The game for attention in the live games arena, let alone in the competitive shooter arena, has become even more competitive with every console release and every gaming trend. With Halo Infinite, developer 343 Industries is trying to make its multiplayer more attractive in the long term, while its flexible battle pass system and focus on player feedback offer a business model that could be viewed as a consumer-first business model.
IGN sat down with Jerry Hook, Head of Design at Halo Infinite and Chris Blohm, Lead Progression Designer, to discuss how Halo Infinite’s approach to free-to-play is different from others in the marketplace, and how they hope, gamers of all kinds to get you back in history FPS.
Halo Infinite Multiplayer – Roadmap screenshots
Halo Infinites Battle Pass plan
Hook and Blohm know we play different games – as Blohm said it would be “ridiculous to think differently”. With that in mind, and understanding that some Battle Passes can encourage unhealthy player habits, they decided that Halo Infinite Battle Passes should never expire. This was announced back in June, but Blohm said they are doing this because they “don’t want people to burn out at the end of the season” and “feel healthy and come back because they look forward to it” rather than because they are rushing and have to try to finish content they paid for.
“We wanted to be able to say, ‘Hey, look, if you put $ 10 in, you’ll keep the $ 10,'” Hook said. Halo Infinite won’t have loot boxes either. So when you drop your money on something, you know exactly what you can get.
Hook and Blohm also discussed these important details about how Battle Passes work:
- Only one Battle Pass can be active at a time, meaning your chosen Battle Pass is the one that gains experience that you gain during the game.
- You can switch which Battle Pass is active at any time.
- The Battle Pass from the test flights is not representative of what we’ll see in the final Battle Pass.
- Approximately every quarter of the Battle Pass contains legendary cosmetics. Cosmetics rated as legendary refer to the character canon or a new type of customization object with special attributes or effects.
- Event rewards are separate from the Battle Pass.
Season 1: Heroes of Reach Battle Pass
Okay, but what’s actually included in the Season 1 Battle Pass? The first season of Halo Infinite is called “Heroes of Reach”. This was previously announced by 343 in an Inside Infinite June update, and although we didn’t get full details on every item in the Battle Pass (although you can see a taste of some of the items we’ll see in the Battle Pass in the picture below) , Hook and Blohm shared more about the rewards we can expect from the first Battle Pass.
“We know people like [Halo] Reach and we knew the story would have another reach beat – there’s a reach beat in the paperbacks [in Halo: Shadows of Reach] after Halo 5. The Infinity goes back to Reach. So we just started working flat out on the best Reach adaptation, “said Blohm.
As expected with a Seasonal Heroes of Reach title, the first armor core will include Halo: Reach customization options. Think of armor cores as the base of armor that all corresponding armor of that type can fit into. For example, every player in Halo Infinite multiplayer receives the new Mk. VII armor core. This means that all customization options – shoulders, helmets, visors, knee pads, and more – for the Mk. The VII model can be swapped out for their Spartan as long as that particular core is equipped. The Battle Pass is an opportunity to use the classic Mk. V and customization options for it.
“When we watched the Heroes of Reach and what? [Blohm] and the team we put together is a really great model of how we’re trying to tell a visual story with the Battle Pass to earn characters, basically through all of the reach characters on the Battle Pass, ”said Hook. “For us, the system is that was created with the [armor] Core in the middle and then any attachments that players can add. Do you want Emiles knife? You want Jorge’s grenades? Mix and match any way you want to create your own, or if all you’re just saying, “No, I want to look just like Jun” then you can. And for the first time you can look just like Kat with the prosthetic arm. “
To ensure that prostheses were properly displayed in Halo Infinite, Blohm said they worked closely with in-house veterans and a nonprofit called Limbitless. “We want people to build Spartans that they either aspire to or would like to be, or whether they look cool or represent them,” said Blohm.
As for other rewards we can expect in the Battle Pass, Blohm said we will see death effects (another callback to customizing Halo Reach) and other new armor effects. There will also be armor sets. While many of Noble Team’s cosmetics can be earned during the Battle Pass, in order to look almost exactly like a member of Noble Team, you’ll need to unlock a specific kit. We may be playing Spartan IVs, where Noble Team was mostly Spartan IIIs, but Blohm said this got closer than ever to the Halo: Reach characters in Halo multiplayer.
