For a game with an ostensibly deep wardrobe, Halo Infinite’s player base sure loves to wear the same clothes. Not sure if you’ve noticed, but it seems like everyone in 343 Industries’ buzzy first-person shooter is either all-gray or a samurai.
Halo Infinite, which saw its free-to-play multiplayer portion released on November 15 for Xbox and PC, features a raft of cool cosmetics, par for the course for a game based on such a model. Thing is, most of the coolest offerings are locked behind a paywall. And those you can get for free aren’t exactly anything to write home about.
There are two ways to pay your way to fancier armor. You could progress through the seasonal battle pass, which grants better, and more frequent, rewards if you pay $10 for the premium version. Or you could peruse the cosmetic store, where items can be purchased piecemeal for anywhere from $7 (a bundle including a weapon skin, an armor skin, and a post-match stance) to $20 (a weapon skin plus some armor modifications). The store resets weekly. And, crucially, most weapon skins you buy are limited to use on a specific set of armor.
If you’re hewing to the “free” part of free-to-play, you have ten color options for your Spartan’s default set of armor: blue, brick, brown, cyan, forest green, gray, orange, sage green, violet, and yellow. You can earn extra colors by hitting levels 11 (stone green), 41 (a muted lilac), 56 (stone gray, rather than gray gray), 66 (another grayscale tone, one flecked with brown spots), and 76 (a colorway called “noble portal,” which is...gray with a tan chestplate) in the free version of the battle pass. But for the most part, the free color options aren’t particularly good.
Halo Infinite’s second set of armor, the Mark V [B], is only available to those who pay for the premium battle pass. But a bonus third set, the samurai-inspired Yoroi kit, was a prize up for grabs for those who played Halo Infinite during its monthly event. The event armor currently only available in one free color: binding shadow, which is [drum roll] really just a synonym for “dark gray.” (No, I refuse to recognize that hideous American flag pattern as a legitimate paint job.) There’s also an option with some color in it, but it’s designed to look worn and faded—meaning that drab colors are still prevalent.
That everyone wears the same stuff makes a certain degree of sense—free stuff is always gonna be more popular than not-free stuff—but there could be a tactical rationale, too. Much of Halo Infinite’s architecture is gray-toned. By rocking a similarly drab suit of armor, you won’t stick out nearly as much as players who wear, say, the cyan, the yellow, the orange, or that eyesore of an American flag suit.
Gray isn’t the only drab tone to dominate Halo Infinite’s player base. If you complete all of your weekly challenges in any given week, you unlock a customization option. Last week, the prize was an off-white colorway called “willow tea.” Your weekly slate of challenges is totally randomized, but the capstone challenge—the one that actually grants you the reward—is the same for everyone, and last week’s was a doozy: earn five killing sprees in Fiesta.
You can strategize around earning killing sprees (five kills without dying) in typical Halo modes. In Fiesta, a mode that spawns everyone with a randomized loadout, it’s impossible to predict what equipment your opponents have, meaning last week’s capstone was entirely contingent on luck. If you succeeded, you’d obviously want to show off your reward, a badge of honor for all to see. (Guilty as charged.) No wonder it’s everywhere this week.
Scroll through the color options for the standard Mark VII armor and you’ll see a slew of forthcoming options, replete with instructions on how to get them. Among the crop, there’s the vivid-red scarlet wake (“stay tuned for more details”), the striking-white bleached bone (“stay tuned for more details”), and the blue-hued arctic void (“available in the store now!”). Some day, we may have a veritable Crayola box of Spartans prowling the battlefields of Halo Infinite. But for the time being, don’t expect anything more than a sea of grays.