‘Halo 5’ December Update Brings Forge, New Arena And Warzone Maps

343 Industries has begun detailing the next free Halo 5: Guardians update for the Xbox One. The developer dropped a trailer during The Game Awards 2015 show on Thursday night that revealed new maps for Warzone and Arena multiplayer modes, plus the long-awaited Forge map-making tool. Some Halo fans are wondering about new modes, though.

The next free Halo 5 update is titled, “The Cartographer’s Gift,” and it will include one new Warzone map, one new Arena map and two Big Team Battle maps. Meanwhile, Forge mode will also be added and is described by 343 Industries as “the biggest and most improved Forge mode ever.” There will be more REQs added, as well with more than 25 promised for armors, weapons, emblems, and more.

The new Warzone map is named “Battle of Noctus” and is the first to have a city setting. The map features roads, walking paths, and tall buildings for the two teams of 12 players to battle each other and AI controlled enemies.

“Overgrowth” is the Arena map that was briefly shown in the video. Not much could be gleaned from it, but it appears that it may be a remix of an existing map; possibly “Plaza.” 343 Industries does their usual weekly update on Saturday, so more should be known about “Overgrowth” along with the two Big Team Battle maps then.

What is missing is any mention of new game modes for Halo 5. Fans in the Halo Reddit community have already noticed and are wondering if any classic modes such as “Infection” or racing will appear.

Forge is possibly the most promising of the December updates as the Halo 5 community will be able to construct and share their own maps with other Xbox One players. As detailed by 343 Industries on Halo Waypoint, Forge users will be able to use any existing Arena and Breakout map to modify or construct their own. Additionally, three large maps will be available to use as canvases, each with their own theme. “Alpine” is described as a chunk of the Pacific Northwest transposed on a distant planet. “Glacier” is described as a large, snow and ice covered landscape. Finally, there’s a blank map set on slab in space above a planet and a Halo ring.

Halo 5 Forge (Xbox One)

Meanwhile, 343 Industries has made multiple improvements for Forge users to construct their own maps. For example, here are the improvements made just for moving and manipulating objects inside the editor (list via Halo Waypoint).

  • Improved Control Scheme – Revised controls keeps users hands in the default “home” position so there’s less reaching for buttons which speeds up the building process. Don’t worry long-time Forgers, it took the Forgers we brought in a little bit to get used to but even the most hesitant were soon up and building maps at full speed.
  • Multi-Select/Edit – Users can select and manipulate up to 64 individual objects at one time (more if combined with Groups); movement, rotation, property editing, everything you’re able to do to a single object.
  • Free Camera – The camera no longer snaps to objects being edited. Users can freely position the camera to find the best vantage point to edit from. To orbit around selected objects like past Forges, simply click the right-stick to “lock on” to the objects and click again to cycle between multiple zoom levels.
  • Contextual Control Helper – This lets the user see, in real time, what each controller input does. Users can change from “basic” settings to learn the ropes, “advanced” for the power user controls, or turn the helper off once everything becomes second nature.
  • Grid/Rotation Snaps – Switch between multiple grid/rotation snap settings quickly to help align objects perfectly with each other. The bulk of the Forge specific assets are built to a grid so they interact perfectly with each other, making building even easier. There’s even a very small grid snap that can be used to fix z-fighting without making “bumps” or very precise grid editing.
  • Precision Editing – Precision editing returns to enable fine tuning of object placement. On top of that, there’s a power user trick we call “double analog” precision that allows for even finer manipulation.
  • Smart Magnets – Magnets no longer snap objects while moving them around. Instead they draw connection lines between magnets that will snap when the input is released. Additionally the camera can be aimed at magnets to influence which ones will snap giving extra precision when building with magnets.

There are many more changes detailed for handling groups, object palletes, object budget, lighting, colors, scripting, and much more detailed by 343 Industries. Those interested in Forge should head over to Halo Waypoint to get the full details prior to the release of “The Cartographer’s Gift.”

There is no exact release date for the Halo 5 December update yet. Sometime next week or the week after appears to be the most likely time frame, but it’s best to wait to see if an official release announcement is made by 343 Industries in their planned Saturday update.

Halo 5 Guardians Roadmap (Xbox One)

In Halo eSports news, the prize pool for the Halo World Championship continues to grow and has now reached over $2 million. The pool is partially funded by REQ Pack purchases made in Halo 5 and started at $1 million when the game launched at the end of October. The Halo World Championship 2016 will start Sunday, December 6 with online tournament ladders across the world.

This is the second free update for Halo 5 with more planned for every month through June 2016. What do you think of the “The Cartographer’s Gift” update? Sound off in the comments below.

[Image via YouTube]