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Which Halo Difficulty is Canon?

OP Riprollonect13

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This is my own opinion on each level:

Halo Reach
  1. Winter Contingency - Normal
  2. ONI: Sword Base - Heroic
  3. Nightfall - Heroic
  4. Tip of The Spear - Heroic
  5. Long Night of Solace - Legendary
  6. Exodus - Normal
  7. New Alexandria - Heroic
  8. The Package - Normal
  9. The Pillar of Autumn - Legendary
  10. Lone Wolf - Normal
Halo CE
  1. The Pillar of Autumn - Legendary
  2. Halo - Normal
  3. The Truth and Reconciliation - Legendary
  4. The Silent Cartographer - Legendary
  5. Assault on the Control Room - Normal
  6. 343 Guilty Spark - Normal
  7. The Library - Heroic
  8. Two Betrayals - Legendary
  9. Keyes - Legendary
  10. The Maw - Heroic
Halo 2
  1. Cairo Station - Heroic
  2. Outskirts - Normal
  3. Metropolis - Normal
  4. The Arbiter - Heroic
  5. The Oracle - Heroic
  6. Delta Halo - Heroic
  7. Regret - Legendary
  8. Sacred Icon - Heroic
  9. Quarantine Zone - Normal
  10. Gravemind - Heroic
  11. Uprising - Normal
  12. High Charity - Heroic
  13. The Great Journey - Heroic
Halo 3: ODST
  1. Mombasa Streets - Heroic
  2. Tayari Plaza - Legendary
  3. Uplift Reserve - Legendary
  4. Kizingo Boulevard - Legendary
  5. ONI Alpha Site - Legendary
  6. NMPD HQ - Legendary
  7. Kikowani Station - Legendary
  8. Data Hive - Legendary
  9. Coastal Highway - Legendary
Halo 3
  1. Sierra 117 - Normal
  2. Crow's Nest - Heroic
  3. Tsavo Highway - Normal
  4. The Storm - Heroic
  5. Floodgate - Legendary
  6. The Ark - Heroic
  7. The Covenant - Legendary
  8. Cortana - Legendary
  9. Halo - Heroic
Halo 4
  1. Dawn - Heroic
  2. Requiem - Normal
  3. Forerunner - Heroic
  4. Infinity - Heroic
  5. Reclaimer - Normal
  6. Shutdown - Heroic
  7. Composer - Heroic
  8. Midnight - Legendary
Halo 5
  1. Osiris - Normal
  2. Blue Team - Normal
  3. Glassed - Normal
  4. Unconfirmed - Heroic
  5. Evacuation - Heroic
  6. Reunion - Normal
  7. Swords of Sanghelios - Heroic
  8. Enemy Lines - Heroic
  9. Battle of Sunaion - Legendary
  10. Genesis - Heroic
  11. The Breaking - Legendary
Guardians - Heroic
I have seen Luke TheNotable's video, and I see his arguments, but I honestly do not think the Master Chief could have survived several decades of war against Insurrectionists and the Covenant on Heroic difficulty. Sure, he has the skill, but there are some things like getting sniped by Sniper Jackals on Halo 2 Legendary where skill doesn't always save you. At one point, Chief would have died, or Noble Six would have died, or Keyes would have died in The Truth and Reconciliation, or something where maybe you end up in some unlucky circumstance. At least on Normal you have some chance.

By the way, nobody else has said anything about the The Master Chief Saga playlist being set to Normal difficulty.
Most games pre set difficulty is normal, that’s “normal” for a game to be pre set like that.

As for the canon difficulty, I don’t believe there is one, however in my personal opinion Herioc is viewed widely as the canon difficulty.
In Halo The Flood, the book specifically mentions that chief finds two shotguns by the crashed pelican on the level 343 guilty spark which in Halo Combat evolved on the mission the same mission on easy, there are two shot gun near the pelican
In Halo Combat Evolved, there are two shotguns by the crashed pelican on the mission 343 guilty spark on the difficulty easy. Now, in Halo The Flood, in the same mission at the same place, chief finds two shotguns and thinks: I think i will need this later.
Heroic is the way Halo was meant to be played.
Well if you want that secret ending then it's got be legendary
I say it's a game by game basis, possibly even by level.

