When Halo Infinite’s recurring “Fracture: Tenrai” event comes back in January, it’ll be significantly more generous with its rewards. That’s according to 343 Industries’ head of design, Jerry Hook, who said as much during the company’s holiday community stream on Twitch earlier this week.
Halo Infinite has had its free-to-play multiplayer mode available on Xbox and PC for about a month now. Like most first-person shooters driven by such a model, it features a seasonal battle pass, which you progress through by earning XP by completing task-based challenges. As you progress through levels, you unlock cosmetic options for your player avatar, a 25th-century supersoldier.
In November, 343 Industries kicked off the week-long Fracture: Tenrai event, planned to run multiple times before Infinite’s first season expires in May 2022. Fracture: Tenrai features a battle pass of its own. It’s free, and you could progress through it in tandem with the standard-issue battle pass. During the event’s first run, you could only power through levels by completing challenges affiliated with the Fiesta game mode, a frenetic game type that spawns players with random gear. The event’s battle pass featured legendary gear tied to the samurai-inspired Yoroi armor kit.
That stoked some controversy. Trailers and publicity stills about the event showed off an impressive wardrobe of sick gear, but much of the customization for the gear was inaccessible to even the most dedicated players. (During the first run, you could only unlock seven levels. The coolest gear wasn’t available until you hit double-digits.) And then there’s the matter that some items, like the so-called Sentinel’s Blades, ran up what players deemed a steep sticker price, only available in Halo Infinite’s microtransaction store.
Expect this to change, at least somewhat, during Tenrai’s second run.
“We want to make sure that, when we’re showing assets from a marketing perspective or a communication perspective, players are very clear what’s [available in the] store versus what’s free,” Hook said of the discrepancy. “None of that stuff should be available in the store. We made that mistake. I’m sorry about that.”
Hook went on to say that, when Fracture: Tenrai returns on January 4, its battle pass will feature fewer XP boosts (single-use items that double the amount of XP you earn for an hour) and challenge swaps (single-use items that allow you to swap out one of your weekly challenges). Instead, it’ll feature more of what Hook called “actual content—shoulders, coatings, gear pieces.”
Here’s where it gets interesting. A representative for Microsoft, Halo Infinite’s publisher, clarified to Polygon this week that while Fracture: Tenrai’s return will feature more cosmetic options in the free battle pass, it won’t feature the items previously available in the store.
Representatives for Microsoft did not immediately respond to clarification from Kotaku regarding which items would and would not be included for free. Presumably, the most controversial item—the Sentinel’s Blades, a purely cosmetic katana kit that cost 1,500 credits ($15, or approximately $13 for Game Pass members)—won’t be included in the new pass.
Fracture: Tenrai is currently scheduled to return on January 4, 2022, and run through January 10, 2022, with another week slated for the first week of February, after which it’ll come back once per month through the rest of the season. Earlier this week, 343 Industries said it’ll increase the frequency with which Tenrai-related challenges appear, but did not detail what special playlist you’ll have to play to progress through the bonus battle pass. On Tuesday, 343 added Fiesta as a permanent game mode in Halo Infinite.