Microsoft has released a free Halo mapmaking tool for Windows 10, giving series devotees the chance to create their own levels and compete with friends in online 16-player matches free of charge.
The free Halo 5: Forge app for Windows 10 also allows amateur map designers to share their custom levels online. Imported maps can be unlocked for play in Halo 5: Guardians for the Xbox One.
Unveiled earlier this year, Halo 5: Forge is a powerful level-making toolkit that allows users to modify every aspect of a Halo 5 multiplayer map, from terrain elevation to object placement. Players can also assign maps custom objectives, giving their creations an added degree of depth beyond straightforward deathmatch-style gameplay.
The trailer above showcases some of the more outlandish maps players have created using the Forge toolkit, including first-person takes on games like beer pong and the arcade classic Frogger. Members of the Halo 5: Guardians community recently produced a playable version of the Harry Potter universe’s fantasy sport Quidditch using the Forge editor’s Grifball mode.
The Windows 10 version of Halo 5: Forge also includes support for online 16-player matches in the Arena multiplayer mode. Players will need to either host or join custom lobbies in order to play with others, however, as Forge for Windows 10 does not include the ability to search for matches in progress. Microsoft notes that support for multiplayer matchmaking will arrive in a future update.
While developer 343 Industries previously stated that “there is plenty of chance that Halo 5 could appear on the PC,” the studio has yet to reveal whether it intends to produce a full-fledged Windows 10 port of Halo 5: Guardians. Despite Microsoft’s recent pledge to bridge the gap separating Windows 10 and Xbox One first-party releases, the publisher has scaled back its “Xbox Play Anywhere” initiative in recent months, dropping Dead Rising 4 from its promised lineup.
The Windows 10 version of Halo 5: Forge requires the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, and is available for download from the Windows Store.