Halo Alpha
Halo Alpha

“Welcome to the last day of the rest of your life.”
Reach E310 Firefight Beachhead06

SPARTAN-IIIs in Halo: Reach Firefight.

Firefight is a single or cooperative campaign mode in Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach, where up to four players can co-operate with one another via system link or Xbox Live and fight against waves of Covenant attackers. This mode allows them to battle in multiple environments based on campaign maps, on foot or in vehicles, and against increasingly difficult waves of Covenant attackers.[2] Halo: Reach's Firefight has a large number of customization options and new features, including Matchmaking support,[3] as well as many new game modes such as Generator Defense and the Versus Mode. 343 Industries had stated that no plan existed for Firefight in Halo 4, and that it would be succeeded with the new "Spartan Ops" mode, in which missions are released weekly, and slowly unfold into a separate story.


“Problem is, we got alien bastards in the house. Each new wave means more bad guys. Five waves make up a round. Three rounds in a set. Sounds easy, huh? Wrong! See these skulls? When they activate, they turn a casual Covenant make-out session into a full-on test of your manly prowess!”

Halo 3: ODST[]

H3ODST Firefight SecurityZone3

ODSTs facing a Brute Chieftain and a Jackal in Firefight.

“Built on top of Halo 3: ODST's campaign, Firefight is a cooperative game mode that lets you and up to three of your friends put your skills to the ultimate test. It allows you to jump straight into the heart of Halo and experience traditional Halo sandbox encounters with a new, high octane twist. Though you’ve squared off against most of the enemies you’ll face in Firefight before, you’re not going to be able to rely on your past experiences alone to guide you through all of the action. In Firefight, even the most "harmless" enemy can become a dangerous threat when you’re low on ammo, low on lives, and have your back against the wall. Throw game play modifying skulls into the mix and you'll find that the combat can become even more interesting and intense.”
— Bungie.net description

Firefight has no limit to the waves of enemies, and continues until the squad has completely run out of lives. There are five Waves in a Round and three Rounds in a Set. The Set, Round, and Wave can be seen at the top left side of the player's screen. The Set number is represented by a number from one to infinity; the Round is represented by a circle, going from left to right; the Wave is represented by five slanted vertical boxes, going from left to right.

In the beginning of Firefight, the squad will share seven lives between all of the players.

At the end of a round, there will be a brief pause where the players will be allowed to collect ammo and regroup with their squad mates. Their scores are shown in the top right of the screen, with the team score being on the top.[5]

To increase difficulty throughout the game and increase the multiplier for kills, skulls are activated between rounds and sets. Three skulls are assigned to rounds (Tough Luck, Catch and Black Eye), three skulls are assigned to sets (Tilt, Famine and Mythic), and one skull assigned to the Bonus Round (Iron). Regardless of the difficulty, the Tough Luck skull will be enabled from the start. With each new round and set, more skulls become enabled, more than one at a time. If one person can stay alive, they will be awarded with higher scores and medals. Though each enemy class is worth a base number of points, earning medals can modify the player's tally as they go.[6]

Additionally, once a team has survived a Set, they will go on to the Bonus Round. Because it is only a Bonus Round, any deaths will not be subtracted from the overall life pool, and as the Iron Skull is activated at the start, the player cannot respawn until time runs out. The Bonus Round provides players a chance to earn extra lives before the next Set. Extra lives will be unlocked every 2,000 points scored after the beginning of the round. The Bonus Round consists entirely of Grunts while all the skulls are turned on.[7]

If one scores a total of 200,000 points on any map in Firefight, they will unlock an achievement which is available for every map (except for the "night" missions, which will unlock an achievement for their daytime counterparts), making Firefight have a total of eight achievements worthy of 10 gamerpoints each.

