If you thought all the “Craig memes” were the lowest point of Halo Infinite, guess again. Today over on Halo Waypoint, 343 Industries has finally revealed that Halo Infinite will replace previous games’ color customization option with a Destiny-like shader system called ‘Coatings’. Yep, say goodbye to choose-your-own primary and secondary colors. Now thanks to the brand-spanking-new Halo Infinite coating system, you have to wait until 343 permits you to dress up in a puke green and purple combination.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a quote directly from the blog post:
Coloration, along with materials and patterns, will now be baked into the coating, taking the place of the primary/secondary armor color options found in prior games. While we understand that many players are fond of the previous color system, we’re very excited about the breadth and scope of armor, weapon, and vehicle customization options that will be available in Halo Infinite because of the coating system.”
Turns out the Monarch coating they showed off a while back isn’t an armor variation. It’s just a purple color for your armor. That’s exclusive to Mondelez snacks. There’s also a green and black Halo Infinite coating for the Assault Rifle from the Monster Energy promotion. In the blog post, they even show the Red Shift coating you can get by purchasing any Halo or Xbox merchandise at GameStop from November 9 to December 13.
What boggles me is that they admitted that player expression “has been a key pillar of Halo Infinite“, but still have the gall to limit something as simple as picking primary and secondary color hidden behind unlockables. You can lock vehicle, weapons, or visor colors behind coatings, I absolutely don’t care. Those are new features that come from The Master Chief Collection. The problem is changing your Spartan’s color has been a feature since the very first game! It’s just changing A with B. Red with blue. Why “reinvent” it? Even the Destiny community still has mixed feelings about their own shader system (especially since Bungie made it into a one-time-use consumable).
“Maybe at least you can use it infinitely like in Destiny 1,” you said. Sure, let’s hope at least it will be that way. But another problem instantly sprung, based on a quote straight from the Halo Infinite Lead Player Investment Designer Christopher Blohm,
A ‘coating’ is “a seven-layer shader that allows us to put any artist-authored color, material, or pattern into seven channels and apply it to in-game items like weapons, armor, and vehicles.”
Artist-authored. Since Halo is well-known for its region-specific marketing (especially with Doritos and Mountain Dew), I’m gonna assume a lot of this “artist-authored” color is going to be locked behind promotional materials. Wow, what a system to ensure “player expression” it is.
343 Industries even blatantly said that some of the Halo Infinite coatings will be “limited in nature” — and basically you just have to put up with it. What if you just want to pick a basic blue-and-yellow color for your character; but it’s a promotion-exclusive coating for the USA? And you don’t live in the US? Or that coating is exclusive to Germany? Tough luck, here, enjoy the boring orange-and-light-blue you can get from in-game instead. Or maybe you can buy a scalped empty Pringles can from Germany for $500 to get the code.
We also want to stress that we know some folks are likely going to be disheartened by the limited nature of some of these current programs (tied to specific regions or products), but please rest assured the team has a lot of customization content planned including items that will be earned in-game and some that will be earned as special rewards.
Do you know what the better solution is? Make it so that you can still freely choose the primary and secondary armor color, but, restrict coating as materials or textures. Basic armor would look like cheap plastic or just bland-looking matte, and when you want to make it look weathered, battle-damaged, polished shiny, or even having different undershirt materials, then you have to look for the specific coating. Bam. The basic system is still in place and there’s still a way to add microtransactions opportunities or what have you. Everyone’s happy. Current Halo Infinite coating system though? Absolutely insane and I don’t think it ever will change back.
Despite my strong opinions though, I would like to hear your thoughts on this change in the comments. Do you think these coatings will be better than implied? Or will this change hurt the game immensely? Let me know in the comments below!