With Halo Infinite seemingly on track to release next month, IGN recently sat down with head of design Jerry Hook and lead progression designer Chris Blohm to discuss the multiplayer progression and battle pass. There’s been lots of discussion about the battle pass, especially since players won’t earn XP from matches to progress it. Obviously there are no loot boxes and the battle passes never expire since the developer doesn’t, as Blohm notes, “want people to burn out at the end of the season” and to “feel healthy and come back because they’re excited to” rather than by obligation.
“We wanted to be able to say, ‘Hey, look, when you put 10 bucks in, you keep that 10 bucks.'” It is important to clarify though – only one battle pass can remain active and gain XP. Players can switch between battle passes whenever they like and each quarter (so every 25th tier) offers a Legendary cosmetic with special effects. Furthermore, the battle passes from the test flights are not indicative of the final battle passes. And as noted before, event passes are completely separate.
Season 1: Heroes of Reach will be the first battle pass and is themed on Halo: Reach. “We know people like [Halo] Reach and we knew the story was going to have another Reach beat — in the paperback books, there’s a Reach beat [in Halo: Shadows of Reach] after Halo 5. The Infinity goes back to Reach. So we just started full speed ahead on the best of the Reach customization,” said Blohm. The first armor core in the pass is the Mk. V armor which comes with various customization options.
“When we were looking at the Heroes of Reach and what [Blohm] and the team pulled together is a really great model of how we’re trying to tell a visual story with the battle pass of earning characters, basically through all the Reach characters with the battle pass. 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.”
Other rewards include Death Effects, new armor effects, armor kits (which allows one to look like a specific Noble Team member). Players through the campaign will also unlock new cosmetics and there’s a reward to be had from completing all weekly challenges. As for events, they’ll have their own free passes and won’t require purchase.
“You get a special playlist and you get a new reward track for [each event],” says Blohm. “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.”
The Fracture event is where the new samurai-themed Yoroi armor can be earned along with other non-canon cosmetics. Hook notes that, “Multiplayer Spartans aren’t Master Chief. Occasionally they have bright colors. Occasionally, you know in Reach, they have a flaming helmet. We want to be very careful about how we treat some of these things and that’s one of the reasons we brought The Fracture in as we brought it in. What we’re saying with a Fracture is very clearly, ‘Hey, this isn’t canon. This isn’t a Spartan that’s fighting the Banished.'”
Hook caps off by stating that the battle pass system “is really just a small part of the overall ecosystem for a season. When we take a look at our events or events structures, it’s not just about another place in which you’re selling things. It’s about taking that structure of a battle pass and layering it with each of the events structures that we have as well. What Chris says a lot, which is I think pretty critical to the success of it, is we want players anytime they engage in an activity to be able to feel rewarded. The battle pass sort of sits above all of that, which is whenever you’re playing, you’re feeling rewarded from the battle pass. That’s our goal.”
Halo Infinite launches on December 8th for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and PC. Stay tuned for more details on its multiplayer in the coming weeks.
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