Live Service games have taken up a lucrative trend over the last few years of including Battle Passes within their games, whether they’re Free-To-Play or not, and Halo Infinite is no different. The competition is fierce, and not always well received. Battle Passes tend to leave players with the dreaded feeling of FOMO, or fear of missing out, on some cool cosmetics that have no effect on gameplay, at least not intentionally. Unfortunately, skins like Rook from Season 5 of Call of Duty: Warzone occasionally do. 343 Industries plans to shake up the tried and true Battle Pass formula in a major way with Halo Infinite.
Battle Passes like those found in Fortnite, Call of Duty, or even Destiny allow players to purchase levels of the season pass to help eliminate the FOMO that is deliberately baked into these systems, but if you don’t have the time or money to front for these items, even if you’ve purchased the Battle Pass, they will be removed entirely from the game upon the end of the current Season. This makes it impossible to earn or purchase any items that may either be coveted by the community or to take advantage of the full value of your purchase unless you can put in time for the grind during that specific season, each one typically lasting 3 months. Halo Infinite is going about it in a game-changing way.
I Want It That Way
In 343’s Halo Infinite Multiplayer Overview ViDoc, Christopher Blohm, Lead Player Investment Designer at 343, said that “The Halo Battle Pass will never be taken away from you, and what I mean by that is once you buy it it’s yours and does not expire.” He continues, “In future seasons, you can purchase old Battle Passes as well as the current Battle Pass and choose which Battle Pass to put your progression towards.” This is something that hasn’t technically been done in any other Live Service game with a Battle Pass feature (Halo: The Master Chief Collection has a system extremely similar to this but doesn’t charge for its Season Passes); You will have the ability to go back and work towards that cool set of armor from Season 2 when we’re a few weeks into season 12 because you came out and grinded until you finished that Battle Pass faster than most, and now you want to continue playing as well as earning cool rewards. The possibility of finding yourself thinking, “Man, that BR skin that guy had last match was cool, but I don’t have it, what season is that from?” Halo Infinite is making it possible to pull it up either on a Wiki or on the revamped Halo Waypoint and seeing that cool BR skin and that its from 2 seasons ago when you took that break to play something else. Knowing that you can go into the game and buy that specific season some 5, 10, or even 20 seasons down the line is nothing short of a revolution to the Battle Pass model.
But Wait, There’s More
Ryan Paradis, Formerly of Bungie’s Live Service team and currently the Live Design Director at 343, adds, “All of these rewards are single source…” This is another equally important thing to note that, isn’t as major of an issue in Live Service games, but is something that has personally bothered me in the past. I hate working my butt off to hit rank 100 in a game and unlocking the top tier loot that’s attached to it, only to find out that my friends bought their way through it and only put a few hours into the game that season. With Halo Infinite’s Battle Passes, you won’t have to worry about how someone who no scopes you in Multiplayer got their sick Emblem or Coating or Shoulder Pads, you’ll know that they worked their butts off getting those sick rewards, too. Paradis continues, “…we’re not going to let any other player circumvent that [time and effort] by purchasing it out of the storefront.” This also means that players won’t be able to skip levels or make up for lost opportunities because their real lives got in the way of their gaming lives, further proving 343’s commitment to allowing fans to play Halo how they want to, when they want to, and hopefully, more than they want to.
Raking It In
Perhaps the biggest question I still have about Halo Infinite’s incredibly consumer friendly Battle Pass system is highlighted by another quote from Blohm who says later in the video, “A lot of our stuff is unlocked through playing the game, and only through playing the game.” This leaves me wondering how Halo Infinite is going to continue to make money beyond initial Battle Pass sales each seasons, if there will be items that are exclusively available for purchase outside of the Battle Passes and what those items might be, and what might come free each season for players as the game grows and evolves.
We know Halo Infinite is more than a game. It’s a platform that’s meant to last 10 years or more, and I hope that however 343 decides to monetize their Free-To-Play Multiplayer, a first for the franchise, that it continues to be as consumer- and player-friendly as it sounds right now. Most importantly, I hope that other franchises that have adapted the Battle Pass model see this and find a way to adapt it, too.