Like clockwork, players of Halo Infinite’s free-to-play multiplayer mode are bristling at the price of a cosmetic item. But wait! It’s different this time, I promise. For one, the backlash comes on the heels of a positively received slew of changes in Halo Infinite. For another, it’s only partially due to the price tag.
Yesterday, developer 343 Industries added a bevy of player-requested multiplayer modes and playlists, to general praise across the board. (Boo-yah, Slayer.) Those launched alongside a time-limited armour bundle in Infinite’s store, which has received what can generously be called the opposite of praise, mostly due to what fans say is a steep sticker price, but also because the armour has been standard-issue in some previous Halo games.
Every Tuesday, Halo Infinite’s in-game store resets its slate of offerings, typically featuring an armour set, a vehicle skin, and a bundle of weapon skins. Right now, the main armour bundle up for grabs is the HAZOP armour set, which is currently on sale for 2,000 credits (A$25) of real-world money in Infinite’s microtransaction store). Picking it up grants you access to nine cosmetic options for your Halo Infinite player avatar: the HAZOP helmet, a series of similar armour attachments, a murky brown visor colouring, and the “tasman hunter” armour coating (basically a light grey with orange accents).
Responses to the announcement are by and large negative, with players wondering why the price is so high; offering suggestions for a different pricing tier, usually to the tune of $US10 (A$14) or $US5 (A$7); and sharing pictures of Giancarlo Esposito’s pitch-perfect glare. As ever, in addition, there’s also no shortage of vitriol, but we needn’t give that stuff any more oxygen than it already has.
— Halo (@Halo) December 14, 2021
It’s not just that folks think 2,000 credits is a steep asking price (every weekly set of Halo Infinite armour has the same price tag) but also that the HAZOP helmet has a long history in Halo’s suite of customisation options. In 2010, it appeared in Halo: Reach, where you could unlock it relatively easily by just playing the game. It also showed up in 2019 as an unlockable item in Halo: The Master Chief Collection, once that game pivoted to a seasonal model.
And then there’s the matter that, yes, it’s 2,000 credits at face value. But this entire batch of HAZOP customisation options is only applicable on the Mark V [B] armour kit. While you needn’t make it far into the battle pass to unlock that kit, you do need the premium battle pass, an upgrade that’ll run you 1,000 credits ($US9 (A$13) of real-world money). In other words, while the HAZOP armour set itself is $US18 (A$25), it’ll cost you $US27 (A$38) to equip it, though of course that $US9 (A$13) gets you a whole bunch of other unlockable items, including cosmetic options and those coveted challenge swaps.
But these price tags shouldn’t come as the world’s biggest surprise. After all, this is the very same game that just yesterday asked players to fork over 700 credits (not totally sure the maths there but let’s say, I don’t know, $US8 (A$11) or $US9 (A$13)?) on a tea bag charm that’d dangle underneath the barrel of your sidearm.