If I had to give each FPS game a canon difficulty it would be this. (taking the Expanded Universe into context)

Halo: CE - Legendary
Halo 2 - Heroic
Halo 3 - Heroic
Halo 3: ODST - Legendary
Halo: Reach - Heroic
Halo 4 - Heroic
Halo 5 - Heroic

Just my personal opinions. I think Heroic is a good base as it's a challenge, but nothing overly hard considering you're a super soldier Spartan-II (Spartan-III in Reach) and your fighting ability and armor is above snuff.
For ODST you're a normal human footsoldier, not a Spartan-II or III, so you'd be a lot weaker to everything, which is why I put legendary.
With Halo: CE Legendary wasn't as hard as later games would make it, so I'd say it's about as brutal as The Fall of Reach novel described fighting the Covenant.
If I think of any other reasons I'll post them below.

One thing we can all likely agree on is that Halo 2's Legendary isn't canon, sniper jackals and plasma burns aside. *sarcasm*
I think halo reach would be on legendary as in that game humanity is losing badly and lost reach
Nailed it
I can say for a fact that to me if there was a true difficulty that would be lore friendly I'm pretty sure I have my mind set on one. Keep in mind I've only played the first game and have only seen full gameplay walkthroughs of all the other games so my opinion may be taken a lot less seriously considering that I haven't tried the difficulties of all the other games with the exception of CE, but hey to each their own. Choosing the difficulty will be based on common sense and will not be taking novels and comics into consideration as I really only follow the main games story line and find all other media of Halo as throw away content/story.

Starting with Easy I can tell you for a fact that this is not the true/canon difficulty simply because Marines wouldn't be dying at the rate they are in the games and if it really were this easy to take down the Covenant, the USMC might as well just send the Master Chief to do literally everything. Might as well have tossed him in Reach which also brings me to my next point; a certain team on Reach may not have passed so easily if it really were that easy (RIP).

Moving onto Normal, although the difficulties name is quite literally normal I feel like the name was mainly as a perception of normal when compared to other FPS games, NOT for how the game was intended to be played. Also the game is still relatively easy even with the difficulty increase from Easy. So still too easy even for USMC to be having the trouble that they have fighting the Covenant.

Moving onto Heroic, now this is where I find the sweet spot of difficulty. Heroic is essentially not too easy but at the same time not too hard making for pretty balanced gameplay. Heroic as the name implies is of a Heroic perspective none other than the Hero himself, Master Chief, a hero to humans. The description of Halo's Heroic difficulty in some of the games is stated as even being, "The way Halo is meant to be played." This is further backed up by several Bungie employees stating that the game was created with Heroic in mind, then balanced according to difficulty stats. The difficulty is also stated to be, "the way the Halo universe was meant to be." Also this would be true to how the story would be paced, soldiers die pretty commonly, Covenant die at a decent pace, ammo is spent in a balanced way, and Master Chief doesn't lose health too quickly or too slowly. Essentially giving the balance of a super soldier going into battle with a solid battle strategy but then again not an unstoppable one as Easy and Normal would portray it.

Then finally, Legendary which is unrealistic by all means. You mean to tell me that Master Chief somehow survived all of the Covenant onslaught on Legendary without dying once and still able to spawn 4 sequels, yeah right. In order to have survived all those games he would already have to known the meta of each game, and I highly doubt the second he came out of that cryo tube he immediately knew to keep the pistol because it was somehow better than any human or alien engineered weapons besides the plasma pistol in the first game, like WHAT?! THE LIBRARY?! JACKAL SNIPERS ANYONE?! Trust me if the Halo Universe was meant to be played on Legendary difficulty the USMC would've lost the war a long time ago. Also Legendary difficulty plays the secret "Sgt. Johnson and Hugging Elite" secret cutscene which has been denoted as not being canon by Bungie, emphasis on NOT CANON. If you played Legendary for the sake of immersion I'm pretty sure that scene would bother you story wise and logically.

TL;DR: Easy - the USMC might as well have used the Master Chief for every war, Normal - still too easy you can essentially run through every battle without a scratch, which would still result in an easy battle (meaning the USMC might as well have won the war a long time ago especially with the Master Chief on their side), Heroic - perfect as it makes you think about your next move while still being strong you are not invincible and can still die with a wrong step (this difficulty is also stated by multiple Bungie developers as being THE difficulty that they would want you to play their Halo games on, stated not only in the difficulty descriptions but also in multiple interviews), Legendary - too difficult even the Master Chief wouldn't have survived this, like seriously, he may be very strong, smart, intelligent, and agile but he couldn't have possibly known the meta of every game, which is key to playing through every Halo game on Legendary difficulty. If Legendary really were to be the true difficulty I'd really like to see someone play Halo: Reach, Halo: CE, Halo: 2, Halo: 3, Halo:4, and Halo: 5 consecutively on Legendary difficulty without dying from start to finish while still using the weapons you are meant to use, not just using the meta weapons (essentially the Covenant should've already won this damn war from the beginning). Heroic is the true difficulty.

