Halo has been a flagship Xbox franchise since the original Halo: Combat Evolved debuted on the original console back in 2001. It’s been about 2.5 years since the last flagship Halo title appeared, and plenty of game publications have bet on seeing Halo at E3 this year. We still don’t know if there’s going to be a console Halo title in the works for E3, but Microsoft does have a Halo game to talk about — it’s just not one you’ll be playing in your living room. Halo: Fireteam Raven is a four-person team-up that you play at an arcade on a 130-inch 4K panel.
Fireteam Raven is a light-gun shooter that sees you teaming up with up to three other people (and Master Chief in-game) as you battle through areas last visited during Halo: Combat Evolved. It’s going to be deployed exclusively at Dave Busters arcades in the US and Canada, with deployment to other locations coming later this year. The game won’t even be available at all Dave Busters — the installation apparently eats some 11 cubic feet, which isn’t a small footprint.
“Arcade games are a wholly different challenge compared to console and PC gaming,” said Kiki Wolfkill, Head of Halo Transmedia at 343 Studios. “We’ve learned a tremendous amount as we worked with Raw Thrills to make this happen.”
Raw Thrills specializes in light-gun shooters, and it’s one of the last developers of arcade games in America. The specs on this system are beastly, and the gameplay loop looks interesting — you’ll cycle through a variety of weapons while playing sidekick to Master Chief, including needlers, magnums, and Warthog-mounted turrets. Hopefully in this game, the Warthog won’t have the same approximate weight as a napkin and doesn’t tip over if breathed on heavily.
The per-play price hasn’t been publicized, but I’d be stunned if it’s anything approaching reasonable. The days of 25-50 cents a play are long over, with $1.50 or even $2.00 now seemingly common — or “common,” given that finding an arcade with games in it is now an unusual event.
I genuinely hate to write this — I loved arcades when I was young — but it’s not even clear what the point is to releasing an arcade title at a very limited number of businesses is in 2018. Halo will remain a flagship franchise no matter whether this title performs well, but it’s not clear how many fans of Halo cooperative play also live near either a Dave Busters or any arcade with the floor space to install this kind of game and can afford to actually play it.