Halo: Reach[]

“It’s official. Firefight is back and better than ever. To get your drool on, go ahead and salivate over a Firefight that’s fully integrated into Halo: Reach’s matchmaking and topped off with an insane side of complete player customization, right down to each Set, Round, and Wave. And that’s just the beginning of the control you have over the experience.”
— Bungie.net description[8]

The game mechanics featured in Halo 3: ODST return for the Firefight mode featured in Halo: Reach. Eight maps ship with Halo: Reach: Beachhead, Corvette, Courtyard, Glacier, Holdout, Outpost, Overlook, and Waterfront.

In addition, Firefight will now consist of a multitude of gametypes. "Classic Mode," as the name suggests, has the same rules as ODST's version of Firefight, while Default mode ends after a single set is completed, or the players run out of lives. Generator Defense also makes a return as a Firefight gametype, accompanied by Rocket Fight, which is similar to matchmaking's Rockets. Given Firefights' new matchmaking support, there will also be Firefight-specific commendations, updated on a daily or weekly basis, that will earn the player bonus credits upon their completion. Customization options have been greatly expanded, including options to alter weapons, maps, game duration, and enemy behavior.[9] The player will also be able to create up to three customized skulls of their own for use in Firefight.[3] The appearance of your custom Noble Six character from Campaign will carry over to Firefight, with a selection of voices from other characters to choose from (including characters from past games, such as John-117, Cortana, and Sergeant Johnson).

Reach Firefight Versus1

Two Elites square-off against a Spartan in Halo: Reach's Firefight Versus gametype.

At the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con, Bungie revealed a new Firefight gametype called Firefight Versus.[10] This new 2v2 matchmaking gametype features a team-slayer style function focusing on UNSC versus Covenant warfare. It is very unique in that it is the first gametype to ever feature Covenant allies. Players will either be Spartans or Elites, and those that are chosen to be Elites are aided by other Covenant troops all the way from Grunts and Jackals to Brutes. The objective of this gametype is to simply slay the opposing force and to rack up as many points as possible. Spartans will score points by either killing Elites (the opposing players) or the other Covenant forces (AI-controlled enemies). Additionally Spartans will have a limited pool of lives (similar to ODST's Firefight Mode) that will deplete as a teammate or a player is killed. However, Spartans will gain an additional life and a large amount of points for each Elite they kill (only the player-controlled Elites will get an extra life, not other AI-controlled Covenant forces) making the Elites a strategic target amongst the battalions of Covenant forces. Elites have infinite lives in this gametype and will receive no points for kills, however their statistics will be shown in a full Post-Game Carnage Report, as will the Spartans. Special medals will be earned by both Elites and Spartans in this gametype, as well. Time is another factor that can determine the outcome of this gametype, as rounds are broken up into a specific amount of time to either defeat the opponent by killing them, or by scoring more points than the other players as Spartans, seeing as only Spartans can score points. Every player will have the chance to be both Spartans and Elites, and after each round, players switch roles to ensure a fair balance of play. Basically, the team who has the most points at the end of the rounds wins the match.


A smattering of Grunts seen in the new Firefight Gruntocalypse gametype.

Other gametypes were revealed by Bungie, such as the Gruntpocalypse Firefight gametype.[11] This gametype is quite similar to the Bonus Rounds in Halo 3: ODST where Grunts pour in the map in a seemingly endless flood, throwing lethal grenades all over the place and ensuring that chaos ensues.

Score Attack is another Firefight gametype revealed by Bungie. In Score Attack, players will not be able to customize the gametype at all, and all waves will be standardized. Every game will essentially be the same (except the players' reactions); this allows Bungie to create leaderboards with this gametype that pertain to skill and other factors, and can be fully tracked in-game and on Bungie.net along with other Halo: Reach stats.[11]

It should further be noted that all Firefight gametypes listed here can be customized fully except for Score Attack. Another briefly mentioned gametype, Sniper Fight, was revealed in an interview. As the name suggests, the player's loadouts will all have Sniper Rifles with Infinite ammo. Another gametype revealed after Reach's release was Crashsite, were the player has 0 lives and must protect 1 Generator. To help protect it, the player is given an overshield.

