiltration (or SPI) armour (later, select few Spartan III's would be equipped with their own MJOLNIR armour, most famously Noble Team when they were deployed to defend Reach in 2552).


The SPI armour was still far more advanced than even an ODST's combat suit and provided far more protection than standard combat armour, but it paled in comparison to the mighty MJOLNIR.


Rather than focusing on power, SPI armour instead put an emphasis on stealth, featuring photo-reactive panels to mimic surrounding textures and give its wearers a rough version of active camouflage, though it was far less convincing than the Covenant's stealth technology; unfortunately, without any energy shielding, a single strike of a plasma bolt is enough to melt the photo-reactive panels and disable its camouflage capabilities.

 

Though the III's were extremely capable combatants second only to the SPARTAN-II's themselves, ONI viewed the new class of Spartans as being far more expendable than their predecessors, regularly sending them on suicide missions where survival of the operators was far from the primary objective.


In spite of their reckless use by UNSC brass, Alpha Company's Spartans held an exemplary record in the first nine months of their deployment against the Covenant.


Then, with the exception of a handful of SPARTAN-III's who were deemed too valuable to lose on a clearly suicidal mission, the rest of the near 300 Spartans in Alpha Company were deployed on Operation: PROMETHEUS.


The UNSC had recently discovered a large asteroid, designated K7-49, was being used as a massive Covenant shipyard. The site utilized thirty powerful plasma reactors to liquify the metallurgical components found in the asteroid, which were then shaped and refined before being sent up to the nearby warships for assembly.


If enough reactors were destroyed, the liquid contents of the Covenant's facility would solidify and permanently clog the construction area, rendering it and the dozen warships still under construction useless.


Alpha Company was able to down seven reactors within the first two days of landing on the asteroid, and was then able to eliminate a large Covenant counterstrike before destroying thirteen more reactors in the following three days.


Heavy and constant reinforcements bogged down Alpha Company's advance, yet seven more reactors were taken offline, until finally, on the seventh day of the operation, an overwhelming force of Elites surrounded the Spartans and cut them off from their exfiltration craft, leaving them with no option but to fight to their last breath.


By the time the Covenant had taken out the last of Alpha Company's valiant Spartans, nearly ninety percent of the asteroid had cooled due to the destruction of the plasma reactors, effectively crippling the shipyard to the point the Covenant were forced to decommission it completely, the dozen massive warships it was still in the process of creating never seeing battle.


Despite the Spartans being wiped out in the process, the UNSC's High Command saw the operation as a resounding success, the Spartan's last stand ultimately saving millions of civilians from being glassed from orbit by the now-useless warships they had prevented being completed let alone future craft that would have been built.


The UNSC accelerated the training and deployment of future SPARTAN-III companies immediately following the loss of Alpha Company, with Beta Company's Spartans beginning their training less than two years later.


Operation PROMETHEUS served as a Thermopylae-esque final stand for some of the greatest warriors ever to grace the Halo universe, and as such, a game that explores their triumph and heartbreaking sacrifice would be perfect.


Like Halo: Reach before it, a game focusing on Operation PROMETHEUS would put players in the role of a Spartan in Alpha Company. It would follow their specific squad from the time they land on the K7-49 asteroid until they made their noble last stand against an unrelenting horde of Sangheili forces.


Depending on the scope of the project, a tutorial and/or early levels can include other missions that Alpha Company was deployed on, with players getting to see the dynamics and personalities that comprise the squad of Spartans and the overall company of soldiers before being thrown into the fateful operation the game centers around.


With the SPARTAN-III's less powerful armour and lack of shields, as well as their focus toward teamwork and stealth, it would be the perfect time for Halo to shift into a third-person perspective, something fans have always wanted to see in a spinoff.


Unlike other Halo games, the use of cover would play a large role, with Gears of War-style squad tactics being the key to success, as well as an emphasis on defending positions against waves of incoming reinforcements (which would of course also perfectly tie into a co-op Horde-style mode).


Like Halo: Reach before it, the outcome of the game is already known by players before they ever pick up a controller - but by fleshing out a squad of Spartans and showcasing their personalities and heroism over the course of an entire game, and highlighting the sacrifices that are made in the desperation of war, it can be just as if not more impactful than heading into a story with no knowledge of how it ends.


If the new third-person persective is successful, it can also kick off another series; a sequel could follow a squad in Beta Company, which was similarly lost in the "successful" yet incredibly costly Operation: TORPEDO, with that op having just two survivors.


With their gritty third-person cover-shooter expertise, The Coalition would of course be a perfect choice to create such a game, but given their focus on the Gears franchise and of course the upcoming Gears of War: E-Day, it wouldn't make sense to have them move over to the Halo franchise.


It would however, make sense take a smaller studio like say People Can Fly, which created Gears of War: Judgement along with the highly underrated Outriders, and have not only 343 Industries guide the developer in its creation and take lead on the story/voice-over aspects, but also collaborate and get input from some of the veterans from The Coalition in order to get the third-person combat feeling just right.

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