343 has moved to calm growing concern about Halo Infinite's new customisation system.
Last week, 343 published a blog post outlining Halo Infinite's new coating system, which had been revealed by various marketing promotions left in place despite the shooter's high-profile delay into 2021.
"Admittedly, product promotions weren't how we originally envisioned sharing the first look at some of these customisation elements," Halo community manager John Junyszek said.
A coating in Halo Infinite is a seven-layer shader that lets the developers put any artist-authored colour, material or pattern into seven channels and apply it to in-game items such as weapons, armour and vehicles.
This new system ditches the popular primary/secondary armour customisation system of previous Halo games - something that has caused quite the stir within the Halo community.
"While we understand that many players are fond of the previous colour system, we're very excited about the breadth and scope of armour, weapon, and vehicle customisation options that will be available in Halo Infinite because of the coating system," Junyszek continued.
The Halo community reacted to this blog post by speculating about how this new coating system works, lamenting the loss of the old system while expressing concern about the possibility it would be tied to microtransactions.
Junyszek then moved to calm this concern in a series of tweets, insisting players will be able to earn customisation items such as coatings in-game, but also confirming they will be sold for real-world money.
I'm seeing a decent amount of confusion around coatings out there, so I wanted to jump in and address some of the common talking points. Thread below! https://t.co/D6tP6pgSZU— John Junyszek (@Unyshek) October 24, 2020
"There will be all kinds of customisation items (including coatings) that can be earned in-game and earned as special rewards," Junyszek said. "Will there be purchases? Sure. Is that the only way? Absolutely not."
Junyszek also responded to the suggestion Halo Infinite use a hybrid system that would let players change their colours as they wish, while the rest of the coating remains the same.
"We love this idea," Junyszek responded, "but colours and materials are designed and built into each specific coating. I'm hoping to elaborate on the tech behind coatings in a future Community Update."
It sounds like 343 agonised over ditching the the primary/secondary armour customisation system during development. Junyszek said moving away from the old colour system "was a tough call", but said "it has allowed us to go into greater detail and variation with armour colour, materials, patterns, etc".
"You are going to look great in Halo Infinite."
Despite these tweets, there's a real sense of scepticism within the Halo community about this new customisation system, which has already been compared to Destiny's controversial shaders.
Redditor ptheiway called on 343 to improve its communication with fans, criticising how Halo Infinite's coating was revealed.
"They announce this new system for armour/colour customisation, but they didn't even explain how it will work," they said in a post on the Halo sub. "This leaves the community questioning 343 and panicking about the new shader system. 343 should've talked about how shaders will work and affect customisation. Are you able to customise shaders or are they static? Are they earned through gameplay, real money, or both? If it's real money, how will people who don't buy customise their spartan? Is there a way to change your spartan colours without a shader? Or is it something you can optionally equip?"
Halo fans are also pointing out that it sounds like the new coating system actually takes away customisation options from players compared to what they're used to in previous games in the series.
Amid growing discontent, 343 will want to show how this new customisation system works in-game as soon as possible, and of course it didn't help that fans' first look came from promotions that kicked off before the developers had a chance to do a deep dive. "We are excited by the system's overall potential," said Junyszek.
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