Case closed at least for me. If any arguments are to be made from my analysis I'd like to hear them as I'm always open to opinions, inaccuracies I've made, and also being proven wrong in the process.
<<Deleted because this reply is massive and it is literally the post above this one>>
Wow okay I never expected a reply this long, but props to you for going to all of that time and effort. I really appreciate it.

I made this into a poll because as far as I know, neither Bungie nor 343 Industries has confirmed a canon difficulty. I think I made a fairly strong case for the canon difficulty being Normal in my original post, but opinions will differ. I completely agree with what you said about the Easy difficulty, and if that were canon, I think the UNSC would have won a long time ago. Also, if Legendary were canon, Halos 3-5 would never have happened because I will never believe that even the Master Chief survived those Jackal Snipers in Halo 2.

Normal and Heroic are the sweet spots. Personally, if I were to choose the canon difficulty, I would choose Normal. Still, I think that the Master Chief would have died at least once during his two-decade career on Heroic. We get to see several hours of his time fighting, but he has been in really sticky situations outside of the games, and I have a hard time believing that he managed to survive all of that on Heroic difficulty. Also, as far as I know, the Master Chief Saga playlist is still set at Normal.

However, I can easily accept other arguments. Unlike other people, I welcome them, because they offer new perspectives, and yes, Normal does seem a little bit too easy for the Master Chief. If there were a truly perfect difficulty, I think it would be somewhere between Normal and Heroic, but there is not. Every single difficulty has reasons for it not to be canon.

You do make a really good case for Heroic being the true difficulty though, and according to this poll, I'm actually in the minority. If the results of the poll make anything official, you would be definitely right and I'd be wrong.
For end-game bonus scenes you must complete campaigns on Legendary, so...
id say it would be heroic, not because of heroics description though, but because chief has luck, and a normal player needs some luck to play heroic, it cant be legendary because spartans are also skilled, it also depends on the mission, winter contingency in reach would be normal or easy because you have the rest of noble team with you, lone wolf on legendary because you are all alone and are being swarmed. and as you start to lose members it turns to heroic, id say after kats death it enters heroic. but heroic would be more my choice, chief and the arbiter are not invincible, they are skilled but even skilled fighters die, look at forge, johnson, noble team, etc.
I was just generally going to submit legendary or heroic as chief was such an epic character I think it would be more true to the nature of the hero to say that beating legendary on no deaths is the way Chief would play Halo.
Heroic is the canon difficulty man.
Easy is just ridiculously easy, You can literally stand in open fire and take multiple rounds of fire and survive a plasma stick. The spartan suit is strong but not that strong
Normal- I think this is the defeault because the majority of people doesn't want a super hard challenge, they just want to lay back and chill. It's really hard to die on normal unless you are uncareful. This mode is also easy but quite a bump up from easy.
Heroic. The canon difficulty. This is a borderline challenging mode for non-halo players. You can die pretty easy if you are not careful and should be careful. Higher level elites and brutes start appearing. You feel like a superior marine in this mode. You are very strong but still fragile
Legendary- Very frustrating for some people. Especially in halo 2. You die so extremely fast if you are not careful. You literally have to move in the gravemind level before the map loads completely to have enough time to get to cover and survive the first encounter. Elite ultra and zealots are very common but still easy to dispatch because of the noob combo. Note that the elite ultras are actually extremely challenging to take down without the noob combo. Legendary would be 20x harder without that combo. I have played halo since i was a kid and did not manage to pass cairo station legendary + mythic skull + thunderstorm skulls on legit (trying to kill every enemy). The jackal snipers..... man....
Laso - ...Really?
stckrboy wrote:
Edit: Actually, after reading through some commentary from fellow lore enthusiasts it seems there is no difficulty that can really be defined as canon. Retracting my earlier statement
Agreed. That seems to be the general consensus.
In my eyes, Legendary.
I'd say that if you want to feel like the Master Chief, play on Normal. But if you want to be him, it's Heroic. I think Heroic covers the general damage given/taken shown in the books, comics, and cut scenes. In heroic you die but not super easily mostly when you don't play smart, causing you to have to think the way Chief would.
The way Halo was meant to be played...Heroic!
I was originally thinking Normal as it is the preset for ALL Halo games but I do have to agree that Heroic is the Cannon... Spartans would not have been called to action if the enemies were any less formidable than the Heroic setting
I'd say heroic. It seems like the amount of bullets needed to take elites and other enemies down most closely follows the heroic difficulty.
easy, master chief can survive a escape pod crashing while others die, and survive the fall on halo 3 beginning
I don't believe that there is an official canon difficulty for Halo, but this video by General Heed brings up some interesting points:
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