Home » Firefight: King of the Hill Preview | Halo Infinite | Halo

Firefight: King of the Hill Preview | Halo Infinite | Halo

by Ethan Marley
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Bip. Bap. Bam. Welcome to Firefight in Halo Infinite!

With the December Update dropping on December 5, the newest incarnation of Firefight will arrive in Halo Infinite—Firefight: King of the Hill.

Before we dive into the main points, let’s take a fast look again on the lengthy historical past of Firefight, all the way in which again to its origins…


Halo: Combat Evolved screenshot of a Forerunner beam tower near the start of the second mission, Halo

“It’s a multitude, sir,” Staff Sergeant Avery Johnson stated. “We’re scattered throughout this valley. We referred to as for evac, however till you confirmed up, I assumed we have been cooked.”

“Don’t fear, Sergeant,” Cortana replied. “We’ll keep right here till evac arrives.”

The Master Chief appeared up on the unusual alien tower that was at the moment serving as a rally level for this group of Marine survivors who had made it off the UNSC Pillar of Autumn. There have been solely a handful of them, ammunition was low, and—as Private Mendoza’s voice came visiting the comm—it was clear that they have been out of time.

“Heads up! I obtained a Covenant dropship headin’ in, over right here!”

The conceptual origins of Firefight in Halo can maybe be traced again to this very second, close to the beginning of the second mission in Halo: Combat Evolved. After coming throughout a gaggle of Marine survivors, you will need to defend them from waves of Covenant reinforcements earlier than they are often picked up by Foehammer.

Firefight itself would debut in 2009’s Halo 3: ODST as a cooperative mode the place you and as much as three of your mates may put your expertise to the last word check, experiencing Halo sandbox encounters within the type of a survival-based “horde mode” that was turning into more and more well-liked in video games round this time. No doubt, lots of you studying this right this moment will recall the late nights spent on the Alpha Site map trying to get the Vidmaster: Endure achievement as you sought to finish your Road to Recon…

From there, Firefight would go on to take a number of totally different varieties in subsequent Halo video games. In Halo: Reach, gamers got intensive customization choices to edit many elements of the expertise, which was additionally obtainable in matchmaking.

In Halo 5, Warzone Firefight was launched as a pure PvE model of the brand new PvPvE Warzone mode. Eight gamers may come collectively on large-scale maps to unleash their strongest weapons and autos in opposition to Covenant and Promethean enemies.

And then, Halo Wars 2 launched Blitz Firefight and Terminus Firefight. In the previous, gamers needed to defend and management three zones from waves of UNSC and Banished forces; the latter, in the meantime, was extra of a “tower protection”-type expertise the place as much as three gamers may work collectively to defend their bases and a Forerunner tower, with Flood enemies added into the combo.

And so, the time has come for a brand new Firefight expertise in Halo Infinite


Halo Infinite playlist image for Firefight: King of the Hill on Normal difficulty depicting Spartans fighting Banished on the House of Reckoning map

To delve deeper into this new incarnation of Firefight, we’re joined by Connor Kennelly, Technical Designer, for a Q&A breakdown.

What is Firefight: King of the Hill and the way does it work?

Our tackle Firefight is in some ways near the earlier iterations of Firefight you bear in mind. You and three different Spartans will face waves of Banished foes till you prevail… or die making an attempt. The expertise is solely PvE, so there are not any different human gamers to sweat in opposition to—simply you, your fireteam, and Halo Infinite’s superior forged of marketing campaign enemies.

When the sport begins, a hill will spawn, and waves of progressively more durable Banished enemies will attempt to seize that hill. Your job is to take the hill from them and maintain it till you seize it. A Boss Wave, full of harder than common enemies (and spearheaded by a named High Value Target or Boss), spawns when you’ve reached a specific amount of hill progress.

You rating some extent while you each end capturing the hill AND defeat the Boss Wave. Then, similar to in different Firefight iterations, you’ll get a short respite to resupply your weapons and tools, which solely respawn in between hills. After that downtime, the hill will start spawning in a brand new location, and the cycle repeats.

The Matchmaking modes could have precisely 5 hills for every match, and also you’ll get a win in case you seize at the very least three of them all through the spherical.

The timer within the mode is technically limitless, however video games are inclined to run between fifteen-to-twenty minutes relying on how nicely your staff is enjoying. We completely anticipate the speedrun-oriented of us to be competing for lowest time for every map, although.

Halo Infinite screenshot of the Unggoy High Value Target known as Bipbap running in a hill on the House of Reckoning map

So you get factors by capturing every hill and defeating its Boss Wave. And it takes 5 factors to win. How do you lose?

