Emblems, first introduced in Halo 2, are small designs that are associated with a Character Profile and used to represent a player's identity in multiplayer games and online play. They consist of a two-colored design or pattern overlaid upon a background (typically a geometric shape), with a user-selected color scheme applied to the result. The feature was later carried on into Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach, Halo 4, Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Halo 5: Guardians.
In Halo 2, when a Character Profile is created, there is an option to make an Emblem for the player's in-game avatar. Emblems are the primary means of identifying players in multiplayer games and online play; they also appear in the game type Territories, where they are displayed on the flags that denote captured territories. In-game, a player's emblem can be seen glowing on their back and shoulders.
The primary and secondary emblem colors are selected directly in the options menu. Unlike subsequent games, the two colors of the emblem background are determined by the primary and secondary armor colors. Also unique is that all emblems in Halo 2 are displayed with a complete secondary background, resulting in a square image. In subsequent games, the secondary background is transparent.
There are 64 emblems and 32 backgrounds, allowing 2048 basic combinations. With 18 different color options for each of the four elements of the emblem, there are more than 204 million possible emblems.[note 1]
Emblems also appear in Halo 3. All of the designs from Halo 2 (except for Sergeant, Waypoint, Cleave, and Race) are available, along with numerous new designs unique to Halo 3. The background shape's color is now determined by a third, user-selected color, as opposed to Halo 2, where it took on the same color as the player's armor. Halo 3 also introduces design "toggling" — the secondary emblem color can be hidden.
Emblems in Halo 3 are less prominent than they were in Halo 2; in Halo 3, a Spartan player's emblem is only shown on their right shoulder, whereas in Halo 2, it could be seen on both shoulders and the player's back. Elite players' emblems are shown on their right shoulder and upper back. Emblems are no longer used to uniquely identify a player; that job has been taken on by a new, user-customizable call sign composed of a letter followed by two digits.
The 80 primary emblem designs, the 80 "toggles" of those designs, and the 48 possible emblem backgrounds allow for a combined total of 7,680 basic emblem possibilities in Halo 3. Taking the 30 options for primary, secondary and background color into account, the number of possible emblems exceeds 104 million.[note 2]
Halo 3: ODST
Emblems are also featured in Halo 3: ODST's Firefight mode. All Emblem designs from Halo 3 are available save for one, along with 17 new emblems and four new backgrounds, bringing the total to 96 and 52 respectively. The only emblem which does not return from Halo 3 is "OhNoUDnt", which is replaced by the similar but distinct "Peaceafist".
Emblem designs appear on the player's chest plate.
There are more than 136 million emblem possibilities.[note 3]
Emblems return in Halo: Reach. They were also featured in the Multiplayer Beta. Once again there are 80 different emblems; 15 new emblems are available, while 31 of the emblems available in Halo 3: ODST have been removed. Notable among the deleted emblems are several which date back to Halo 2, including "Mark of Shame", "Snake", "Hawk", "Marathon" and "Trident." Three of the new designs featured in Halo: Reach were selected after Bungie held a contest where players could send in their ideas for emblem designs, similar to the contest that was held before Halo 3 was released.
Emblems are far less prominent on player armor in Halo: Reach than in previous games. Very small emblems appear on the upper right side of the player's chest piece; a UNSC logo is found in a similar position on the left side of the chest piece. In addition, some of the unlockable chest pieces obscure the emblem entirely. Halo: Reach also marks the first appearance of emblems in campaign, being found on the player-customized SPARTAN-B312. The emblems are not present on Elite armor variants. Emblems only appear on player armor in campaign and Firefight; they are not visible in multiplayer.
With 80 emblems, toggling, 53 backgrounds and 30 colors for each option, there are nearly 116 million possibilities.[note 4]
Halo 4 features a total of 109 emblems. Of these only 37 return from Halo: Reach. Three more return after being absent in Reach (ONI, Snake, and Cube [now called Ordnance]). The remaining 69 emblems are all new. Emblems are once again displayed the shoulder pauldron, though now on the left side.
Halo 4 is the first Halo title that requires emblems to be unlocked before they can be used. The Recruit emblem is unlocked by default. Ten emblems are unlocked at SR-4, ten more at SR-19, ten at SR-28, and eight at SR-36. Each of the Specializations unlock four emblems each. The remaining emblems are unlocked by through in-game achievements such as commendations, as well as through Halo Waypoint.
Five emblems and backgrounds were originally offered only as exclusive emblems for players who pre-ordered the game from specific retailers. The Halo 4 Limited Edition, Halo 4 Limited Edition Console, and War Games Map Pass also each come with an exclusive emblem and background. Eight of the nine emblems were later included with the Halo 4 Game of the Year Edition. The "Unicorn" emblem and "Fotus" background, exclusive to the console version, was not included.
