A look at the Covenant weapons in Halo 4

Fuel Rod Cannon

halo 4 fuel rod cannon

Typically used against heavy armor by launching charged fuel rods which violently detonate upon impact. 

Chris King (Lead Sandbox Designer) – "Traditionally, the Fuel Rod hasn’t gotten a lot of love in Halo multiplayer. This has changed in Halo 4. This is another case where I am really excited about the direction the audio and FX teams went in with the weapon. It’s not drastically different but the changes just make it feel that much more satisfying and visceral. As with the other “area of effect” weapons in the game, the projectile speeds have been increased on this one, and we’ve fine-tuned the blast radiuses just a tad. Despite the faster speeds, you will still need to land a couple fuel rod shots to finish off an opponent, as an individual blast isn’t powerful enough to kill someone. Because of the large magazine size on this one, it’s also great for area of denial as well."

Energy Sword

halo 4 energy sword

Composed of superheated plasma, this sword remains the preferred close-quarters weapon of specialized Elites. 

Frank O'Connor (Franchise Development Director) – "I am just eating it with this right now. I thought universal Sprint would give me a huge advantage, but the reality is it flattens it out for me. I used to go on crazy tears with the sword, but now I find myself being stopped short – that “gun game” thing people are referring to more and more seems to be hitting me where it counts during would-be sword sprees. I do find myself on the receiving end of it a fair amount, however." 

Gravity Hammer

halo 4 gravity hammer

Crude yet formidable close-range Brute weapon, substantially improved by way of a powerful gravity drive. 

Frank O'Connor (Franchise Development Director) – "For me, it’s kind of the opposite philosophy from a lightsaber, an inelegant weapon for a more barbaric time. I love the fact that the splash effect can buy you some distance, even when you whiff it badly. I love the fact that a direct hit is a cast-iron guarantee of success, and I love the fact that you feel almost exactly like Donkey Kong for a similar amount of swings at the “barrels” the sandbox presents you. And yes, I know Mario is the one swinging the hammer, but it’s important to make the Donkey Kong analogy sing!" 

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Covenant Carbine

halo 4 covenant carbine

Notable semi-automatic mid-range accuracy, firing ballistic rounds unlike most other Covenant weapons. 

Joel Gifford (Test) – "The Covenant Carbine is an absolute terror when going up against unshielded foes. Bringing it into Spartan Ops missions against Grunts, Jackals, and Crawlers allows you to quickly drop waves of enemies, provided you can land the headshot. In PVP, it has a little trouble getting through enemy shields, but the precision and high rate of fire allow you to constantly bombard your opponent."

Beam Rifle

halo 4 beam rifle

Extreme-range sniper rifle, charging ionized hydrogen gas into a lethal beam of accelerated particles. 

Kynan Pearson (Lead Multiplayer Level Design) – "The Beam Rifle is sick. What’s not to like about being able to clear out an enemy team with a single weapon that when used correctly doesn’t require a reload… and the sound is so satisfying."

Concussion Rifle

halo 4 concussion rifle

Similar to other Covenant mortar weapons, firing explosive bolts of plasma at close-range to mid-range distances. 

Jayce Diaz (Spartan Ops Designer) – "Against AI, it can topple vehicles and has a fast enough firing rate to scatter large groups, and against other players it has the uncanny ability to cause confusion and pain at a safe distance. It is the ultimate noise gun, a disruptor that can leave enemies in complete disarray before they die." 

With less than 50 days until the launch of Halo 4, the whole FPS community is ramping up for its release. The devs at 343 Industries are passionate about the game they're making and aren't leaving any stone unturned. With everything from enemy design to how the game plays, they're leaving their stamp on Halo 4, all while making sure it still feels like a Halo title.

Something that provided a challenge for the team was the Covenant weapons in the game, which aren't as popular as the UNSC weapons. They just aren't used as much. So the team wanted to make them still feel alien, yet viable. The team decided to change the look of the weapons, from shiny, polished and perfect toys to more wear and tear with imperfections in their metal alloys. The sound for the weapons were overhauled. Projectile speeds have changed, as well as the way they look when using scopes. 

The team that has worked on the covenant weapons are really excited about the changes; so we're going to run you through the nine Covenant weapons in Halo 4 and give you one of their thoughts on each of them.

Plasma Pistol

halo 4 plasma pistol

Directed-energy weapon capable of semi-automatic firing and a scaled-burst effect which disables electronics. 

Chris King (Lead Sandbox Designer) – "Don’t be deceived by the toy-ish looks. This is a powerful gun! To be effective with the normal shot, you will need to use it at close ranges because the projectiles are extremely slow relative to other weapons. And since players spawn with it from the get-go as a secondary weapon, we’ve had to retune the number of charge shots down from the past (when charging, the energy drains pretty quickly in multiplayer compared to the past). It’s still a great choice, though, especially on vehicle maps. If you are a fan of the Noob Combo, I’d recommend trying to scavenge a Magnum as a backup. The Halo 4 pistols all have faster animation timings than in the past, allowing you to switch to them faster than any other weapon in the game. Charged Plasma Shot + Magnum headshot = WIN!"


halo 4 needler

Exotic guided-munitions weapon firing crystalline shards that home in, impale, and detonate on soft targets. 

Chris King (Lead Sandbox Designer) – "The Halo 4 Needler is probably the most powerful version of the gun to date. I love the new, more mechanical firing sounds of the gun as it feels more visceral. One of the big changes this time around is that the needles stick to shields again (in Reach, the needles only supercombined when shields were down). This makes it deadly for sure. However, its effectiveness is tempered by the overall faster pace of the game, which gives players a better chance of avoiding the needles. If you catch an opponent off-guard, they are in for a world of hurt."

Storm Rifle

halo 4 storm rifle

Fully automatic, directed-energy weapon, widely considered the successor to the traditional Plasma Rifle. 

Todd Colby (UI) – "Before Halo 4, I was lukewarm on Covenant weapons. I never felt like I got the meaty feedback I got from UNSC weaponry. The Storm Rifle has converted me to the Covenant arsenal – half of my loadouts are customized with it in mind. Its rapid fire rate makes it perfect for run-and-gun, and covering teammates has never been so rewarding. When I engage enemies with the Storm Rifle, it’s like I’m repeatedly slapping my opponent in the face with a thousand fruit roll-ups. Delicious victory."