Well, the enemy staff can seize the hill similar to you’ll be able to, so in case you can’t maintain the waves off, you’ll be able to lose the purpose to the opposite staff. And since there’s a set variety of hills to play, you don’t need to lose that bonus XP, so don’t allow them to seize these hills!

Also, similar to in earlier Firefight iterations, loss of life can wipe out your squad. More on that in a minute, however retaining everybody alive may be very a lot a spotlight of this mode.

In previous Firefight modes, gamers have restricted respawns. How do respawns work in Firefight KOTH?

The matchmade model of Firefight: King of the Hill will NOT be utilizing a pool of lives. When designing this mode, we learn numerous group posts on outdated Firefight iterations, and we noticed a standard frustration with matchmade experiences the place gamers felt that matchmade teammates typically “wasted” the staff lives. To handle this, we introduced in an elimination mechanic as a substitute. When a teammate is killed, they go down the place they fell and are given a prolonged respawn timer—the length will depend on the problem you might be enjoying. And if ALL the Spartans go down concurrently, you’ll immediately lose the sport.

Your teammates can deliver you again to the battlefield instantly by reviving you, similar to in Attrition, however as talked about above, the Banished might be making hill progress the entire time… so that you’re going to want to steadiness revives in opposition to the enemy seize progress.

The rigidity between going for a revive or contesting the hill has made for a few of the most scrumptious moments in our inner playtests, particularly on the Heroic issue the place the respawn time is longer. Do you play it protected and quit some enemy hill progress to deliver your teammates again, or does your Last Spartan Standing attempt to contest a Banished-owned hill alone and threat the whole recreation? I assume it will depend on how grasping heroic you’re feeling…

We hope using revives will cut back frustration for the gamers that need to solo-queue however will preserve the co-op sense of shared destiny we cherished in each survival Firefight and Warzone Firefight.

Halo Infinite screenshot of a downed Spartan in Firefight: KOTH

One last item on the loss of life mechanics right here: since this ache level was principally a matchmaking concern, we added Custom Game choices that can allow you to use the normal lifepool. We even have a separate possibility to show off revives, so in case your foyer needs traditional mechanics otherwise you simply love roasting your buddies for losing lives, we’ve obtained you lined! Because we wouldn’t have lives within the matchmade model, we wouldn’t have the outdated Bonus Rounds to earn additional lives. However, we expect replenishing the lifepool is an important mechanic for these limitless runs like in ODST and Reach, so now we have one other Custom Game possibility that can allow you to replenish the shared lifepool if the Spartans win the purpose.

Season 5 is all about letting individuals play Halo the way in which they need to play, and we’ve tried to assist that as greatest we will.

Why Firefight: King of the Hill as a substitute of a brand new iteration of particularly survival-based Firefight?

“Firefight” encompasses lots. Firefight is about surviving waves of enemies with your mates. It’s about monitoring who’s alive and who’s lifeless. It’s about managing restricted sources. It’s about Skulls ratcheting up the problem as rounds progress.

And, on the core of it, Firefight is about having your again up in opposition to the wall and popping out on prime by teamwork.

So, after we wished to deliver that back-against-the-wall feeling to Infinite, we landed on the King of the Hill mechanic. The hill began out as a technique to set up fight on large maps. It offered that “wall” your staff put their again up in opposition to when the maps have been significantly massive. Plus, it introduced the added bonus of letting us transfer that spot across the map so the expertise was extra various inside every recreation.

That was simply our place to begin. As with every part in recreation growth, you be taught lots as you playtest. And certain sufficient, as we spent extra time with the hill mechanic, we realized it was including an surprising dynamic to the expertise. Players who ran and hid when a troublesome wave of enemies appeared couldn’t keep hidden and decide photographs at enemies till they’d thinned their ranks—since they could not progress the mode with out having at the very least one participant occupy the hill, the Spartans needed to band collectively to retake the purpose and start scoring once more.

Halo Infinite screenshot of Spartans being healed by a Repair Field while taking a hill in Firefight: KOTH

We actually loved “the flip” between attacking and defending that emerged from this dynamic, and we additionally loved the extra cooperative moments this created. Some of probably the most enjoyable we have had in previous Firefight modes are while you’re utterly overrun by the AI and need to scramble, and concentrating the AI squads in a manner that demanded additional fireteam cooperation actually appeared to reinforce these moments.

Where it actually began getting good was after we prolonged the hill code to let AI models seize them. Suddenly, there was rigidity when the enemy pushed your fireteam off the hill. The bar began ticking up. That drum sound performed with every tick, letting you recognize the Banished have been inching nearer to victory. Your choices have been now constrained by time. Is pathing again to that rocket launcher you noticed throughout the map definitely worth the tradeoff on the enemy hill progress? Can you afford to let your shields come again up earlier than contesting, or do you might want to get in there now and purchase time to your different teammates to reach?

