It seems 343 and Microsoft have answered my prayers issued way back earlier this year (see my post here). Halo Wars 2 is a thing! And more importantly, it is coming out Fall 2016. We haven’t seen any gameplay at all, but what we do know is that it is being developed by Creative Assembly, the team that continues to bring us the Total War games. The team specifically developing Halo Wars 2 is the team that brought us Alien: Isolation last year, along with some help from former Ensemble Studio veterans and Total War figures. We also know that Halo Wars 2 will closely resemble the original game in style, and will continue where the story of the last game left off. So below are the features I want featured in Halo Wars 2, not knowing much about the game at all! Let the speculation run wild!
#1. A larger population cap
|Battles like this please!|
This one is a given since we are working with more capable hardware, but the limiting population cap in the original Halo Wars made it so the only feasible option for many engagements was spamming a certain type of unit against another. This is in stark contrast to a game like Star Craft, where diversity is what will ultimately win the battle. What I want to see in Halo Wars 2 is a population cap that will allow for each army to consist of a variety of units, instead of just a collection of the same fully upgraded unit. 50 for the UNSC and 60 for the Covenant could likely be doubled with the Xbox One and Windows 10.
#2. A wider selection of commanders for the UNSC and Covenant
In Halo Wars there are three different commanders for the UNSC and Covenant for skirmishes and multiplayer, each with their own set of special abilities, units, buildings, and in the Covenant’s case
“Hero” characters to lead your army. This idea was a unique way of adding variety and strategy to the pre-game mix, and in my opinion it should be more widely followed in the RTS community (Dawn of War 2 also did this, and it was awesome). This could be blown wide open in Halo Wars 2 – why not have up to 10 different commanders for each army? That would add a level of pre-game strategy and team building that the first game established. Lets build on that, Creative Assembly.
#3. Un-fixed base building
Base building and upgrading in Halo Wars was restricted to pre-designated areas on the map, and you were restricted to a small grid to work with. You could claim more bases, but again they were pre-designated areas, leaving each map to have pre-designated areas of control. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and in fact worked quite well. But I believe that removing the rigid grid to work with and expanding on where you can put your facilities would be a bonus for Halo Wars 2. I won’t be mad if they just improve off of the original grid system, but Creative Assembly has a real opportunity to expand the dynamics of the game by allowing players to build where they want to, not where they have to.
#4. 5 vs 5 online battles
Halo Wars had up to 3vs3 battles – I want bigger battles. A good 3vs3 game could last hours, but why not expand it to 5vs5? It would be hectic. I think that the Xbox One could handle it, and lord knows PC would be fine with it. This would also allow the full use of the up to 10 commanders I was talking about earlier. Again, it would add another dynamic to the field, as you now have to worry about more types of units on the field.
#5. Strong post-launch support
As great as Halo Wars was, it only received a few small and mediocre DLC packs and updates. For the most part, the online community (which is still active) kept itself alive. I understand that this has a lot to do with Ensemble Studios closing after the release of Halo Wars, but what I would like to see is some meaningful expansions for Halo Wars 2, in the form of campaign missions, maybe a horde-type mode, and of course more multiplayer maps. Even army skins would be a neat idea – imagine a skin where everything has flames painted on it?
#6. Survival/Horde mode
As mentioned in the previous post, a super fun way to expand the lifetime of Halo Wars 2 would be to add a cooperative Horde style mode into the game. Imagine you and a few friends tasked with spending limited resources to defend against an ever-improving wave of enemy units? Different maps for this would also be a lot of fun.
#7. NO FLOOD
|Dawn of War: Dark Crusade’s Conquest mode|
Halo Wars had some flood in it, and though they weren’t playable, they were extremely annoying. They do not need to be in the game – a suitable replacement would be a Promethean A.I. that only activates under certain protocols.
#8. A “Global Conquest” or “Galactic Conquest” mode
|Something like this would be amazing in Halo Wars 2|
Imagine a mode in Halo Wars where you are tasked with taking over certain territories and resources across a wide spectrum of worlds, or a very detailed individual world? This has been done masterfully in the Dawn of War series as well as Star Wars Battlefront II. This would also add another layer of re playability to the series. There is nothing like it on the RTS market right now. Also, I believe that Halo Wars 2 provides a unique opportunity to explore the thick lore of the Halo Universe by doing a mode like this. Different planets with different levels of resistance, terrain, resources, and native units.
#9. Windows 10/Xbox One cross play and cross buy
Halo Wars 2 is confirmed for Windows 10 and Xbox One – why not make it cross play and cross buy? Halo Wars, unfortunately, is not a game that people will buy an Xbox One for. It is a game that certainly strengthens the library of the Xbox One, and having it on Windows 10 expands its audience even further. If the game had cross buy that would make a lot of Windows 10 and Xbox One players very happy, giving both audiences a reason to own both platforms. Cross-play could also feature cross saving, and having matches between Windows 10 and Xbox One would be a lot of fun. Immediately this reveals a big advantage to Windows 10 players as a mouse and keyboard are more suited for RTS games, despite Halo Wars having excellent and refined console controls. This playing field can be levelled by integrating mouse and keyboard support on the Xbox One for the game. This feature has already been confirmed by Xbox, so hopefully that feature will be implemented in Halo Wars 2. The player base could potentially double if they pull this feature off right. Phil Spencer confirmed that it “Makes Sense” to include mouse and keyboard support for the game here.
#10. Space battles
Space battles in Halo Wars 2 would be nothing short of epic. The Covenant (at this point in the Halo time line) have a huge advantage in galactic battles over the UNSC. This could be a very interesting engagement in a number of different contexts. First of all, it could have ramifications for ground engagements in the conquest mode I was speaking about earlier. It could also provide for some intense mulitplayer 5vs5 battles with hundreds of ships engaging. Lastly, not having a home base in an RTS would be a very dangerous but interesting concept to engage in. Sure, your capital ship can spit out ships to fight with, but in reality you only have a certain amount of ships on each side to use, making each engagement that much more meaningful. Limited units to fight the enemy with in space would be a great addition to Halo Wars 2.
We’re not going to see much at all on Halo Wars 2 until next year, 343 confirmed it themselves on their last post. They also posted here how they have been reading community blog posts on the game and what it should include and not include, and they have taken that feedback to heart… I wonder if they read my post on Why Halo Wars 2 Should be a Thing! Maybe they will read this one as well.
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