The first batch of new, downloadable Halo 2 multiplayer maps will be available on Monday April 25th for download on Xbox Live. Woot! The maps passed through Microsoft's certification process successfully today, which was all we were waiting for! We said we'd tell you as soon as we could, and we found out about an hour ago that they'd passed with flying colors.
The Bonus Pack - comprised of Containment and Warlock, is free. Log into Xbox Live, go to the download content menu item and get 'em. The Killtacular Pack, comprised of Turf and Sanctuary, is $5.99 US (local prices will vary by country) but for the patient, it too will be available for free on June 28 th .
The maps will be available in custom games immediately, and in Matchmaking some time soon after. We'll bring you news on the Matchmaking playlists update shortly.
BONUS PACK! (Free!)
A massive, mostly outdoor, and somewhat symmetrical environment set in the frozen tundra near Sentinel Wall, on Delta Halo. The icy terrain is a walled valley floor, scarred by a massive trench, running between two enormous Forerunner compounds. Each of these structures acts as a base, and each base is itself large enough to drive a vehicle around in.
The bases contain a heavily fortified flag capture point which presents a tough challenge for an unorganized offense. To even the odds, it's possible to open vehicle access to these bases by activating a switch - exposed to sniper fire in the center of the map. Above this switch is the teleport exit for each base.
The rapid access enabled using teleporters and vehicles means that while this is by far one of the largest Halo maps ever, it's also one with a large number of transit options, on foot or in vehicles.
Caves, ridges and tunnels provide stealthy entrance to enemy bases, while the jagged central trench is a great spot to take cover. Above, the exposed, icy fields are littered with the most explosive cores in the game. Default vehicles include Hogs, Scorpion tanks and Banshees. Containment was built from the ground up, with large scale objective games in mind, especially CTF. If you like Coagulation, and were a fan of Sidewinder, you'll love Containment! You can see a cool 3D screenshot of Containment
Set in the rain-soaked ruins of an ancient Forerunner structure, nobody knows if Warlock is a temple, a castle or even a dwelling. What we do know is that the architecture predates the Halo itself, and that it must have been moved here, brick by brick, with obvious reverence by the Forerunners themselves.
A small to medium sized map, Warlock is ideal for close-quarters fights, Slayer matches and thanks to its four way symmetry, multi-team Territories battles. Warlock's mix of obstacles and open areas makes it a perfect spot for more chaotic matches like Rockets. Sharp-eyed players may note its resemblance to the map Wizard, although it has been rebuilt from the ground up to take advantage of Halo 2's new graphics and gameplay features.
Warlock is filled with nooks, crannies and other hiding places, and while the ground is a warren of obstacles, it's possible to reach any other point in the map by taking the high road - a series of platforms and ramps that stretch across the map, with a temple-like center structure dominating the arena.
Teleporters dot the walls allowing you to evade pursuing enemies, or take instant shortcuts across the map. You can see a cool 3D screenshot of Warlock
KILLTACULAR PACK! ($5.99 US)
The surrounding streets and evacuated buildings of Old Mombasa make it a dangerous warren, with potential assassins lurking in every shadow and around every corner. Dusty storefronts hide mazelike interiors, and narrow walkways above street level make this shadowy part of town a sniper's haven.
Although it was designed primarily with Territories and CTF in mind, Turf's wildly varying situations - open streets, large buildings, narrow passageways - mean that it's surprisingly flexible. In spite of its size and complexity, the level even works well as a cat and mouse one-on-one map.
Although the tight alleys and streets are initially confusing, there are plenty of vital landmarks - a downed Covenant Scarab, a makeshift Human military base and a massive warehouse, complete with huge swinging doors. Players can knock down catwalks to control ledges above the streets, and a well-parked Warthog can lay down covering fire for the team quick enough to grab it.
A walled grotto defines the center point of this Forerunner habitat, from which aqueducts span out, like the hands of a clock. It perfectly obscures a clear line of sight between two more robust temple buildings primarily used as Flag capture bases.
The map was designed to be perfectly symmetrical and used for smaller, team based objective games, like CTF and Assault, but its size and layout also make it a perfect spot for Slayer matches and slightly more frenetic types like Territories and Oddball. The tunnels at the sides and the open areas in front of the bases make for frantic firefights and nerve-wracking chases.
Stop for a moment to admire the scenery and you'll see a complicated system of waterfalls, canals and pools. Splashing water and the chirp of birds help define the sound scheme of this otherwise peaceful environment.
Larger versions of these images have been added to the Halo 2