Eight emblems are unlocked from Halo: Waypoint by inputting hidden codes in the Classified section. Some emblems have certain requirements in order to be unlocked. These emblems do not come with backgrounds.
Backgrounds must be unlocked separately; the first ten are unlocked at SR-21, the second ten at SR-33, and ten more at SR-44. Each Specialization unlocks a unique background.
The Guilty emblem was originally unavailable by any means, but it was unlocked for everyone who played a matchmaking or Spartan Ops game on November 6, 2013, the first anniversary of the Halo 4 release.
With 109 emblems, 50 backgrounds, and 29 colours ("Pale" is removed), there are more than 134 million possible emblems.[note 5]
The Master Chief Collection
Halo: The Master Chief Collection allows players to select a single emblem to be used across all four games. There are an unprecedented 217 emblems (199 at launch and 18 more via title update). 166 emblems return from previous games and are unlocked by default. These include every emblem from Halo 2 and Halo 3 save for "Seventh Column" and "Marathon" (due to their connection to Bungie). Emblems introduced in Halo: Reach only appear if they also appeared in Halo 4, from which every emblem except "Recruit" returns.
Initially, emblems introduced in Halo 3: ODST only appeared if they were also in Halo 4, however once ODST was added to the Collection, 15 new emblems were added, ten of which return from the original ODST and five of which are all-new; all 15 emblems must be unlocked by the player.
Of the 41 all-new emblems, 8 are unlocked by default, while 32 must be unlocked by completing in-game requirements or watching Halo: Nightfall. The final emblem is unlocked by playing Halo: Spartan Strike.
There 101 background options, a number of which return having been absent since Halo 2 (i.e. X1, X2, Plus).
There are 30 actual color options for both the primary, secondary, and background elements of each emblem. Toggling of emblems this time takes the form of the 31st "Transparent" option, which allows players to toggle off any element of any emblem.
Emblems appear in the pre- and post-game menus and on a player's scoring HUD in campaign, but otherwise do not appear in gameplay. In Halo 2 classic multiplayer the "Bullseye" emblem is used for all players in the in-game scoreboard. In Halo 3 the "Grunt" emblem is displayed in the scoreboard, and also appears on all players' armor; in all other games the players' armor remains blank. In Halo 4 players see the "Recruit" emblem (interestingly, the only emblem from the original Halo 4 not available to players in The Master Chief Collection). By design, emblems do not appear at all in Halo 2: Anniversary multiplayer matches.
Halo 5: Guardians
Multiplayer emblems are simplified significantly in Halo 5: Guardians. Players now select a single emblem. There are no background choices nor can the emblems be toggled.
There are 294 emblems in the game, an all-time high. The game launched with 223 emblems; 7 were added with the Battle of Shadow and Light, "Thanks Given" in November, "Halo Championship Series" with the HCS Premium REQ Pack, 2 ("Spartan Claus" and "Candy Canes") with the holiday promotional req pack, 14 with the Cartographer's Gift, 12 with Infinity's Armory, one for each 2016 monthly season, 10 with Hammer Storm, one with the Halo World Championship 2016 pack, 8 with Ghosts of Meridian, 5 with Memories of Reach, 5 with Hog Wild, and 2 with Warzone Firefight. Three Halo World Championship teams, Counter Logic Gaming, Evil Geniuses, and Optic Gaming, also had their logos released as emblems. The final emblem "343 Industries" is available only to company employees. Of the 294 emblems, only 70 return from previous games; the remaining 224 are new.
At launch and until the release of Hammer Storm, players could not choose the individual colors of the emblem. Instead, players had to choose from one of 33 colors, and then one of seven styles ("Sporty", "Elite", "Classic", "Muted", "Contrast", "Analagous", or "Inverse") which was a pre-set color combination (or "harmony") for the emblem. As a result of this severe limitation in customization options, immediately prior to the release of Hammer Storm there were only 58,674 possible unique emblems,[note 6] a far cry from the millions of possibilities in previous games.
Following the release of Hammer Storm, players can once again choose individual primary, secondary and tertiary colors for their emblem, just as they have in previous instalments. In addition, the number of colors was increased from 33 to 60. This change exponentially increased the number of possible emblems, however the continued absence of backgrounds and toggling means that the total of 63,504,000 possible emblems[note 7] remains the lowest of any emblem-featuring Halo game to date.
