I initially messaged the Halo Instagram page this, but I imagined it wouldn’t be seen due to the immense amount of messages that they get on their account. Contemplated posting this to the forums, especially such I didn’t care what other people thought of my perspective but 343 themselves. So if there isn’t a response disable feature, keep in mind before you type any responses, I will not read or respond to it. This is just for 343 and to make my voice heard without scrutiny, me being silenced or questioning what I personally believe in on what should be changed about player customization.
In the Halo Community, there are many creators, cosplayers, fans, and even younger audiences who already feel like they aren’t special in the world and are just like everyone us. Us being able to freely customize our Spartans and be our own self is what allowed people to feel where they can go to Halo to be different. People created figurines of what they imagined themselves to be in the universe, costumes, fan art. For example, there is Mr.Rager, a Halo figure collector on Instagram, his account has a lot of photos of how he envisions (how I believe he does) himself in the Halo universe, with his custom figurines depicting him. Do you really want to limit people like his ability to put a character he worked hard on creating into the game by forcing him to pay just to be different from everyone else?
Or another Halo fan I recently met, who is young and also put a lot of effort into making her only cosplay of the character she made on Halo Reach? The only Halo game she has and can afford. Will not be disclosing her name to maintain her privacy such she’s a younger fan. So why make her pay just to be different? Why make it harder for people to have individuality?
At this point, some, including me might just rather pay for multiplayer. I mean like the ability to freely customize our Spartan and actually earn cosmetics is what paved the way for our OWN identity. It is what allowed us to be different and to set ourselves as our own characters within Halo’s vast universe. For most people, the most fun is being able to customize our character and show our merits through what we earned. Having to pay to show our character identity ruins the experience and takes away the immersion. We might as well go back to Halo CE if we are going to be THIS limited. And what makes it worse is that despite the promotions, we cannot even use the promo coatings we earned on other cores. In Halo multiplayer, we chose our Spartan names, our service tags, it allowed us to have our own identity in the Halo universe. In a competitive multiplayer game, where skill and feats are the only things that truly set players apart, how else are people who aren’t as talented supposed to show that they matter just as much in the Halo universe?
How else would they be able to set themselves apart from the rest to show they are different?
For some people, cosmetics are all they have and all they are able to use to show their efforts and commitment of time, despite not being as skilled as a player. Why tamper with a player’s identity to immerse themselves in the world behind outrageous microtransactions. Another example, as displayed on this collector’s profile, you’ll see plenty of pictures of his original character. For example, for the people who heard of Mooreshots, another fellow Halo community member who makes customs, you all see his original character right? This is how he sees himself in the Halo universe, is it not? A very talented man by the way, I admire his work.
So imagine if you had to pay countless amounts of money instead of paying your effort and time just to replicate your character in-game? Like I sound like a broken record, but it’s all about player identity, that is the foundation Halo Multiplayer was built on. The campaign was meant to be us playing as the hero of the UNSC, while multiplayer was meant for us to be our own Hero and create our OWN Legacy.
Chief had his backstory, he had his history through lore, books, the games. He was a man who defied all odds, stayed loyal to who he truly cared about, never leaving a companion behind, refusing to let them fall into darkness. He learned to accept the help of his allies, his peers, fellow Spartans and taught us to do the same, to never do it all alone. He is who restored faith in humanity, into the UNSC and paved the way for a better future, he was a symbol of hope, that was his appeal. He was initially mysterious so he wouldn’t alienate his audience, but it never mattered because there is us in every Spartan in the Halo universe.
And multiplayer allowed us to exist in the universe, our character customization settings us apart and makes us just as much as a hero who earned our keep just as Chief. That Chief and all his effort allowed us to be ourselves, to be able to have our own identity in the shadow of the man who did the impossible, but to no longer be in his shadow, but to work by his side as Spartans.
Emile had his engraved visor and his uniqueness, Jorge augmented his armor to set himself apart from other Spartan-IIs, as Halsey said in Halo Reach, “what have you done with my armor?” This goes to show we all were just then puppets fighting for a cause, we had individuality. He taught us that we all as a unit, as a species were just as powerful as he was, just as different within ourselves, and could do whatever we wanted, be whatever we wanted. That with the past customization systems the sky was the limit, but even the sky couldn’t keep us from doing great things. And that even if our Spartans were different all in their own way, that as long as we stayed together instead of doing it alone. Some people just play for the gameplay, and that our customization is an afterthought, but for many Halo fans like myself, it is all we have to show we are different. Especially when offline that we don’t have much to set ourselves apart from others.
I know this is all a lot to take in, and it’s a lot to read, but this is how I truly feel on the matter. I know it isn’t much feedback on what particularly needs to change, but sometimes even the most valuable feedback isn’t what should be changed, but rather WHY something must be changed. Thank you for listening to my TedTalk, love you 343 and I love you all, the Halo Community. ~ Spartan Matilda (Halo fan since Combat Evolved and dedicated Halo Collector)