Xbox’s marquee shooter Halo Infinite is in a great spot these days, but I still get the feeling that there’s something missing from its lineup of modes and experiences. 343 has put in a huge shift to bring new content to the game, but I think it’s missing a trick. What I’d really love is for the epic Halo 5 Warzone mode to make a triumphant return in Infinite – though not without some important alterations.
Reflecting on the recent news that the long-rumored Halo battle royale has reportedly been axed, I’m glad that one Xbox’s most innovative series has stopped trying to chase the success of other games like CoD Warzone, Apex Legends, and Fortnite. While I don’t doubt that a Halo battle royale would have been good, the franchise should instead be pushing the genre forward and dominating discussions about the best FPS games with experiences unlike any other.
With the obvious name similarities to CoD’s aforementioned battle royale, I was instantly reminded of Halo 5’s Warzone mode – one of the premier additions of the Xbox One exclusive in 2015. Say what you will about Halo 5 as a whole, but this black sheep in the series should be the inspiration behind Halo Infinite’s next new mode.
For the uninitiated, Warzone was a brand-new mode in Halo 5: Guardians which pitted two teams of 12 players against each other in a race to secure objectives, take down bosses, and ultimately destroy the enemy base or reach a score limit to win. In many ways, it’s the iconic Big Team Battle mode combined with Firefight.
Halo has always had a great PvE sandbox in its campaign and Firefight modes, and Warzone adeptly weaved this into multiplayer to create one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had in Halo. I distinctly remember hopping into a Warthog and racing the enemy team to a fresh boss spawn to burn through its healthbar as fast as possible to secure the large amount of points up for grabs, only for the opposition to narrowly secure the killing blow. At the same time, there was the pressure of stalwartly defending our home base from a full-on enemy assault with hopes of turning the tide in our favor. There were so many large-scale intense shootouts between players and AI, and just enough strategy was involved to decide the winning team.
Warzone was unlike anything Halo had seen up until the launch of Halo 5 and we’re yet to see it since – fast, fun, and utterly chaotic. With Halo 5 being panned by the community for its push towards more Call of Duty-style combat, complete with agile movement like boost packs, it seems as though 343 abandoned all its features – good and bad. In this process, Warzone – or some other similar iteration of it – has been disappointingly absent from Infinite, despite how enjoyable it was.
Now that Halo Infinite has assembled the Triforce with standard multiplayer modes, Forge, and most recently Firefight in one brilliant package, 2024’s roadmap is relatively unknown. I’m hoping that these landmark updates like Forge and Firefight aren’t over yet. While 343 could now rest on its laurels and pump out new maps and cosmetics each season (which I’m not going to say no to), 2024 needs to see the arrival of another big mode, and Warzone would be the perfect addition.
If Warzone were to return in Halo Infinite, however, there would need to be some major changes to how the mode functions. In Halo 5 Warzone, players are able to spawn various weapons and vehicles using points during a match. Crucially, these items were obtained by opening REQ packs (that could be purchased with real money), effectively making each item a single-use consumable. It’s safe to say that this feature needs to be removed if it were to return as the last thing we need is loot boxes or pay-to-win aspects creeping their way into Infinite.
I’d also be intrigued by how 343 could expand upon the mode if it were brought back. Currently, Halo Infinite multiplayer lacks the other factions that exist in its universe, namely the Covenant. With Warzone’s core gameplay centered around attacking and defending, it’s the perfect opportunity to introduce more asymmetry into Infinite, with one team being UNSC Spartans like normal and the other being Covenant. This would mean each team had different tools at their disposal and could even open up more lore and story possibilities.
While I’m somewhat doubtful we’ll ever see Warzone again given the amount of work inevitably involved in bringing it back – even if it was simply the Halo 5 map pool brought forward – Halo Infinite is the Xbox exclusive I’m most excited about in 2024. Now that the foundations are much more solid with a great selection of content to dig into, it’s one of the best Xbox games you can play right now and it should only improve from here. If you’re looking further ahead into Halo’s future, you can also check out why I think the next game after Infinite needs to return to the ODST days.