343 Industries treated gaming fans to an early Christmas gift in late November when they surprisingly dropped Halo Infinite’s multiplayer ahead of the announced release date in celebration of Xbox’s 20th anniversary.
But it didn’t take long for fans of the beloved franchise to come to the realization that the game severely departed from previous installments in one crucial aspect: content. And while this can largely be attributed to Halo moving to a free-to-play model, the game feels as if it limits players on how they’re allowed to play the game. Now 343 find themselves in an interesting situation, as they managed to stick the landing on making Halo Infinite feel like a successor to old Halo games, but failed to properly transition the franchise to a freemium model. Luckily for them, their problem can easily be fixed with a few simple additions and adjustments.
Here are 5 things that, if implemented, can ensure Halo Infinite retains its popularity long term, and allow the franchise to reclaim its throne as the king of the FPS genre.
Clean up battle pass
Free-to-play games depend on their cosmetics and battle passes, and Halo Infinite is no different. As of right now the first battle pass ‘Heroes of Reach’ has received a lukewarm reaction at best, it does include the iconic armor sets of the Halo Reach campaign characters, but also feels stuffed with filler (looking at you challenge rerolls).
Getting players to open up their wallets for enticing cosmetics is going to be key for Infinite’s success in the long term, and fan reaction seems to indicate that challenge rerolls and armor specific colors are not the way to do so.
Halo Infinite, while including some animations in the battle pass, seemingly missed a huge opportunity in bringing back the iconic assassinations that trigger when executing someone with a melee to the back. Other games with similar models to Infinite have implemented animations as valuable cosmetics and seen huge success, such as Fortnite that has dances, or Valorant which adds specific final animations to certain skin lines. Halo could easily turn assassinations (which were introduced in Halo Reach and could’ve perfectly fit the theme of this season) into its cosmetic animation of choice.
Cosmetics that don’t cost money
As it stands, Halo Infinite does not have player levels tied to profiles like previous installments, and the only form of progression comes from the battle pass. This leads to one huge issue if Halo wants to keep players around: grinding the game outside of the battle pass is seemingly worthless. With seemingly nothing to strive towards, what reason will players that don’t have the battle pass or already completed it have towards playing?
Here is where unlockable cosmetics could come into play, as they’d give incentive to grind the game. A few options for players that don’t mind grinding a bit would go a long way, and could even serve as a way to showcase your mastery or dedication to the game. This isn’t a foreign concept to the franchise either, as it has been implemented in previous Halo games. Infinite could only benefit from having its equivalent to Halo 3’s Recon armor, which was notorious for how difficult it was to unlock and when worn, would strike fear into the heart of an opponent.
Bring back old maps and weapons
Whether tied to timed events, specific seasons, or to bring them back permanently, pulling aspects of previous Halo games into Infinite would benefit the shooter immensely. The return of previous maps or old weapons would give players a reason to keep coming back, as it allows for fans of older Halo games to revisit some of their favorite parts of the franchise and give new fans an introduction to what made Halo great in the first place.
Imagine how fun it could be to revisit Guardian from Halo 3 but now with a grappling hook? Or getting your hands on the Needle Rifle from Halo Reach just like the good ol’ days?
Support for community creations
The fan-favorite forge mode is slated to arrive later next year to Halo Infinite, and with it players can expect an endless amount of new custom maps and games modes to sink their teeth into. But if Infinite wants to feel like the proper evolution of the Halo franchise, Forge should evolve too, perhaps by introducing mod support much like Valve has done with its games or Bethesda has with Skyrim.
The Halo franchise thrives when the community gets to play their way, and implementing mod support and unlocking the creative side of the community even further guarantees that players will constantly find new reasons to boot up the game.
Probably the biggest issue that Infinite is facing is the lack of playlists. Luckily it’s one that 343 is already aware of, but still needs mentioning. Currently Halo Infinite has 3 playlists (Big Team Battle, Quick Play and Ranked Play) that each have a wide variety of game modes. With no voting options or dedicated playlists for specific modes, players are at the mercy of the draw when it comes to what they get to play next.
While frustrating in its own right, it’s especially annoying due to how many challenges are tied to specific game modes or weapons. This current system has led to a multitude of issues, from players having to grind for hours before they get their hands on the map or weapon needed, to lobbies being filled with people leaving due to it not meeting the criteria of whatever challenge they’re trying to accomplish.
Having dedicated playlists for specific games modes or even dividing them between objective based ones (CtF, Oddball, Total Control) and slayer based game modes (Slayer, Fiesta, SWAT) would alleviate these issues, and give the community a wider array of game modes to choose from.