Halo 2 X-Pack Details - Update

Halo 2 X-Pack Details - Update

Microsoft has finally made official the news regarding the new maps and the retail package. 4 new maps, 2 of them free, available in April and another 5 released in June, the retail pack will also be released in June.

Microsoft Game Studios has announced a June 28 release date for the Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack. The multiplayer expansion pack contains nine new multiplayer maps to push gamers' skills to their limits. The retail package also contains two new videos: an animated side-story from the single-player story in New Mombasa and a mini-documentary that includes interviews with the map designers, combat strategies and fly-throughs of the new maps. The retail pack also allows gamers who prefer offline play via system link and split-screen to upgrade their Halo 2 experience with new maps. The retail version of the Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack carries a suggested retail price of USD 19.99.

As a special bonus, Xbox Live subscribers will get an early chance to check out four maps from the Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack in late April. Two maps, Containment and Warlock, will be sponsored by Mountain Dew and will be free to Xbox subscribers. Two additional maps, Sanctuary and Turf, can be purchased via Xbox Live for USD 5.99. To complete the Map Pack collection, subscribers can download the five remaining maps on June 28 for USD 11.99. According to Bungie, all maps will be available for free by late summer 2005.

Set in a Forerunner environment on Delta Halo, Containment is a massive, icy outdoor environment suitable for vehicle combat and large team objective games such as Capture the Flag. Warlock, a small to midsized indoor arena set in ancient Forerunner ruins, offers ample opportunities for a variety of gametypes such as Territories, Slayer, Team Slayer and more. Located in the streets of Old Mombasa near the wreckage of a downed Covenant Scarab, Turf is a midsize asymmetrical urban combat environment with narrow streets, dark alleyways and heavily defended buildings. The sunlit remains of an ancient Forerunner temple, Sanctuary is a medium-sized symmetrical environment excellent for Capture the Flag, Assault, Territories and Slayer games.

Further details of Microsoft's forthcoming expansion pack for Halo 2, a.k.a. X-Pack, have been let loose and quickly withdrawn, no one therefore knows that said pack will be available in May for USD 19.99.

It all started when Microsoft's Korean XBox site released (and very quickly withdrew) details of a Halo 2 Expansion Pack. This week EBGames is the guilty party with a much more informative slip-up. The U.S. based merchant, apparently very eager to promote its Halo 2 merchandise, claimed that on May 24 it will begin selling a USD 19.99 priced Halo 2 related Expansion pack. The details section of the EBGames website claims that the disc will include nine new multiplayer maps and cinematic and documentary video content (added to give the retail disc some added appeal we presume). All the multiplayer features of the retail game will also be available through Xbox Live.

The EBGames listing was also hastily withdrawn but the details presented seem to be a very good match for what we already were expecting. None of the leaked details however, mention any single-player improvements, something which will upset a great many Halo fans who thought that the single-player aspect of the game was too brief and seemed almost hastily put together. It is however, a sad fact of the gaming world that once you buy a game you are only appealing to the game publisher if you are paying some form of subscription.

Bungie was quick to comment following the Korean website leak and claimed that an announcement is imminent with speculation claiming that it will be this Friday. Bungie also seem to have opened up the door for a retail expansion pack by claiming that ...our entire plan is designed to make new content available for everybody, those with Xbox Live and those without Xbox Live. Those without XBox Live will apparently have to buy the disc although it is not clear what will be contained within it to make it appealing to those not connected to Microsoft's online service.