As of the October 2010 Update part 2, Firefight Matchmaking games are no longer 1 round, and are now one set. As of the same update, in the Score Attack Matchmaking, Crashsite is longer be available, and is replaced with Mythic Score Attack, which is the same as Score Attack, except with the Mythic Skull on. Also with this update, Glacier is included in Firefight matchmaking and Score Attack.


Johnson vs

Players who pre-ordered a copy of Halo 3: ODST received a code to play as Sergeant Johnson in Firefight.

In Halo 3: ODST, there are 7 playable characters in Firefight. Almost every character is acquired by different means, most of them unlocked by earning achievements. Players are allowed to customize their emblem, background, color (which now includes formerly unavailable ones: black, olive, etc.) and Service Tags (which now allow any combination of up to four characters), much like in Halo 3 multiplayer. The player's helmets are removable (with the exception of the Rookie, who never has his face revealed, and Johnson, who does not have a helmet), but it has no effect on game play in any way: your VISR is still available, even though it is the vision mode of the ODST's helmet.

In Halo: Reach, instead of playing as the characters themselves, the player will retain their variation of SPARTAN-B312, but have a choice of a "Firefight voice." The Firefight voice selected will be the player's voice in gameplay.[12]

Halo 3: ODST[]

Halo: Reach[]

Firefight Voices

Some Firefight voices in Reach, from top left - Noble Six, Carter, Jorge, Auntie Dot, Marcus Stacker, Buck, Jun, Emile, Kat, Johnson, Cortana, and John.

The voices listed below are seen as available items in the Armory from the start, Noble Six being the only default.[13]


Halo 3: ODST[]

Firefight in Halo 3: ODST has eight maps[14] to choose from (half are acquired by unlocking achievements, and two of the maps, Crater and Rally Point, have Night variants). The maps are as follows:

Halo: Reach[]

Firefight in Halo: Reach has a total of 10 maps (8 of which are unlocked by default, while two are acquired via DLC). The maps are as follows:


  • In Halo 3: ODST player can turn on any of the four Silver Skulls at the start: Blind, Cowbell, Grunt Birthday, and IWHBYD; their effects are the same as in previous Halo games.
  • In Halo 3: ODST, the Firefight maps use exact geometry from the campaign. In addition, every map regardless of size, only has four Health Packs that regenerate at the end of each Round, so it is wise that each player grabs only one Health Pack instead of competing over them.
  • In Halo 3: ODST, no map in Firefight features the Assault Rifle or Flamethrower. These weapons appear in ODST's campaign, but were excluded from Firefight for unknown reasons.
  • Firefight was originally going to be introduced in Halo 3 as opposed to Halo 3: ODST, but due to time constraints, it was not included in the former.[15]
  • Firefight in Halo: Reach is commonly referred to as "Firefight 2.0."[note 1]
  • In Halo: Reach, all Firefight Matchmaking matches are by default set on Heroic difficulty.
  • In Halo: Reach only: On the bonus round, if the dropship takes major damage (though sometimes you just have to destroy the turret), it will start rolling from side to side, spilling its cargo all over the map. This adds an extremely comical effect, as it is uncommon to see a dropship rolling from side to side, especially on Corvette, as the dropship starts to roll through the walls. The dropship will also do the same if players try to stand on top of it through use of jetpacks, in an attempt to shake them off.
  • A special group of enemies called Heretic Elites can be fought in Firefight 2.0 who wield Human weapons. The lethality of the weapon increases with the rank of the Elite.
  • In Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, friendly AI (in the form of Marines and ODSTs) appear, a first in Firefight history.
  • In Halo: Reach, one set is exactly 117 enemies, this may be a coincidence or a reference to John-117.
  • At the end of the Bonus Round, all AI characters on the map automatically die whether or not the player kills them.



  1. In sources regarding Firefight in Halo: Reach, Bungie employees refer to Firefight as "Firefight 2.0."