Can Halo Reach be Revived with Backwards Compatibility?
For many of us, Halo Reach holds a very special place in our hearts. It was the last Halo game Bungie would ever work on due to years of conflict with Microsoft. Halo Reach also had a completely different story line, which separated it from the original Halo series. In the story, an elite group of six Spartans by the name of Team Noble would do everything in their power to defend their precious planet Reach from a swarm of Covenant invasions. Halo Reach takes place in between the time of Halo: CE and Halo 2 which means the game provides fans with with a lot of information on untold battles and conflicts Humans had against the Covenant back in Reach.
Other than its very unique story, Reach also provided players with a new style of gameplay. Many of the general mechanics, such as jumping, were tweaked and new features such as sprint and armor abilities were added to enhance the player's experience. Halo Reach also provided players with a new and improved Forge as well as a massive map called Forge World to build on. This would eventually help fans create several highly respected maps and machinimas. Even to this day, many Forgers chose Halo Reach Forge over any other Forge due to its great features.
During Halo Reach’s early years, many fell in love with its multiplayer. Halo Reach arguably had the best multiplayer compared to any other Halo, mainly due to the large number of playlists players could choose from. Halo Reach also had a very simple multiplayer menu layout, making it very easy for players to see when their friends were playing so that they could invite them to their game.
Although Halo Reach had many benefits, it also had its fair share of flaws. To start, most of the maps it launched with were massive and were not suitable for the competitive community. The few arena-sized maps that were playable were not suitable for all game types, so the community relied on Forgers to create maps for competitive needs. Another problem that aggravated many competitive Halo players was a new feature Bungie added called Bloom. Basically, Bloom made the reticle on you rifle expand as you continued to fire. This would cause your shots to be less accurate and made you lose gunfights. This caused a major debate within the competitive community and eventually Bloom was disabled from competitive Halo. The last major problem Reach had was its armor abilities and sprint. Many felt that these abilities were needed for Halo’s evolution to become a popular next generation shooter while others disagreed with this statement, believing that Halo would only survive if it stayed true to the original mechanics. Eventually, all armor abilities including sprint would be disabled from competitive Halo. Once these three problems were resolved, Halo's competitive community started to grow once again, with many fans coming back and enjoying the major changes the competitive community made to enhance the experience.
Halo Reach, in my eyes, was a two-year battle within the community. I got to enjoy many great things about the game but saw many players decline due to the hardship of Bungie trying to adapt to the newer generation of shooters. In the end, I believe Halo Reach was a success. It was able to do what no later Halo was able to, which was satisfy both the competitive and casual community.
We have seen 343i struggle to find this middle ground in every Halo since, including Halo 5, and I believe this is because 343i’s priority is not focused on casual play but more focused on building Halo around a competitive culture. Although this is neglecting the casual community, this is a gamble worth taking to preserve the next few years of the franchise. When you look at most other eSports, including Call of Duty, you will notice that the developers have taken better care of their competitive community as of late. Many developers are going as far as to host multi-million dollar events to keep the competitive players active and competing on their game and not another. This is because developers are now starting to notice the great effect a strong competitive community has on a game's population, and numbers that big are impossible for a developer to ignore.
Although many developers are now taking good care of their competitive community to preserve the strong population they already have, 343i is taking this approach to grow their community and bring it back to its former glory. With that being said, I see 343i continuing to support the competitive community more than the casual community for the coming years. Although this is going to greatly hurt the casual side, I believe a great way to help keep this community satisfied until Halo 6 is to offer a revived version of Halo Reach on the Xbox One.
When you look at Halo Reach in the recent years, you will see that it’s community has managed to keep the game active and populated without 343i’s support, which is impressive considering the great fall Halo 4 had. This is because Halo Reach provides players with such a unique Halo experience that many have decided to stay with Reach 'till the end. There are thousands of Halo fans who would love to relive a fun era with Halo Reach being on the Xbox One. I believe 343i can revive this game by offering it more support once it becomes backwards compatible. Cycling the playlist as well as updating some maps and game types would help keep the community active.
I don’t know if 343i is willing or even able to offer Halo Reach this kind of support, but I do know that 343i does have a casual community to take care of and in the recent weeks since Halo 5’s launch, 343i has not done that. 343i’s push to improve the competitive community is something that I approve of, but neglecting the casual community by making a Halo game that only has 1 playlist that is non-ranked is not fair to them, especially considering that they have already paid $60 expecting a game they could enjoy. Halo Reach being backwards compatible soon is very big for the community and I do believe that Reach can be revived, it simply needs more support from 343i and a larger population of players.
What do you think about Halo Reach being backwards compatible? Do you think 343i will show some support to the Halo Reach community? Let me know in the comments section below.