Following its unveiling at E3 2021, 343 Industries has gone into more detail on Halo Infinite’s multiplayer, explaining the thinking behind its seasonal structure, its Battle Passes and the title of its first season: Heroes of Reach.
In a recent Inside Infinite blog post on Halo Waypoint, Live Team Design Director, Ryan Paradis, and Lead Progression Designer, Christopher Blohm, revealed that Halo Infinite’s multiplayer seasons will have a quarterly structure, with a new season kicking off “roughly every three months... with a ton of updates, new gameplay content, new events, new systems, new customizations, new progressions.”
The reason for this three-monthly refresh is, according to Paradis, “because it gives players a good amount of time to experience and explore the Seasonal content, without it getting tiresome and without constantly pulling the rug from under players.” Adding to this, Blohm said, “we do not want to demand that players play a ton of hours every week of the season to complete everything. We want players having fun in Halo, not grind it like it’s a job.”
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343 Industries is making it pretty clear that it wants to avoid forcing players to grind with its seasonal structure, which seems to feed into its plans for Halo Infinite’s Battle Pass. It was confirmed in the initial multiplayer reveal that the game's Battle Passes won’t expire and Paradis expands on this, explaining that 343 Industries wants to be “player-first” with Halo Infinite’s Battle Passes.
“Season 1 Battle Pass will be around forever; you can always go back, select that as your active Battle Pass and continue to earn progress in it,” Paradis says, “If you decided to take a Season off, or you simply didn’t have time to play, that’s fine. You can always go back and purchase any prior Battle Pass as well. Additionally, our passes will always include various free rewards in addition to the premium track. This goes back to a few pillars of ours: Provide unambiguous value and maintain that player-first focus.”
The idea behind permanent Battle Passes is that it will remove the grind and sense of obligation to play that can sometimes arise with timed-access. “We want it to be a supplemental reward stream for the time you were already putting into the game,” Paradis explains, “I for one can’t stand it when I’m playing a game JUST to complete the Battle Pass – it feels like a chore to me.”
The big picture
As the game doesn't have a firm release date we don’t know when exactly multiplayer's seasons will begin but the Halo Waypoint blog also revealed that the first season will be titled "Heroes of Reach". Head of Creative for Halo Infinite, Joseph Staten, explains that 343 Industries has “a goal to deeply root your Multiplayer character in the larger Halo universe and give them a vital, active role in the Halo story moving forward.”
How this will work over the course of the game’s seasons isn’t detailed but Staten adds that “Heroes of Reach” was picked as the first season’s theme for “very specific reasons”, explaining, “Reach has a rich history; it’s a key location for Spartans of old and a focal point for a new generation of Spartans preparing to wrestle with the perils and mysteries of a galaxy that has fundamentally changed after the events of Halo 5.” The first season, then, “takes place at a transformational moment in Halo history—at the pivot point from one generation of heroes to the next” and, Staten adds, “your Multiplayer hero is waiting just offstage, geared up for battle and ready to spring into action.”
This information follows on from the Halo Infinite multiplayer deep-dive which took place earlier in June. Over the course of a twelve-minute video and accompanying blog post, 343 Industries introduced players to Halo Infinite’s multiplayer and gave them a broad overview of what they can expect from it. If you missed that overview, you can watch it for yourself below:
Halo Infinite doesn’t have a release date just yet but it is still slated to launch in Holiday 2021 on Xbox and PC. Very recently, amid concerns that the release date might slip again, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer clarified that Halo Infinite release window has been narrowed down to “a few weeks”, and that both Microsoft and 343 Industries are confident about hitting the Holiday 2021 window.
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Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.