There’s cool stuff happening in every big FPS right now, and I can’t decide where to start

One fun side effect of every live-service FPS updating on similar seasonal schedules is that a few times a year they all decide to go big at the same time. The last big convergence of shooters happened in March, but October is poised to make March look like hot garbage.No matter what form of first-person shooting you’re into—battle royales, extraction shooters, hero shooters, 5v5 tactical—there’s a reason to give all your favorite games a reinstall right now, and few other notable events ahead in November. My SSD is screaming at me to calm down, but my twitchy mouse hand says « more. »Here’s every big FPS update happening right now or on the horizon, starting with a game that’s pulling out all the stops to celebrate Halloween.

« The Haunting » in Call of Duty: Warzone | October 17–early November

warzone the haunting event(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)👻 Spooky boss fights
🗺️ Night maps
🧟 Zombie royale
👿 Diablo 4 collaborationHalloween events are always the best Call of Duty events, but the studio Voltron at Activision has outdone itself with The Haunting. There’s a ton of new stuff to do on the horror-fied night version of Al Mazrah, including hunting down a mummy, fighting a literal UFO, and opening a portal to Hell to challenge the Butcher from Diablo 4. It’s all over the place aesthetically, something CoD is increasingly comfortable with, but it’s one of the most dense events I’ve seen in a while, and the Halloweenest event in an FPS this year, if you like the feeling of irreverent horror mixed into your military shooter. 

Halo Infinite Season 5: Reckoning | October 17

🗺️ New arena maps
⛑️ Better armor customization
🛠️ Forge: now with AI™
🔫 New gun variant343 Industries continues to chip away at Halo Infinite’s bad reputation. Season 5 is not a gigantic leap forward on its own, but if you haven’t checked in on Halo in a year or so, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by where it’s at. XP is more generous now, the map pool finally feels full (unless you only like the big maps), the new guns are great and, crucially for Season 5, 343 has loosened restrictions on armor customization. All helmets can now be used with any armor core, and the same goes for many armor coatings. It should have been this way from the start, but I’m glad it’s happening now. Those Forge changes shouldn’t be ignored either. Giving builders bot soldiers and enemy units to play with opens the door to custom singleplayer and co-op missions in Forge, which is great because I don’t have many Halo friends.

Battlefield 2042 Season 6: Dark Creations | October 10

🗺️ New infantry-only map
🔫 Three new guns
⚙️ Two new gadgets
🚁 Helicopter… bike?As for an FPS that successfully emerged  from a rough launch, Battlefield 2042’s population is surging as it enjoys generally good vibes in Season 6. DICE says it’s done releasing new specialists, but it hasn’t turned off the hose on maps, modes, guns, and vehicles. The new map is a small, 64-player infantry map inspired by the chaotic hallway brawls of Battlefield 3’s Operation Metro. There’s also a new bullpup rifle, pistol, DMR, and most intriguing, a hover bike that looks like a giant drone with a seat strapped to it. Players are already pulling X Games stunts with it, bless them.

Counter-Strike 2 | September 27

Counter-Strike 2(Image credit: Valve)🎊 Source 2
🌐 Better servers
💎 Inventory carryover
🎇 Fluffy, huggable smoke cloudsCounter-Strike 2’s reception is relatively quiet, considering it’s the most-played game on Steam since it launched. The map and weapon roster hasn’t meaningfully changed, but the coat of varnish has been enough to reinvigorate the longstanding FPS. Pretty Source 2 map ports, volumetric smoke clouds, and « sub-tick » servers that promise better latency than ever before in the series (once Valve smooths over some rough edges) lead the list, but be honest: mostly we just want to see our hundred-dollar knives and AK skins rendered in Source 2. It’s a shame Valve buried CS:GO in the process, but this is a good starting point for the next decade of Counter-Strike.

Hunt: Showdown Tide of Corruption | October 4–December 3

🔥 Aw heck, the map’s on fire again
🔫 The Vetterli Cyclone is *l e t h a l*
😈 Pact traits
🎟️ Battle passHunt: Showdown continues its trilogy of « Tide » seasons with Tide of Corruption. There’s no alligator boss this time around, but there is a new map condition called Dark Inferno. It’s similar to the last time Crytek set Hunt’s maps on fire, but now it’s dark and even harder to know what’s going on. Also in the mix are pact traits that are slightly toned down from last season’s chaotic Death Cheat trait, plus some meaningful weapon variants—an Uppercut pistol with a stock and a fast-firing semi-auto Vetterli that’s a two-tap dream. They’re all unlocked on the battle pass, which moves a lot faster if you buy the premium version at $10. Hunt’s passes are typically a great value if you enjoy its style of grounded grimdark cosmetics.

Overwatch 2 Season 7: Rise of Darkness | October 10

👻 Halloween modes
👿 Less-cool Diablo 4 collaboration
🗺️ New Control map
💻 Sombra reworkIt’s an off season for Overwatch 2, so no new hero, but Season 7 is somewhat special for other reasons. There’s a new control map called Samoa, and it looks absolutely gorgeous. This year, the new Halloween mode is a Diablo-themed boss fight with a devilish Roadhog that’s pretty fun as OW2 PvE goes, though noticeably smaller than last year’s Junkenstein’s Revenge mission. Thankfully, all of the older Halloween modes are back for the month as well. The centerpiece of the season is a handful of gorgeous Diablo-themed skins (including a Lilith Moira skin I badly need), but at $40 for the set, it’s hard to get excited about them.

On the horizon

Valorant Episode 7: ISO
Riot lifted the veil on the next Valorant agent releasing at the end of October. Iso is a Chinese fixer who « reconfigures ambient energy into bulletproof protection. » In other words, he conjures bulletproof walls that move in a straight line, sorta like Sigma’s barrier in Overwatch. His ultimate is something completely new for Valorant, and all multiplayer FPSes for that matter: Iso literally plucks an enemy from the map and teleports both of them to a 1v1 arena for a fight to the death. A portable Gulag, if you prefer.Apex Legends Season 19
Respawn has begun teasing Season 19’s new hero, Conduit. No word on their abilities yet, but the « Stories from the Outlands » animated short released today, and it includes a full minute of Titanfall titans beating the crap out of each other. I’m not getting my hopes up for a legitimate Titanfall-inspired hero, but Conduit does seem to draw their power from a titan battery, so who knows. Post Malone will make an appearance in early November, too.Rainbow Six Siege: Year 8 Season 4
Eight years in, Siege is still one of my favorite shooters. After catching the bug again this year and enjoying how much good stuff has been added since I left, I’m excited for Season 4’s new operator and map. We don’t know anything about either yet other than the setting: Portugal.

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