However, there are certain things that are sure not to be included in the Battle Pass. Like, say, uncharacteristic emotes.
“We struggled a lot with dance moves for Spartans. We believe that more traditional players would turn down the Master Chief’s floss. [Personal] AI can go crazy. AI can do what it wants. That way, you can keep that militaristic feel without breaking what you would call canon. Except, of course, Joseph [Staten] makes up a whole new story about the dancing Master Chief, but until that happens [we have Personal AI]“Hook said with a laugh.
Weekly challenge and event rewards
New customization options aren’t just available through the Battle Pass or in the store. By playing the campaign, players will also receive new cosmetic items and players can also earn a weekly reward (the capstone) by completing all of the weekly challenges.
The challenge system was available during the Halo Infinite test flight and has since seen some changes based on player feedback. Hook said it was important for her to make sure challenges are easy and something that players actually want to achieve. The development team monitors statistics on which Daily and Weekly Challenges players fail to complete or decide to reroll. Then these are phased out to make way for a trendy weapon or tactic challenge. Their goal, according to Hook, is to make players feel like they can earn consistent XP on their Battle Passes or work towards their weekly Capstone reward without forcing themselves into awkward play styles.
“So at the start we have the challenge system, which drives the battle pass and the event system. Events go live every few weeks,” said Blohm.
Hook and Blohm are keeping most of the event details secret for the time being, but disclosed that each event has its own free event pass. This is one of the few timed reward systems in multiplayer and will not include a paid track.
“You get a special playlist and you get a new reward track for [each event]”Said Blohm. “That’s two weeks for an event and one week for the fracture, but the fracture comes back every month and saves your progress. This is another case where we talked for a long time. We said, ‘How much do we expect people to play?’ To the right? And let’s balance it out. You know what, if they’re at their parents’ house for a week and don’t have their Xbox, they can still get whatever it says on the rewards bar. “
Hook said they will monitor progress through events and eventually further test flights to see what players are reacting to in terms of rewards or progress and grow from there.
How to get this cute samurai armor
Blohm acknowledged that while the more traditional Spartan armor and customizations look great, some of us crave more unique Spartan fashion options. This is where The Fracture event comes in. This recurring event is the way to get unique cosmetics that don’t quite make sense with the Halo canon, like the teased Yoroi samurai armor. Hook said they watched what the Master Chief Collection was doing with their multiplayer cosmetics (the MCC multiplayer just got Viking and Gladiator armor) and how the community reacted to share their development at The Fracture event.
“Multiplayer Spartans aren’t Master Chief. Occasionally they have light colors. Occasionally they have a flaming helmet in Reach The Fracture like the one we brought in. What we say with a fracture is very clear: ‘Hey, this is not canon. This is not a Spartan who fights against the exiles, ‘”said Blohm.
There have been other unique cosmetics in the Halos multiplayer history, of course, like the Hayabusa armor. Everything still has to make sense in the Halo Universe, and they intend to rely on the history of Halo Fractures to help with this. Hook said her hope is that they will hear from the community about things they would like to see, although balancing cosmetics with the Halo legends is crucial.
Community feedback is a constant focus for this team and, ultimately, they expect what we want from us, be it changes to events or more support for a function like Personal AI. However, Hook and Blohm made it clear that they want to make sure that every part of the multiplayer feels rewarding and not exhausting so hopefully we get back to the Halo Infinite multiplayer.
“The Battle Pass system is really just a small part of the entire ecosystem for one season,” said Hook. “When we look at our events or event structures, it’s not just about another place where you sell things. It’s about taking that structure of a battle pass and overlaying it with each of the event structures that we also have. What Chris often says, which I think is pretty critical to success, is that we players want, whenever they engage in an activity, to feel rewarded. The Battle Pass is paramount, which means that when you play you will feel rewarded by the Battle Pass. That is our goal. ”
Halo Infinite launches December 8th, but IGN will keep you updated with all-new Halo Infinite announcements throughout November. Make sure to check out the newly revealed Streets multiplayer map if you haven’t already.
Miranda Sanchez is Editor-in-Chief of Guides at IGN and a member of Podcast activated. She is a big fan of stationery and fountain pens. You find them sometimes Twitter.