When Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 first appeared in "Halo: Combat Evolved," something about him piqued Halo fans' interest.
Maybe it was because his face was hidden behind a helmet. Perhaps it was his ability to single-handedly take on an alien army. Most likely it was the sleek, green Mjolnir (MYOL-neer) armor worn by Spartans of the United Nations Space Command.
Whether you played as Master Chief or an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper (ODST), armor has always had an essential role in the Halo franchise. Halo 3 introduced the option for players to customize their physical appearance beyond changing the color of their armor. It was a novel idea with which fans instantly fell in love.
Fast forward to "Halo Infinite," where armor customization is far more in-depth than previously imagined. Players customize their armor cores with different armor coatings in the Armor Hall — an expansion on "Halo: Reach’s" armor customization feature -– and set themselves apart from the other players in the game.
Players can modify every component of their armor, from the emblem on their shoulder pads to the visor on their helmet. It’s intricate enough that no two players will look identical. There are many different features of the "Halo Infinite" armor system and it is still evolving.
Master Chief dons the Mark VI Mjolnir armor that comes as standard issue for the elite Spartans in "Halo Infinite." His armor is older than modern Mjolnir iterations but is regularly upgraded by his AI ally Cortana and other methods.
Mjolnir's armor technology far surpasses anything that exists in real life. Any liquid the wearer secretes gets recycled and repurposed into drinking water.
It’s best not to think too long about that.
The helmet alone holds an array of systems designed for life-support and communication. It also has a port that allows an artificially intelligent program to be inserted, much like Master Chief’s computerized partner Cortana. Similar to Iron Man and J.A.R.V.I.S. working together in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a Spartan’s AI can alert them to nearby danger and assist.
The Mjolnir armor is composed of interchangeable plates over a full-body “techsuit” –- the padded underarmor -– that allows its wearer to customize the look of their armor. The techsuit offers some defense but isn’t as protective as the armor plating.
The average Joe would collapse under the armor's weight and be unable to survive its "force multiplication" enhancements.
While the armor's circuitry increases the wearer's reflexes and strength at a moment's notice, 343 Industries lore master Kenneth Peters says the "force multiplication would stretch and break and tear the muscles off your bones."
For that reason, Spartans must undergo genetic modifications to increase muscle and bone strength to avoid being killed by a suit that is designed to protect them.
Through the magic of "Halo," you normal humans can wear Master Chief’s armor on your video gamingscreen.
Spartan Armor Is An Inspiration
Video gaming — more specifically, "Halo" gaming — has evolved into more than a simple form of escapism. It’s become a "culture."
Fans create animations with characters from the franchise and compose music based on the series. Most importantly, they dress up as their favorite characters.
Cosplay, dressing in a costume of a favorite character, has become a significant practice among fans from all fandoms.
Master Chief is a popular choice for cosplay enthusiasts. When someone walks into a room clad in the visually striking Mjolnir armor, it’s difficult not to stare and feel like you were just transported to a new (old) world.
There are many annual conventions — Comic-Con, PAX East/West, and Twitch-Con to name a few — to provide fans an opportunity to show their appreciation for Master Chief and other "Halo" characters.
With 3D printing on the rise, it’s even easier for fans to craft their own Spartan armor. It’s a matter of finding the blueprints online and purchasing a 3D printer and some filament. Artistic talent or the ability to build with your hands is no longer necessary.
Other cosplay enthusiasts go the old-fashioned route and build their suits by hand. EVA foam,commonly used in floor and exercise mats, is a popular costume material because it's both affordable and flexible.
Your imagination is your only restriction when creating the armor of a Spartan. The same cannot be said about the "Halo Infinite" armor system.
Armor Cores And Their Features
The armor core is the foundation of all armor in "Halo Infinite." Five cores determine the style of your armor set.
Mark VII is the default core with which all players begin the game. This core is the closest in appearance to Master Chief’s Mark VI armor, with some subtle differences. The only other similar core is the Mark V [B] variant which came with the "Season 01: Heroes of Reach Battle Pass." The Mark V [B] armor was first seen in "Halo: Reach."
The remaining three core sets stray from the traditional appearance of a Spartan. These cores are known as Rakshasa, Eaglestrike, and Yoroi cores. They’re each unlockable via Battle Pass and Event Passes. (More on this later in the article.)
The Rakshasa core is a lightweight variant of the Mjolnir armor. While there are similarities between the Mark VII and Rakshasa core in design, it stands out from the default in several ways. The tech suit, for example, is more prominent under its armor plating than the Mark VII. The Rakshasa core was accessible by attaining Level 6 with the Battle Pass of the second season.
Next, there’s the Eaglestrike core from the United Nations Security Confederation in the Entrenched Fracture. This core has a bulkier look than other cores and was attained from Level 5of the Fractures: Entrenched Events Pass.
Those looking for an especially unique appearance will want to get their hands on the samurai-style Yoroi core. In Halo lore, the clans of the Imperial Court in the Tenrai Fracture employed this armor. Each piece in this core is modeled after samurai fashions from feudal Japan.
