343 Industries has confirmed more of their plans for Halo Infinite’s free-to-play multiplayer, in particular the fact that each premium battle pass will cost users $10. However, unlike with many other free-to-play games, that battle pass will not expire, all of its content remaining unlockable for the life of the game.
So how will this work two, three or more seasons into the game’s life? Well, simply by making you choose what you want to play and work towards. Each battle pass will be a permanent unlock for your account, and you can switch back to, for example, the season one battle pass months after that season has concluded. You can only have one battle pass active at a time, so you need to decide if working toward those rarer cosmetics is more worth it to you.
While there was a preview battle pass within the Halo Infinite technical tests, they say that it’s not exactly representative of what the system’s final form will be. In particular, you’ll find that there will be legendary cosmetic roughly every quarter of a battle pass. These are tied to character canon or offer a new type of customisation effect. There will also be in-game events, with rewards being separate from battle passes.
The first season will take inspiration from Halo Reach, the season’s title being Heroes of Reach. That will define the kinds of cosmetics you earn through the premium pass, tying in with certain armour “cores”. All Halo Infinite players will have and unlock customisation options for the Mk. VII Spartan armour, mixing and matching shoulders, helmets, visors, kneepads, and more. If you have the battle pass, you’ll be able to unlock the Mk. V armour core and then earn cosmetics for that armour set. Cosmetics for different cores will not be mixed.
Hook said. “For us, the system that’s been created with the [armor] core at the center, and then all of the attachments that players can choose to add. Do you want Emile’s knives? You want Jorge’s grenades? Mix and match how you want to create your own, or if you’re just like, ‘No, I want to look exactly like Jun’ then you can do that. And for the first time, you can look exactly like Kat with the prosthetic arm.”
Events will run alongside the battle pass, as will something called the Fracture.
“You get a special playlist and you get a new reward track for [each event],” Lead Progression Designer Chris Blohm said. “That’s two weeks for an event and one week for the Fracture, but the Fracture comes back every month and it saves your progress. Now that’s another case where we had a long talk. We said, ‘How much do we expect people to play?’ Right? And let’s balance it. So you know what, if they’re at their parents’ house for a week and they don’t have their Xbox they still can get everything that is on the reward track.”
And what exactly is the Fracture? It’s an opportunity for 343 to step outside the traditional Halo universe and introduce wilder cosmetics, such as the samurai-inspired armour that was teased several months ago. 343 are dipping a toe into the waters of zany cosmetics that fuel other free to play games, but for now it’s a softly softly approach. We’ll see what the game looks like two or three years down the line.
While I’m sure a lot of these elements will worry veteran Halo game players, the battle pass progression through weekly challenges and the way that cosmetics can eventually not be grounded in Halo, the main takeaway is that 343 and Microsoft are being respectful of a gamer’s time. I am absolutely, 100% here for games accepting that a) I don’t want to have to treat playing them like a second job and b) that I might want to play something completely different and not feel completely lost if and when I return.
Halo Infinite will release on 8th December for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC.