Loot boxes are all the rage these days - and I do mean that quite literally, as rage is frequently the first reaction upon hearing a game will prominently feature them. So it should be of little surprise that when rumors started to circulate about Halo 6 relying heavily on loot boxes for player progression, fans of the series were not happy.
Whispers of loot boxes in the next Halo game have been going around the web for awhile. After all, Halo 5: Guardians had REQ Packs, which were digital card packs that could be purchased with real-world money and provided randomized rewards like skins, as well as gear for the multiplayer Warzone mode (making them pretty much loot boxes in everything but name).
But those discussions got a major boost when Brad Sams, an industry reporter who previously provided accurate leaks of Xbox One X (then known as Project Scorpio) and the Xbox One Elite Controller, addressed them on his podcast. Sams claims that inside sources told him Microsoft wanted loot boxes in Halo 6, but that the intense backlash to Star Wars Battlefront 2 scared the company and has it reevaluating their implementation.
However, franchise director Frank O'Connor at developer 343 Industries has some words that may reassure those miffed at the idea of loot boxes in the Halo universe: "This is bunk." It's a pretty strongly-worded defense of the studio's ongoing work and observations on the nature of premature reactions, though it seems to suggest players can expect more REQ Pack-structured rewards, not less.
"This is bunk," O'Connor wrote on the ResetEra forums. "We're not reevaluating anything (significant) and 'Microsoft' isn't designing anything for the next game - 343 is. We watched the EA Battlefront thing with the curiosity you'd expect - but our current req system is player focused and well liked and unintrusive as far as these things go.
We have made zero announcements about our next projects and continue to work on our next game and technology with player's needs and interests in mind. However the story as loosely presented as it is - has no bearing on or relation to any current efforts. I suppose you could say 'company x is evaluating feature y' and always have some grain of truth, but we are neither aping nor adapting an unrelated system from another game.
This follows an equally vague rumor about an issue with our engine, which in fact is counter to significant ongoing improvements and evolution of our tech. If there were some nugget of truth to both, I'd just ignore it. Development is rife with normal examples of both of these 'stories' but in this case there aren't even notable small examples that this could have been based on.
Certainly in the future we'll be evolving our systems and tech and maybe these general and vague statements will have brief applicability. But right now? Nah."
Personally, I'm not a huge fan of REQ Packs - but as far as these systems go, I would at least concede that it's a relatively unobtrusive way of implementing random rewards. Hopefully whatever reward system 343 Industries comes up with for Halo 6 will please its playerbase.