Weapon skins (Halo 4)
From Halopedia, the Halo wiki
For other uses, see Weapon skins.
Weapon skins in Halo 4 allow players to customize the appearance of their Spartan's loadout weapons. Weapon skins can be unlocked via progression in Specializations, purchasing specific editions of the game and DLC, and finally, by buying specific figures from Series 2 of the McFarlane line of figures.
Halo 4 was the first game in the Halo franchise to feature weapon skin customization, with the player being able to swap preset patterns on their weapon in the loadout modification menu. Then, when spawning with that loadout, their chosen skin will be permanently applied to that weapon; even if dropped or picked up by another player. A player's skin is only applied to weapons the player spawns with via loadout, with weapons found on the map retaining the default skin regardless of the player's selection. Additionally, in the Xbox 360 version of Halo 4, the player will always spawn with the default skin in gametypes where loadouts are disabled.
Coinciding with Halo 4's release on PC as part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, the weapon skin system was modified in the MCC version of the game. It now allows the player to select a base skin for all weapons that support them, independent of loadout. This selection will be applied to spawn weapons in gametypes like SWAT or Legendary Slayer, where custom loadouts are disabled. Should the player choose to, they can also override this skin selection per-loadout, allowing them to choose particular skins for particular loadouts, regardless of their global skin choice for the weapon.
A number of weapon skins are unlocked through the game's Specializations system. Each specialization has exactly one weapon skin tied to it, and it is earned when you reach Spartan Rank 5 within that specialization. For instance, reaching Spartan Rank 5 within the Wetwork Specialization, the "Noble" DMR skin is unlocked.
All specialization skins were available in the original Xbox 360 game at launch, and were unlocked by default in MCC.
Specific editions of the game, such as the Halo 4 Limited Edition included special weapon skins for buyers. The Limited Edition includes the "Prime" assault rifle skin, specifically. Meanwhile, the Battle Rifle skin "Arctic" was unlocked by pre-ordering the game from specific retailers. These skins were later made available for buyers of the Halo 4 Game of the Year Edition. The Halo 4 Xbox 360 console includes the "Imprint" lightrifle skin, though this was not made available for buyers of the Halo 4 Game of the Year Edition.
DLC skins refer to skins that were available through downloadable content. In particular, the Steel Skin Pack included a set of steampunk-inspired skins, one for each weapon. Meanwhile, the Champions Bundle included the Steel Skin Pack (among two other DLCs) and a further five extra skins, with a hidden sixth skin being unlockable by playing Halo: Spartan Assault. These skins were not added into the Spartan Ops map files, so they can not be used in it; if you select a loadout which uses one of them, the weapon will simply adopt the default skin.
The DLC skins were initially not available in Halo: The Master Chief Collection but were added in a post-launch update, and are all available for unlock in Season 4: Reclaimer.
A number of skins were obtained by buying Halo action figures produced by McFarlane Toys. These were unlocked by purchasing specially marked figures from Series 2 of the toy line launched in 2013. For example, purchasing the Elite Ranger figure will unlock the "Chill" skin for the storm rifle. These skins were also initially not available in Halo: The Master Chief Collection but were included a post-launch update and can be unlocked in Season 7: Elite.
At least two skins were known to be produced during the lifespan of the initial release of Halo 4 on Xbox 360, but were never released: "Concrete" and "Blast". They were present in the game files as of the 8/19/2013 update, but could not be unlocked legitimately. However, they were accessible in custom games, through the use of a glitch. Renders of these weapon skins were later discovered in the game files of the "FireFlight", a public test of Halo: Reach's Firefight in the lead-up to Halo: The Master Chief Collection's PC release.
Eventually, both "Blast" and "Concrete" were included in the Halo: The Master Chief Collection version of the game, with "Blast" being a seasonal challenge reward in Season 4: Reclaimer and "Concrete" featuring as an unlock in the Season Pass for Season 7: Elite.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection-exclusive skins
A number of Halo 4 weapon skins were also added to Halo: The Master Chief Collection in updates, which were not known to exist beforehand. They may have been cut during the development of Halo 4 but not publicly shared, or specially made as post-launch content for MCC. The first to release was "Blood" for the DMR, as part of a seasonal challenge in Season 4: Reclaimer, which featured a pattern akin to the "Trauma" skin of Halo 4's assault rifle.
Later, in Season 7: Elite, several more MCC-exclusive skins were added, including another "Blood" skin - this time for the Magnum - and a number of new sets of weapon skins, such as "Pixel", "Maw" and "Edgework", each of which could be applied to various human loadout weapons. Some of these are unlocked through the Season Pass, while others are available via seasonal challenges.
Known weapon skins
Skins for the Assault Rifle.
Skins for the Battle Rifle.
Skins for the DMR.
Skins for the Magnum.
Skins for the Kelos'vaarda-pattern storm rifle.
Skins for the Vostu-pattern carbine.
Skins for the Plasma Pistol.
Skins for the Suppressor.
Skins for the LightRifle.
Skins for the Boltshot.
The Suppressor's Shatter skin was originally a vibrant blue with black stripes lining the weapon. This was changed before release, replacing the blue details with a light grey, contrasting slightly against the slate grey of the weapon beneath. However, the weapon's menu icon was not changed accordingly, and in the Xbox 360 version of Halo 4, the icon still used the original blue colour. This issue was fixed in the Halo: The Master Chief Collection version of the game.
During the “What’s Next: Halo 4 Summer 2013″ panel at RTX 2013, 343 Industries' promotional art for the bundle featured the "Bones" and "Striped" M395 DMR weapon skins as part of the content update's bonus content. The "Bones" skin would later be relegated to a code found with the CIO Spartan in Series 2 of McFarlane's Halo 4 line of figures, while the "Striped" skin could be unlocked through earning certain achievements in Halo: Spartan Assault.
Upon the release of Season 4: Reclaimer and the addition of the Champions Bundle weapon skins to the Halo: The Master Chief Collection, the newly updated menu featured erroneously flipped MA5D renders for the Turbine and Teeth skins, resulting in the charging handle being placed on the wrong side of the weapon.
With the addition of the previously-missing figure skins to MCC in Season 7: Elite, the Storm Rifle's Chill skin is missing certain textures in Halo: The Master Chief Collection. On the Xbox 360 edition of Halo 4, the weapon's barrel, rotating coil, and small sections of the topside of the weapon are colored mint green. In Halo: The Master Chief Collection, these mint green regions are missing, and are erroneously colored with the weapon's base gray-silver.
The DMR's launch skin's name references NOBLE Team, with the pattern of the skin being the team's emblem.
Steel Skin Pack skins
Champions Bundle bonus skins