Even in the midst of common fight, when the Spartans have management over the sector, the hill shapes the way you play. Because a single enemy AI can contest the hill and halt your progress, the fireteam must work collectively to maintain the zone clear to attract the Boss Wave out. We listed into bigger hill volumes on every map in order that there are a number of fronts to defend. Coordinating together with your staff to comb the firing lanes, rotating from one sight line to a different as you cowl a pleasant revive, selecting when to ship gamers out of the hill to return with an influence weapon or snipe from a vantage level—these are some examples of the core choices you’ll be making while you match right into a recreation Firefight: KOTH.

To make a protracted story brief: we love the additional decision-making, the extra cooperative components, and the strain that the hill brings to the traditional Firefight method. We can’t wait to listen to what you assume while you leap into the mode tomorrow!

Halo Infinite screenshot of a Hunter in Firefight: KOTH

Are there different variations (in addition to the hill) from survival Firefight or Warzone Firefight?

Yes. The different main departure we made is how Skull issue modifiers are earned and enabled all through the match. In previous Firefight, Skulls obtained enabled in a set order. We wished to make the Skulls a bit extra dynamic to adapt to how nicely a squad is doing within the spherical.

The guidelines for Skulls in Firefight: King of the Hill work like this:

  • If a staff wins some extent and no one dies, one semi-random Skull will get enabled for the subsequent hill.
  • Skulls stack over the course of a recreation. You can have a number of Skulls lively in case you preserve successful factors with none fireteam deaths. In matchmaking, the utmost is 4 lively Skulls on the fifth hill.
  • Streaks might be dropped. Losing a hill to the Banished will disable your most just lately enabled Skull.

We say a “semi-random” Skull will get enabled, as a result of similar to the traditional modes, you earn simpler Skulls earlier than the more durable Skulls. For instance, the primary Skull you earn will at all times be both Fog or Catch. But in case you earn a second Skull, the pool expands to incorporate Famine and Thunderstorm. The result’s that fireteams who’re in a position to earn Skulls will get a unique expertise from match to match, however the issue curve will nonetheless progressively enhance in the identical manner because the match goes on.

We made this modification as a result of after we checked out how individuals talked about having fun with previous Firefight choices, we seen two very several types of motivations, and the fixed-order Skull mechanics solely catered to 1 crowd.

One sort of participant we noticed was the problem hound. They need to be pushed. They need to really feel overwhelmed. They need their squad to essentially undergo fireplace and flame as a result of earned victory is all of the sweeter. The fixed-order Skulls gave these gamers a foe worthy of their blade, since they have been assured to run into some satisfyingly brutal Skulls by the top of every spherical.

We landed on the “streak” nature of the mechanic as one thing to reinforce the expertise for these kinds of gamers. It feels nice to have your Skull streak on the road when the Boss Wave reveals up within the fourth hill and you really want to grit your tooth and preserve your teammates alive with out shedding the purpose.

Halo Infinite screenshot of a Brute Chieftain and Brute Warrior in a hill on the House of Reckoning

The different sort of participant we noticed performs Firefight for a really totally different motive. These of us look to Firefight as an escape from the sweat of multiplayer. And whereas they don’t need it to be really easy that it’s boring, they actually simply need to sit back with their pals and shoot the breeze whereas they shoot some aliens.

Unavoidable Skulls, particularly the robust ones like Black Eye and Blind, minimize in opposition to this participant sort. They make you focus 110% on the sport by elevating the stakes, however that may truly take the main target away from what motivates these gamers—having a calming time with their pals. We landed on the no-death mechanic as a way of retaining Skulls out of the way in which for these kinds of gamers, since gamers who’re simply round to goof off will naturally accumulate some deaths in common gameplay (and subsequently gained’t encounter Skulls). In this fashion, the sport tries to match no matter vitality your foyer is bringing.

Since we noticed PvE as a technique to construct on that “occasion shooter” vibe that brings individuals collectively and makes Halo really feel so distinctive, we wished to make a change to assist this group with out sacrificing problem for the gamers who wished it. The purpose right here is to offer gamers that care about problem one thing to try for as a staff, and on the identical time to be principally invisible to gamers who’re simply on the lookout for a very good time with their pals.

And lastly, within the spirit of letting you play Halo the way in which you need to play—now we have Custom Game choices that can allow you to allow these legacy behaviors. You can use the Fixed setting to make the Skulls come on separately after every hill no matter who obtained the purpose, and we even have a None setting that can cease the mode from enabling Skulls in any respect. That final possibility will let minigame scripters activate Skulls with no matter logic they need utilizing Node Graph. More on that within the Forge part beneath.

