343 and Sparth, please give GEN3 shield emitters.

Warning: Severe Nitpicking Inbound. File under “little lights.”

First off, I LOVE how Halo Infinite looks so far. (And I’m using the word “look” in the most literal sense.) Appearances only go so far in making a game, but Halo has always grabbed me with its iconic art style (particularly that of the older, Bungie-era titles). As such, 343 really won me over in returning to the “shape language and design language of earlier Halos” (to quote Matt Booty). This return to visual form is perhaps most symbolized by Chief’s new Mjolnir GEN3 armor, which combines some of the stronger elements of both prior versions of Mark VI. However, if there’s one glaring omission from the armor in the trailer, for me, it’s those light-up shield emitters.

The armor in the Infinite trailer actually has the emitters in the same place above the knees as previous armor, but they take the form of indents; tiny details that don’t suggest a further function or purpose.

This will probably be viewed by most as a complete and utter nitpick, which is absolutely fair because it is. But as the saying goes, the love is in the details, and few video games embody that saying more than Halo. And sometimes a small detail like those blinking lights can make all the difference in giving something an apparent depth and functionality.

Shield emitters were obscured by visual noise in Halo 4 and absent altogether from Halo 5. Having those little blue lights in Reach and Halo 3 really fueled the aesthetic of a technology developed and used by humanity. It was a small touch, but it lent an incredible amount of depth to a Spartan’s set of armor.

Beyond aesthetics, I was surprised to learn recently that there’s an actual, canonical purpose to those little lights. The idea that the player’s shields actually come from certain parts of the armor is just such a cool concept. It’s not something that impacts gameplay, and I guarantee no one else would miss them. They’re only going to be noticed by someone like me, who’s always looking for those small details. But it’s those small details that make for a truly boundless and immersive universe. It’s why I love Halo, and it’s why those visual touches matter so much to me.

I think Sparth and the rest of the team at 343 have done an incredible job of making Master Chief look better than he ever has. (Which is saying a lot, because there have been some pretty amazing redesigns over the years.) I think the only thing left to add that could really take GEN3 to the next level of visual prowess would be those tiny blue lights. There’s clearly been so much love and effort already poured into that armor, not having those emitters light up seems like an unfortunate thing to not include.

I’m hoping this was just a small oversight that gets corrected in the year before launch. If Chief’s armor doesn’t light up in Infinite, I’m not going to be heartbroken. The insignificance of this tiny detail cannot be overstated. But it’s an addition I would very much like to see.

Now that I’ve written an entire essay on tiny blue lights, I’m going to try and find a life.