The Firefight multiplayer mode Bungie introduced in Halo 3: ODST is back in Halo: Reach, and it’s looking to be even crazier (and more flexible) than its predecessor. At a special preview event at E3 2010, Microsoft and Bungie gave us a look at the new and improved Firefight. Here’s what’s new.
First off, you’ll get the full matchmaking experience here, unlike in ODST. You’ll be able to customize your matches to your heart’s content – weapons, maps, game durations and enemy behavior will all be tweakable.
There are multiple game types this time around, too. Default is the most general of the lot. It’s a one-set match that’s designed to be shorter and more casual. Pop in, pop out, go eat a steak. Classic mode is just what you played in ODST. You know, because it’s already classic. Generator Defense is also a mode in Firefight now (you remember this gametype from the Reach beta that ran last month), and a newcomer called Rocket Fight sounds like it could become a new favorite. This mode is just you, your buddies, armor abilities, and an infinite supply of rockets. Yeah, that just happened.
You’ll also have some new weapons to play with. The Target Locator may not have a sexy name, but it makes up for that by destroying the hell out of things. Use it to paint targets, and you’ll be rewarded by a bombardment by an orbiting fleet. Think Hammer of Dawn from Gears of War mixed with the world’s scariest airstrike. And remember the Concussion Rifle from the latest campaign demo? It fires explosive plasma rounds, and it’s in Firefight, too. Deadly combination. And you can stop wondering – the Fuel Rod gun is back in Halo: Reach (and in Firefight).
Our look at Firefight unveiled a brand-new armor ability called Drop Shield. This one’s sort of a mix between the bubble shield and regenerator from Halo 3. Power it up, and it’ll give you and your friends some space to chill and heal for a bit.
Just like the overall Reach multiplayer, Firefight will come with game-specific rewards and challenges, available on a weekly and daily basis. Meeting challenges will net you special armor permutations. And the only way to get them is by playing Firefight.
From what we’re being told, Firefight in Reach will be far more customizable than ever before. For example, you’ll be able to create your own skulls that can totally change the pace and feel of your Firefight matches. You can make up to three, altering the traits of your Spartans, armor abilities and waves. Want to bump your health up to 200% and boost weapon damage? Feel free (wimp). This is basically Firefight any way you want it.
Bungie was also showing off two new maps, Waterfront and Beachhead, neither of which were in the Reach beta. This is all just the tip of the Firefight spear. We’ll have full-fledged hands-on impressions of the mode later tonight, along with brand-new direct feed video of Bungie’s latest title in action. So keep watching IGN for more.