Last Friday, word spread like wildfire that Microsoft was planning to release an expansion pack for Halo 2. The news sprouted from a release schedule on the official Korean-language Xbox Web site, which listed a "Halo 2 X-Pack (Expansion Pack)" as "coming soon." No other details were available at the time, leading many who were disappointed by the sci-fi shooter's abrupt ending to believe that the expansion would feature a more extended and satisfying conclusion.
However, it now appears that those hoping for an alternate denouement to Halo 2's single-player campaign will have to wait. According to a product page for a "Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack" that was briefly listed on EBgames.com this morning, the expansion is only "a collection of nine multiplayer maps, as well as non-playable video content (a cinematic and a mini-documentary). Delivered on a standard Xbox DVD disc, the multiplayer content can be used by gamers on Xbox Live as well as those who play multiplayer via System Link or via Split-screen (on one Xbox)."
Before it disappeared from the site this morning, the page listed the Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack as costing $19.99 and shipping on May 24. As of press time, the page still displayed the name "Halo 2 Expansion Pack" as its page title in Internet browsers and HTML code.
Some official word on Halo 2 expansion plans did come at the end of last week in developer Bungie's official What's Update newsletter. In it, Bungie.net content manager Frank O'Connor said a "major announcement about the details of our new maps" is coming later this week. He also said that Bungie plans to "make new content available for everybody, [to] those with Xbox Live and those without Xbox Live," adding further credence to the EB listing's contention that the Halo 2 update would be available on a DVD and not solely through Xbox Live.
GameSpot will have more on the Halo 2 Expansion Pack--which, it must be stressed, still does not officially exist--as further information becomes available.