Each armor core has varying difficulty to acquire based on its rarity. The Mark V [B] and Rakshasa cores are classified as “epic” while the Yoroi and Eaglestrike cores are “legendary.” Naturally, the default armor core is at a “common” level.
At the launch of "Halo Infinite," players couldn’t mix and match their armor pieces. For example, a Yoroi-style helmet couldn’t go on their Eaglestrike core. Items were locked to specific cores. This limited player options.
However, the developers at 343 Industries said from the outset they were looking into cross-core customization as time went on — and they delivered.
Armor Cores Dropped
A lack of cross-core customization weighed on fans and developers alike. It inhibited customization and was unexpected after previous "Halo" installments didn't have any such limitations. Players were allowed to equip a wide variety of armor, so this seemed like a step backward.
Luckily, "Halo Infinite’s Season 2: Lone Wolves," released in May 2022, delivered unrestricted items that essentially removed the armor core system.
Jerry Hook, 343 Industries’ head of design, said, “We really lost the strength that Halo: Reach and Halo 3 brought to the franchise of allowing players to mix and match everything.”
The plan to roll back the armor core system won’t happen in one fell swoop. It’ll be a gradual progress with only certain items being unrestricted at first, such as helmets, visors, and color coatings. Eventually, it will extend to the rest of the armor pieces.
This news has its pros and cons. While fans will be able to individualize and more completely express themselves, it’s going to be a while before every piece of armor is unrestricted. Patience will be required from the fanbase.
To better improve armor customization in "Halo: Infinite," players can equip each piece of armor with a different color scheme or pattern. Games like "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive" and "Call of Duty" have successfully implemented a similar system with weapons. These are commonly called “skins,” but "Halo Infinite" calls them armor coatings.
These coatings are available for weapons, vehicles, and armor with a variety of color schemes, textures, and patterns that alter a player’s appearance. This is significantly more noticeable by other players than the armor core being worn.
A wide variety of armor coatings are available. While there are default coatings, special requirements must be met to unlock a majority of the others. Players can even root for their favorite Esports team –- from Faze Clan to Optic Gaming -– by equipping their unique coatings in the Armor Hall.
Armor Codes, Battle Pass Unlocks, & Armor Lockers
A variety of methods are available to receive armor pieces, coatings, and other cosmetics. Inputting an armor code is one such method. Codes unlock a variety of cosmetics and equipment in "Halo Infinite."
343 Industries wanted to be unique and offer legacy players a reward for playing previous Halo games. If you played "Halo: The Master Chief Edition," you’re eligible to receive a code that grants you a free armor coating.
Microsoft partnered with Rockstar Energy for a unique promotion. Fans who purchased Rockstar Energy drinks received codes for "Halo Infinite" which allowed them to redeem special in-game items. Players could redeem up to 120 codes that unlocked anything from power bundles to armor coatings.
It seems like every game has a Battle Pass, and Halo Infinite is no exception. The Battle Pass gives players a steady stream of rewards every time they attain a new level. You can acquire pieces of Master Chief’s armor with the Battle Pass, so it is a must-have if you want to run around looking like the franchise’s primary protagonist.
While it’s possible to acquire armor pieces without the Battle Pass, it will take considerably more time to do so.
In addition to the Battle Pass, there are Fracture events and the Event Passes. Fractures are limited-time events that return periodically throughout a season. They’re free to participate in and earn you various cosmetics when you complete them. For example, the Eaglestrike armor core was a reward for completing the "Fracture: Entrenched" event.
Another means of unlocking armor cosmetics is locating the lockers within the "Halo Infinite" campaign. These Mjolnir lockers are spread across the open-world map and require some hunting to discover. These containers include nameplates, emblems, armor pieces, and weapon charms.
"Halo Infinite" is no more protected from future game details getting out to the public than a Hollywood blockbuster. Leaks are a normal occurrence in the entertainment world. Some people appreciate learning information before it has been implemented in the game. Others find it disrespectful to the developers for those details to be leaked early.
However you feel about that issue, armor leaks have appeared since the game’s release and as recently as the start of its second season. As soon as the first season began winding down, websites revealed that Rakshasa armor pieces were being added.
Some leaks are intentional. For example, the Armor Hall previewed the Yoroi armor before it was accessible to players. This teased the upcoming samurai set and gave fans something to look forward to while they played the previously released content.
The Future Of 'Halo Infinite' Armor
Armor plays a large role in "Halo Infinite." It gives players something to work towards and allows them to portray themselves the way they want to be seen in the game. There are a lot of possibilities for the armor system as time continues.
With the armor core system in the process of being removed, players can look forward to total customization. Pieces of armor from specific events –- or armor codes -– will be easier to customize, allowing you to mix and match the pieces you acquire.
The Battle Pass will continue to grant players plenty of opportunities to receive new armor cosmetics, and there will be Fracture events for "Halo Infinite’s" foreseeable future.
"Halo Infinite" has the potential to be the most significant Halo game for the next decade. New styles –- or whatever they decide to call armor cores -– will release regularly, increasing the opportunities for players to customize their appearance.
Limiting customization wasn’t ideal, but it’s clear that 343 Industries listens to its fans. They are invested in making every aspect of their game enjoyable for all. Each update will increase the cross-core customization for Spartans.
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