Prior to March of 2012, Halo players had the opportunity to snag the coveted Recon armor permutation for use in multiplayer by completing a total of seven Vidmaster challenges split between Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST. Unlike the more recent entries in the series, Halo 3 demanded certain skills to unlock some of the more lavish helmets. While one or two were unlocked by default, others like the Security armor set required completing all of the Gamerscore requirements for Halo 3 – 1000/1000 GS. Each helmet varies in challenge difficulty, whereas some require the completion of certain campaign missions on normal, heroic or legendary, and others by discovering and collecting all of the skulls hidden throughout each mission. No feet, however, proved to be more challenging than the seven Vidmaster Achievements.

halo recon armor
The coveted Recon Amor – Cue the Halo theme!

Bungie intended these achievements to pose great challenges, as the Recon armor set should only be worn by the Bungie team and select community members. The Vidmaster challenges did not ship with the launch of the game, but became unlockable in the Title 2 Update released on September 23, 2008 – nearly one year after Halo 3’s global debut. The massive update also included a ranking system to all matchmaking playlists, in addition to 30 new achievements equating to around 750 Gamerscore. The Vidmaster achievements include: 


Lightswitch: Get the rank of Lieutenant in any playlist in the new EXP progression system. 

Annual: Complete Halo (final level) on 4-player Legendary LIVE co-op, with iron skull activated, and everyone in ghosts. 

7 on 7: Enter into a ranked or social playlist with 7 EXP on the 7th of the month.

Brainpan: Find all the hidden skulls on the Mythic maps.


Endure: In Firefight, on any mission, pass the 4th set on 4-player Heroic LIVE co-op. 

Deja vu: Complete Coastal Highway on 4-player Legendary LIVE co-op with iron skull activated, and no Warthog or Scorpion. 

Classic: Finish any campaign level on legendary without shooting or throwing a grenade (power sliding and honking the horn on vehicles will be counted as shooting/grenade throwing).

halo armor sets
An order from easiest to hardest armor sets to unlock – of course, recon being the hardest.

For those unfamiliar with Halo terminology, this might come off as a bit complex. Without a doubt, Annual and Endure are the two most challenging and frustrating achievements to overcome in the allotted time before Bungie eventually unlocked the Recon armor set for the entire community in March of 2012. Annual demanded at least a 45-minute time commitment, 4 available friends (who could leave at any time if their mom called them for dinner), and the iron skull activated – which reverted the team back to their last checkpoint if a single person died. Whereas some required those to wait until a specific time in the month, Annual and Endure posed a hefty challenge that surprisingly expanded the longevity of the game. This sense of community was brought back from a crowded market with the likes of Call of Duty 4 blowing up the multiplayer scene. Halo 3 was one of those games that consistently surprised the community with new challenges, new maps for both competitive and custom, new updates to forge and other quality of life aspects. It’s a business that we don’t see much more of today. 

Most of my favorite gaming memories stem back to Halo 3. Whether it’d be teaming up with my friends in multiplayer, blasting through the campaign and hunting skulls, or discovering the community favorite “duck hunt” – the ridiculous custom game that pitted one sniper against three to four yellow “duckies,” who had to complete an obstacle course while dodging bullets fired from the sniper’s nest – Halo 3 presented a cohesive package with a development team as active and loving as the community itself. Times were simpler back then, and it’s tough to witness certain changes in the industry in favor of more egregious business practices. Interestingly enough, Halo: Spartan Assault and Halo Wars 2 included two Vidmaster challenges each. Though not as arduous and creative as their older sibling, they still offered up a decent challenge in addition to a side of nostalgia. 

If you’re interested, there are a ton of different channels that cover each individual Vidmaster challenge! However, for more on insane achievements, premature dinner calls from your mom, t-bagging and Halo in general, keep it here at TheXboxHub.          

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