The community revolt against Halo Infinite and its progression and microtransactions driven business model is now rounding out its second week. Complaints about its battle pass and aggressive in-game store have burned on social media since it launched on Monday last week.
What’s been interesting about this fallout is that it has been happening in tandem with another community meltdown. Battlefield 2042 launched to middling fan reception and its myriad issues have left the community torn on what it would like addressed first.
But there is something the Battlefield 2042 community seems to agree on: things could be worse. It could be the Halo community.
The Battlefield community has noticed the Halo fans tearing into Infinite‘s multiplayer and some don’t believe their grievances are as serious as the problems facing BF2042. The launch window for Battlefield 2042 has been rough, certainly. The rickety state of its gameplay has been scorched by aggrieved fans. These same players aren’t really sure how to properly explain their larger concerns. Thus, much of the community criticism around the game has devolved into nitpicking.
If you’ll grant me a moment to editorialise? To me, this feels less about pedantry and more like the effect of the black box that is game design. So much of the game development process is a mystery to the average player. Because of this, nitpicking becomes the only language many players have to properly express their dissatisfaction. Something I’ve been thinking about lately. Thanks for indulging me. Back to the story.
Halo Infinite, despite its microtransactions and battle pass, is a game that has launched in an extremely solid state. Bugs are minimal and generally of the unobtrusive (or outright funny) variety. Weapon balance still requires some tweaking, but it’s not the end of the world.
Some Halo fans have taken umbrage at this, insisting they feel Halo Infinite contains predatory microtransactions that are every bit as bad as the unstable state of BF2042.
The Battlefield community returned fire, insisting that widespread issues with performance and gameplay constitute a far worse state of affairs than a robustly made free-to-play game putting its hand out.
The Halo community says the issues extend beyond the microtransactions and into the game’s broader design.
The Battlefielders reminded the Haloans that Infinite is currently in beta and EA saw fit to ship BF2042 as a final retail release.
Halo Infinite fans contend 343 knew what it was doing with microtransactions and has (and continues to) wilfully rip its community off.
It should be said that those Halo players that dipped a toe into Battlefield 2042‘s waters seemed to have their minds changed on a few things.
If you feel these arguments are like chalk and cheese, I don’t know that I could blame you. However, together they do create an interesting picture of first-person shooter design in 2021. Both games were produced by a massive global workforce, remotely, as a pandemic swept across the world. Video games are hard to make. They must be a thousand times harder to make at home.
Neither community is wrong to feel aggrieved, particularly when these games are asking for such significant sums of your time and cash. Just remember that as frustrated as you might be, don’t take it out on the devs. Despite what you may believe, nobody sets out to make a bad game.