Halo Infinite screenshot of a node graph for bosses and Skulls

What Skulls are in Firefight: King of the Hill?

The Skulls obtainable on this mode are as follows: 

  • Fog – disables movement tracker.
  • Catch – AI enemies throw and drop extra grenades.
  • Famine – weapons dropped by AI enemies have half the ammo they usually would.
  • Thunderstorm – upgrades the rank of most AI enemies.
  • Mythic – AI enemies have considerably elevated well being.
  • Black Eye – your shields solely recharge while you melee enemies.

Additionally, there’s a (very) small likelihood you’ll get one of many following Skulls enabled in the beginning of a spherical. These Skulls don’t enhance the problem, however they do make for some enjoyable moments!

  • Boom – doubles explosion radius.
  • Cowbell – acceleration from explosions is elevated.
  • Grunt Birthday Party – Grunt headshots result in superb celebrations.
  • Bandana – grants limitless ammo and grenades, and removes tools cooldown.
  • IWHBYD – uncommon fight dialogue turns into extra frequent, and vice versa.

Note: the Blind Skull, which hides first-person HUD components and view-models, is not within the pool for the mode, however it’s obtainable to Custom Games by way of Node Graph scripting.

TL;DR on the Firefight: KOTH variations from survival Firefight:

  • Players get factors by capturing a hill and killing the Boss Wave for that hill, not simply surviving.
  • If the Spartans fail to carry the hill, the Banished will seize it as a substitute.
  • No extra shared lifepool; You have just one life, however your teammates can revive you want in Attrition. All Spartans downed on the identical time will finish the spherical immediately.
  • You can use Custom Game choices to get traditional Lifepool settings.
  • Players earn Skulls by successful hills with out dying, and Skulls stack.
Halo Infinite screenshot of an Elite Warlord, Jackal, and Brute Chosen Warrior in Firefight: KOTH

How will Firefight: King of the Hill assist me progress my Operation or Battle Pass?

In Matchmaking, you’ll get a small quantity of Match XP only for enjoying. Additionally, you’ll get bonus XP for a win, which is capturing 3 of the 5 hills. Successfully capturing the fourth and fifth hill will every give an extra XP bonus.

Slaying Banished foes will award Personal Score all through the whole spherical that can stage up your Career Rank, and Skulls can even web gamers a stacking Personal Score bonus on the finish of every spherical gained for each Skull that’s enabled.

What maps will I have the ability to play at launch?

We have 9 maps obtainable when Firefight: King of the Hill launches with the December 2023 Update, which incorporates three community-made maps, 5 present developer-made maps, and the brand new House of Reckoning map from Halo Infinite’s marketing campaign.

The 9 maps featured within the Firefight: King of the Hill playlist are:

  • House of Reckoning
  • Behemoth
  • Deadlock
  • Launch Site
  • Live Fire
  • Oasis
  • Exiled (by Epetr0, SandoChokUN)
  • Kusini Bay (by Mr Kwatz)
  • Vallaheim (by HaiseOz)

What type of Custom Game choices can be found?

We’ve talked about a few of the levers you’ll be able to pull in Custom Games to alter your Firefight: KOTH expertise to fit your style. We wished to supply up a wealth of choices to feed your Custom Game Browser nights and allow you to play Halo the way in which you need to play. You can determine what components of the mode might be lively; you’ll be able to change how Lives, Revives, and Skulls are used; you’ll be able to tweak hill seize timers, and even override which models spawn in every wave.

Here are screencaps of the numerous Custom Game choices you’ll get your fingers on at launch!

And for the Forgers on the market, you’ll discover that Firefight: KOTH is probably the most built-in with Forge and Node Graph scripting but. You can set the mode to make use of the enemy definitions straight out of your spawners and make the hills spawn within the fastened order, paving the way in which for linear, wave-based missions.

The Skulls we transformed to multiplayer are additionally obtainable by Node Graph to make use of in any recreation mode. And the AI Wave Manager nodes that we have been in a position to get to gamers early with the launch of Season 5 is identical one we constructed for Firefight: KOTH. That means you’ll have the ability to hook into mode occasions to run customized logic when waves begin or finish.

For instance, utilizing the brand new Wave Type output pin, this pattern script would run any time the mode begins a Boss Wave. Then it will decide two random models and ship each Grunt of their squad into an explosive frenzy.

We can’t wait to see what horrors and delights you’ll inflict on all of us within the Custom Game Browser come launch!

Here we go! Next wave’s coming in. Get set, Spartans. This is gonna get sizzling!

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