It’s a rare day in Video Game Land when fans ask for a bunch of stuff from a live service game and then…actually get it. But that’s exactly what happened today, when developer 343 Industries rolled out a ton of community-requested features to Halo Infinite, its free-to-play multiplayer shooter.
Halo Infinite, first released last year, has had a bit of a rocky life cycle. As with many free-to-play shooters, Halo Infinite is based on a seasonal model. Initially planned to last three months, the seasons have so far operated on six-month cycles. (We’re partway through the second season, which is set to run until early November.) Fans say this has left the shooter starved of essential content—like maps, modes, and cosmetics—preventing it from feeling as fresh as it could be.
The shooter is also structured around a rollout of weekly challenges. Completing your challenges nets you XP, which levels up your battle pass, giving you new cosmetic options with each level. Previously, you could only check on your active challenges while idling in the lobby between matches. Following today’s update, you can see them in the middle of a match. There’s a catch, though: Challenges don’t track progress in real time, so you won’t actually know if you landed those five headshots or whatever until the match is over. But hey, progress!
Today’s update also marks Halo Infinite’s first step toward “cross-core customization,” or the ability to use all customization options on all “armor cores.” Rather than one set of armor for your avatar, a 26th-century supersoldier, you have five so-called armor “cores.” Each one rocks a different look; you can customize them as you see fit. But cosmetic options—from accessories to armor parts to even the various color options—are tied specifically to each core. You can’t, for instance, use any colors from the Mark VII core’s veritable Crayola box of armor coatings on the cores that lack solid options (looking right at you, Mark V [B]).
Now, after today’s update, all visors work with all armor cores; they’ll just show up automatically for all five of your cores. Unless I’m missing it, though, the armory doesn’t indicate which armor core the visor was initially associated with. And since some are more or less identical—like the Yoroi core’s deep blue Tempered Steel and the Rakshasa core’s deep blue Tempered Steel—you end up with a handful of visor options that look like duplicates. (Your regular reminder that you can hold the Y button to compare any cosmetic option with what you’ve currently equipped.) But hey, again: progress!
That’s not all. Later in the month, Halo Infinite will receive competitive and social versions of the beloved Team Doubles playlist, in which teams of two face off on small maps. (These are currently scheduled for August 23, but 343 hasn’t always hit targeted dates for Infinite’s updates.) But 343 quietly changed the Team Snipers playlist today, rolling out an update that wasn’t in the official announcement, calling attention to it only on social media.
Ever since the Team Snipers playlist’s rollout earlier this summer, it’s featured a mode that starts you off with the stalker rifle—a damn good precision weapon…that’s also extremely not a sniper rifle. After today, that mode is gone, replaced by a mode that only spawns you with snipers. Shotty Snipes, in which you start with a sniper and a shotgun, is still there, thankfully. Sadly, the Brute Snipes mode hasn’t been purged, though at least the starting weapon, the skewer, is technically a sniper rifle. Sorry, no word yet either on whether or not Halo Infinite will get a mode with only the shock rifle. But hey, one last time: progress!
Sure, individually, these are all small changes. But taken together, it’s a sign of a game that’s slowly adapting to what players want it to be—much like Halo: The Master Chief Collection before it. Soon enough, we’ll all wake up and realize Halo Infinite too has legitimately evolved into a live service game.