Microsoft unveils Halo 4 DLC and War Games Map Pass

Halo 4

When Halo 4 hits retail shelves on November 6, it will mark Microsoft’s biggest game release of the year. Unless the game is somehow abysmally terrible it will pull in tons of cash and the Halo franchise will continue to build steam. Given the importance of this game, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Microsoft and developer 343 Industries are hard at work readying downloadable content additions for Halo 4. Though we’ve currently got no word on how many DLC packs Halo 4 might see in total, we can tell you all about the first three.

Microsoft issued an announcement this morning focusing on the Halo 4 “War Games Map Pass.” Similar to the season pass schemes employed by numerous other big game releases (Saints Row 3 and Borderlands 2 jump to mind), this War Games Map Pass would allow Halo 4 fans to pre-pay for the game’s first three DLC releases at a pretty sizable discount over what they might spend buying the DLC piecemeal. To wit: The Map Pass has a retail price of $25. Each individual DLC pack will set you back $10. In total you’ll be saving $5 by picking up the Map Pass.

Oh, and Microsoft claims that those who buy the Map Pass will also “receive two bonus in-game helmets, as well as a unique in-game emblem.” So if the savings aren’t enough of a selling point maybe in-game decorations can motivate you toward buying the Map Pass.

While the Map Pass was the focus of Microsoft’s announcement the truly interesting bit was the detailed descriptions offered for each of the first three Halo 4 DLC packs. Have a look:

  • Crimson Map Pack (December release timeframe)
    • Maps: Wreckage, Harvest, Shatter
    • Description: Witness the chaos of a clash of civilizations in Wreckage, with its blend of claustrophobic spaces and dangerous exposures and venture into the human colony environs of Harvest, and explore a human foray on an alien moon in Shatter.
  • Majestic Map Pack (February release timeframe)
    • Maps: Landfall, Monolith, Skyline
    • Description: Landfall’s emphasis is on infantry battles against a glittering ocean on a distant world, while Monolith exposes you to the naked vacuum of space – and the firepower of opposing teams, and Skyline’s distinctly industrial feel provides new challenges in somewhat familiar, but occasionally confined spaces.
  • Castle Map Pack (April release timeframe)
    • Maps: Daybreak, Outcast, Perdition
    • Description: Daybreak is set in a military facility against the backdrop of an idyllic mountain range, while Outcast plunges you into the warrens, canyons and arches of an alien edifice, and Perdition takes players into the heart of an urban sprawl, with tactical speed and situational awareness its key features.
And now you know the Halo 4 DLC roadmap. We have no idea if Microsoft is planning any DLC beyond what is listed above, but given that the firm’s estimated release windows cover the next five months we doubt anything of any significance will be released for the game after these three packs. If Microsoft changes its mind on any of this, we’ll keep you updated.