As in Halo 4, emblems must be unlocked before they can be used. The "117" and "Helmet" emblems are unlocked by default. Additional emblems are unlocked with REQ packs; some are included with specific packs awarded for achieving ranks and completing commendations, while others are awarded randomly.
Emblems rarely appear in their complete form in Halo 5: Guardians; instead each emblem is featured a cropped rectangular image which is also incorporated into a nameplate. The rectangular image is used to identify each player in matchmaking lobbies. Emblems do not appear on players' armor.
List of Emblems
|Halo 3: ODST||Webmaster|
|Halo: Reach||Power is On, Noted, Rose, Castle, Buffalo, Jokers, Arrowhead (v. 1)|
|The Master Chief Collection||Cannon, Maple, Gift, Stuck 2, Wolf 2, Scorpion (v. 1), Daisy 2, Beaker, Zenith, Warlord, Stonetown, Speed Boost, Shrine, Shotgun Shells, Ricochet, Puma, Overshield, Magnum, Lockdown, Hornet, Gun Goose, Fusion Coil, Diamond, Crossed Rifles, Bomb, Bloodline, Blast Can, Assault Rifle, Colonial Guard Symbol, Ring Fragment, The Helmet, Horrigan's Wolfhead, Hunter Worms Sunrise, Spartan Strike|
|Halo 5: Guardians||343 Industries, Beard, Builder, Elementary, Gassed, Griffin, Knot, Kukri, Links, Skull Party, Spartan X, Auspicious, Buckeyes, Conspiracy, Ground Pound, Hammock, Imbrium Machine Complex, IX, Mad Dawg, Militia, Navy, ODST, Principle, All Square, Anchorite, Angels' Mark, Anjou, Antelope, AR Start, Army, Axiom, Blue Team, Bolt, Cascade Stronghold Technologies, Cherry Bomb, Chief's Crest, Confirmation, Covenant Signet, Cowboy Ninja, Crash, Cubicle, Duet, Eagle, Eco, Enlisted, Equilateral, Eye of the Beast, Fireborn, Fireteam Crimson, Fireteam Osiris, Flaming Skull, Flip Mode, Fly Bye, Forerunner Signet, Frag, Frontier, Great Hunt, Greeter, Hammer, Hannibal Weapon Systems, Hastati, Hastati, Headshot (v. 2), Helper Unit IV, Hunter Prey, Imperial, Incinerate, Invex, J1-GL Bot, Jewel, Lemon's Head, Listener, Loading, Loupe, Mantis, Marauder, Mark of the Hog, Matrix, Maw, Merry Berry, Meteor, Mixer, Mushroom, Naded, Nadir, Nexus, Noble, Noise, Options, Orbit, Panda BR, Pinwheel, Pioneer (v. 2), Pivot, Platform, Power, Prancer, Predator, Ratio, Reclaimer, Revolve, Rhino, Salient Sword, Scarab, Scorpion (v. 2), Signal, Spartan Seal, Splinter, Stars and Stripes, Tag It, Teeth, Three Eyes, Tracker (v. 2), Traitor, Triangulate, Triarch, Tricube, UNSC, Valencia, Volatile, Warlord, Watershed Division, Waves, Arbiter, Arrow, Astro, Awake, Barcode, Clippy, Cognate, Confine, Danger! Explosion, Fireteam Castle, Fireteam Majestic, Frozen Treat, Glyphs, Grenadier, Grizzly Tank, Hexa, Hot Pie, Iris, Isosceles, Jinx, Kindred, Liang Dortmund Seal, Liang Dortmund, Mega Bloks Banner, Mega Bloks X, Microsoft Bob, Mister Chief, MS-DOS, Pigs Fly, Pyramid, Redeem, Renewing Worlds, Slumber, Spicy Locke, Sprinkles, Summit, Thanks Given, Unworthy, Vanguard, Acheron Security, AMG Transport Dynamics, Axis, Beta Prime, Beta Recruit, Beta Star, Great Wheel, Guardian, Halo Championship Series, Halo Channel, Lethbridge Industrial, Magnum Opus, Mantle, Misriah Armory, Monolith, Prima, Sentient, Warden, War's Quintet, Spartan Claus, Candy Canes, Atrial Flight, Boomco., BR 55, Chamomile, Forge Monitor, Number Twelve, Keeper of the Domain, Kig-Yar, Unggoy, Rabbit, Tartan, M6D, Golden Arm, Kinetic, Vertigo, Grifball, DuCat, Distraction, Supercombine, Dog Pound, Steaktacular, Money 8S, Emile, Jorge, Auntie Dot, Ten, Number Eleven, Stachey, Dare, Fireworks, January 2016 Season, February 2016 Season, March 2016 Season, April 2016 Season, May 2016 Season, Halo World Championship 2016, Counter Logic Gaming, Evil Geniuses, Optic Gaming|
- Design toggling has been featured in every FPS game from Halo 3 through The Master Chief Collection. While this feature is not included in Halo 2, the effect can usually be duplicated by making the secondary emblem color the same color as the background.
