“Hope for the best, expect the worst.” — Mel Brooks
I am afraid Halo 5 will suffer the same fate as Halo 4: After less than two months, an online population that is less than half of what it was at launch, never to recover.*
Halo 4 was built to appeal to fans of modern first-person shooters, like Call of Duty. Yes, Call of Duty isn’t the first game to use mechanics like sprint, but it is the game that made mechanics like sprint popular: Nowadays, it seems that there isn’t a AAA first-person shooter that doesn’t have sprint, ADS, killstreaks, or other mechanics that Call of Duty has.
Do I think that, since 343 took over the Halo series, Halo is copying Call of Duty? No.
But I do think that, like with Halo 4 before it, with Halo 5 343 is trying to appeal to Call of Duty fans. Here is why:
Watch 0:06 — 0:12 in this video:
“The goal was to try and redefine Halo for a new generation of players.”
Watch 1:54 — 1:59 in this video:
“We knew we wanted to expand the audience as far as we could but still satisfy the core as much as possible.”
How did putting elements of modern first-person shooters — sprint, killstreak-esque rewards, loadouts — into Halo 4 turn out? Fans of Bungie’s Halo games felt alienated, and fans of Call of Duty jumped ship as soon as Black Ops 2 came out. It turns out that Halo fans like playing Halo, and Call of Duty fans like playing Call of Duty.
I think that 343 is making the same mistake with Halo 5.
Enhanced mobility — dashing, sliding, clambering, etc. — is all the rage in first-person shooters now. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Destiny are two games with it that come to mind. I think it was Titanfall, with its double-jumping and wall-running, that kicked off the enhanced mobility craze in first-person shooters, though it is impossible to know for sure. But my point is this: Regardless of who did it first, just like sprint, loadouts, and killstreaks, enhanced mobility is now The Next Big Thing in first-person shooters.
I think that, in its efforts to appeal to everyone, Halo 5 will satisfy no one.
Well, not no one…. But nowhere near as many people as 343 want it to.
I hope I’m wrong.
We’ll just have to wait and see.