Halo progressing to open world is a natural evolution imo.In what way?
Currently there's no good jumping point from the campaign which is in any way semi-open to an open world game. It's very linear.
I do not know any players that did not want to explore the Halo ring in Halo CE. Exploring Halo rings is something many of us have dreamed of since day one.My kids think the idea of eating strawberries or ice cream is far more appealing than actually eating either. I have no idea why.
However, I do have a good understanding of why the idea of exploring a Halo ring is far more appealing than I assume it would be to actually do it.
So, open world.
As with many things, one isn't objectively better than the other. Linear lends itself far better to tell a cohesive story with urgent matters, far more so than open world games. My Skyrim playthrough? Never completed the main quest, which itself seemed very dire, as the world was about to end soon if someone didn't stop the big baddy. Two - three years later in-game and the threat was exactly where I had left it to do everything else.
Of course you could fix that with a time-limit ala Dead Rising, but you'll soon find that exploration is very limited, you'll start stressing about doing the missions and that isn't always very fun, especially on the first go when time barely seem to be enough.
Then there's the world itself.
Pretending we get an entire Halo ring to explore, and ignore all the space it'd require as well as all the man power it'd need to make an appealing environment everywhere, you'd need to travel places. Given the massive scale of a ring, you'd spend the majority of game time traveling, or getting lost in the ring's labyrinth inner workings. Fast travel sure is an option but that alone defeats the purpose of the open world aspect. The scale would also make massive open spaces with nothing of interest at all, it'd be very barren. Littering the world with "points of interest" lead to a cluttered map either feeling repetitive, or not vast at all. Vistas then, once you've seen it, that's it. A mountain range is a mountain range, what's going to change if you go there?
How about things to do? Constant encounters without little progress or rewards quickly become tiresome, looking for endless secrets become dull and endless travel isn't exciting. What are you going to do once you reach the impressive mountain range? It's large rocks.
Have a secret there? A base? Caves? What's going to be there? How is it supposed to differ from other mountain ranges? Does it make sense that every single location hold one or more secrets? Something to explore?
Now let's say they actually manage to make exploration exciting and fun in the long run, what is there to explore? There's most likely going to be a very repetitive pattern in most things to explore, resulting in "if you've seen one you've seen them all".
You'll need a completely different type of game than how Halo had handeled before, to make an open-world Halo actually work well.
So it seems to me that you’ve made up your mind already and you do not want an open world Halo game, and that’s totally fine. I respect your opinion completely and you’re definitely not alone.
However, as someone who does want an open world Halo game, I feel like I could easily solve all of the potential problems you listed. You wrote a fair amount but I’m just gonna touch on a few things:
Your Skyrim example is very valid and 343 would definitely have to come up with a way to make the story too important for the player to ignore. One thing that comes to mind is making certain areas of the open world not playable until it’s unlocked by completing a certain mission or even a handful of them. Maybe the areas are separated by massive rivers, mountains, or other natural boundaries, and after competing a number of missions, the story progresses and a pelican is now ready to ferry you to the next area. Or maybe an area is blocked by a covenant/banished base, and once you get to the mission where you siege the base and destroy it, you can no progress. Those are just a few solutions from me, and I’m sure the professionals at 343 could do even better. And you’re right, the time limit idea you mentioned would definitely be lame so that’s probably not the way to go.
You also mentioned that’s you’re fearful 343 wouldn’t fill the world with enough content, and you’re also afraid they might fill it with too much to do. I’m not sure how to help you there haha. Maybe when you get to the impressive mountain range there IS a cave, or a base, or a forerunner structure, why not? The rewards for exploring these places could be really cool. Maybe there are forerunner pieces of tech that can be used to unlock knee cosmetic gear in multiplayer. Maybe there are legendary weapons in there, and if you collect one then you’ll have it in your armory and can equip it while at your base (not mid mission, forcing you to drop it and find a new weapons when it’s ammo/energy is depleted, continuing the Halo traditional strategies). Maybe you find tech that can update the grenades you use, or upgraded thrusters (if they are in infinite), or upgraded sprint speed, etc. and this would all be for campaign of course, no gameplay upgrades will transfer to multiplayer to keep matchmaking balanced.
And your points about getting bored exploring, or a mountain range not changing if you go there multiple times... those things can easily be applied to a linear campaign. Every time I play silent cartographer and get to the middle of the island it’s the same thing, same enemies, same terminal (anniversary), same mission goal, and yet we all love playing it. It’s the same with open world.
Sorry I ended up tryping our more that I initially thought haha but I’m passionate about this! My point of this response is to show you that open world can easily work if you WANT it too. I’m sure before Breath of the Wild came out, people could have made the same points you did about why Zelda shouldn’t be open world. You could copy and paste the points you made and it would be a very valid viewpoint. BUT, BotW was released, and it was a huge success, and the developers made it work. Us Halo fans already have a rough draft for open world Halo and it’s ODST. Expland on ODST’s concepts! Once you play a campaign mission in game, it’s unlocked on the menu screen. Maybe the same could be done for side missions too! That way, if some one gets bored of exploring and only wants to play the campaign, they can rush from one area to the other with no consequences and stay in the action of the campaign. Then they can just select the missions they want to play afterwards and never enter the open world again.
Pun not intended, but there are an INFINTE number of ways this could work, you just have to want it. And if the massive team of professional and talented designers at 343 want it, then you better believe they can get the job done! Hope I gave you a new perspective on the whole concept, and if not then thanks for reading! haha