- Some players have formed unique emblems by toggling the designs. As an example, toggling the Grunt design and using the Arrow background makes "The Bat". On a similar note, a chicken can be created by using a Bullseye with the Ball of Fire.
- Toggling the Seventh Column design makes it completely invisible, as the entire design is shown using the secondary emblem color. This, in combination with the Blank background, makes it possible to have a completely transparent emblem.
- Prior to Halo 3's release, Bungie held a contest in which people could send in their ideas for Emblem designs. The "Pirate" emblem was the winner, and has appeared in every Halo FPS game since.
- Bungie held the contest again prior to the release of Halo: Reach. The winning emblem was the "Headshot" emblem, which has also been featured in every Halo FPS since. The emblem was also made into an avatar T-shirt available on the Xbox Live Avatar Marketplace.
- The three Spartans from Red Team in Halo Wars each have an emblem from Halo 3 emblazoned on their armor. They are the first characters to use emblems in Campaign.
- Every player on Live that played a Halo 3 or Halo 3: ODST game on the 21st/22 January 2010 with the "Hearts" icon colored red and white, Bungie donated $100 for every 1,000 players, up to $77,000, to Red Cross for Haiti earthquake relief efforts. The campaign was called:Be a Hero! with the slogan: Help us help Haiti.
- In 2005, as an April Fools' joke, Bungie announced the addition of a Mountain Dew emblem in Halo 2.
- When viewed on Bungie.net service records (if played prior to March 31, 2012), a player's Halo 3 and ODST emblems are displayed with a secondary background, determined by the player's primary armor color. The player's Halo: Reach emblem appears with a transparent secondary background, as it does in the game. On Halo Waypoint, a player's Halo: Reach, Halo 4 and Halo: The Master Chief Collection emblems all appear with transparent secondary backgrounds, while their Halo 5: Guardians emblem is displayed on black.
- In the Halo 4 campaign level Reclaimer, the "Prime" emblem can be found in the interior of the M510 Mammoth.
- The "True Light" emblem in Halo 5: Guardians is dedicated to the daughters of Halo community member Adam Bartels (aka thecrzedspartan), Trinity and Lena, who passed away in a house fire in January 2016. The emblem is provided to all players in the free Spartans Never Walk Alone pack. Another commemoration can be found on the multiplayer map Torque.
- The "Triad" emblem is identical to the Triforce from the Zelda franchise.
- The "Grunt Symbol" emblem resembles the Slavic Kolovrat, however the emblem has six spokes rather than the full eight.
- The "Tycho" emblem, found in Halo 3: ODST and Halo: The Master Chief Collection, is the seal of the rampant UESC AI Tycho. Tycho's seal is the second emblem to be added to the list that makes reference to Bungie's previous game, Marathon. Its inclusion in the Master Chief Collection is strange given that other Bungie-affiliated emblems (Seventh Column, Marathon) were specifically not included.
- The "Spartan League" emblem is based on the style of logo used by a number of professional sports leagues, specifically Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association, as well as Major League Gaming.
- The "On Your Shield" emblem is a hoplite's shield (or hoplon) emblazoned with the Greek letter Lambda, as was used by the Ancient Spartans. The emblem's name comes from the Spartan warrior's instruction to return "either with your shield, or on it."
A picture of all the emblem foregrounds available in Halo 3.
A chart dislaying all Halo 4 emblems and their unlock requirements.
- One of the backgrounds is "Solid", which eliminates one colour option; therefore total options are: (64*1*18*18*18)+(64*31*18*18*18*18)=204,645,632. These calculations do not account for emblems in which the same image is achieved despite different options due to overlapping of the same colors.
- Due to one "Blank" background, total options calculated at: (80*1*30*30)+(80*47*30*30*30)+(80*1*30)+(80*47*30*30)=104,978,400
- The original unicorn emblem had its horn removed in Halo 4 and became a "Horse". A new, completely different Unicorn emblem was created. In The Master Chief Collection, both the original and new unicorn emblems are present. The original unicorn once again has a horn, but is still called "Horse"
- Available only with specially-marked Xbox LIVE 12+1 month Gold membership cards.
- Available only with Halo 4 Limited Edition.
- Only available with Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 4 Console Bundle.
- Available only with Halo 4 War Games Map Pass.
- Vendor-specific pre-order bonus.