Next Halo 5 Free DLC Maps Revealed, See Them Here

Tyrant and Skirmish at Darkstar would also be good band names.

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The next free content update for Halo 5: Guardians, Ghosts of Meridian, is coming out in April, but you don't have to wait until then to see the add-on's new maps. GameSpot is pleased today to be able to reveal the expansion's new maps: Skirmish at Darkstar and Tyrant. We also spoke with the designers at developer 343 Industries, who told us how the maps were made and gave us some tips and tricks for playing on them.

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Tyrant:

This is a small-scale symmetrical map that was made for Capture the Flag and Assault game types. Proficient snipers will want to head to the weapon pad, where strong sightlines are available in the Blue and Red bases. Players who prefer close-range combat can head for the Scattershot and do damage that way.

Fiction:

"The facility known as Site C by human explorers is one of a handful of intact Forerunner structures remaining in the Zeta Hydronis Secundus system, a grim reminder that even godlike artifice can be undone by the minds and hands of mad tyrants. At the height of Forerunner power these planetoids hosted thriving colonies and seemingly impregnable fortresses, but the war against the Flood saw hard light walls collapse and planetoids shatter under the parasite’s relentless assault, cracks in the Forerunner defenses into which the Gravemind poured billions of combat forms, each walking corpse cackling with mad laughter that drowned out screams and shouts of defiance."

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Tips and Tricks:

"The sniper rifle is usually key to winning on Tyrant but here are a couple tips for Capture the Flag if your team doesn't have control of the sniper rifle," multiplayer designer Quinn DelHoyo told GameSpot. "The first tip is to grab the opposing flag and toss it into the nearby grav-lift/man cannon. If you have a teammate waiting on the other side, they can start running the flag while you hold off opponents in their base.

"Another similar move is to grab the flag and toss it up to the level above each base where a teammate can grab and go. I recommend mixing these up as they get the flag out of the base quickly and allow the flag runner to take different return routes to your base."

Skirmish at Darkstar

This is Halo 5's newest--and smallest--Warzone map. Though it was announced earlier this month, we now know a lot more about it. The bosses you'll face may prove to be more formidable, as some Promethean bosses will zip around in hijacked UNSC vehicles, while other bosses can call in reinforcements. Players can also make use of various gates across the map, opening and closing them strategically to their benefit.

Fiction:

"While the loss of Pinnacle Station dealt a massive blow to Liang-Dortmund’s operations on Meridian, demand for the planet’s vitrified resources has neither slaked nor slowed. Working quickly and quietly to avoid the notice of the Created, regional directors at Liang-Dortmund quickly implemented contingency plans to mitigate the economic impact and reconstitute operations on the frontier planet-moon. Though the company's local headquarters at Meridian Station was devastated, the remote polar outpost of Darkstar Station survived, its workers and engineers largely unaware of the disaster that unfolded on the other side of the planet and the uncertain future that awaits them under Cortana's rule."

"Despite the uncertain astro-political climate, Liang-Dortmund continues an accelerated resource gathering operation while tacit permission exists, transferring one of its largest resource processor ships, additional workers, and human resource specialists to Meridian’s orbit in order to continue work and assess the company's remaining investments. But anomalies abound beneath the battered surface as ancient machinery buried deep in the planet’s mantle stir to life, and the UNSC makes plans to once again revisit the surface in search of answers, regardless of what forces that intervention may unleash."

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343 studio head Josh Holmes tells GameSpot that how the work the studio did on Halo 5's previous Warzone maps influenced the design of Skirmish at Darkstar.

"Throughout the development of our Warzone maps we've learned a lot about crafting spaces that work well for both PvP and for fighting AI and bosses," he said. "We try to facilitate many different types of play, allowing players to deploy a variety of Reqs according to team strategy and individual playstyle. We want to make sure that no matter which Req players bring in, they have an area on the map where it can be used effectively and to have fun."

Skirmish at Darkstar is also changing things up with the way matches start.

"For Skirmish at Darkstar we have a new intro experience where players are dropped into the middle of the action. Both teams have a clear objective that creates confrontation from the beginning," Holmes said. "Like in Halo 5: Guardians' campaign, Prometheans on the map are using stolen UNSC vehicles against players. To balance this, we provide a number of paths that on-foot players can use to navigate between bases without getting run over by vehicles (AI or player controlled). We still want vehicles to be strong, but we made areas where players using vehicles will need to pay more attention and work together as a team to be successful."

Holmes also mentions that while Skirmish at Darkstar is Halo 5's smallest Warzone map in terms of overall landmass, it's "the most dense in terms of cover and choice of routes through the environment."

He also told us about how Skirmish at Darkstar changed and evolved throughout its development.

"On all of the maps that we build we go through a fair amount of iteration over time, taking into account feedback from our internal playtests," he said. "With Skirmish we started with a core idea at its inception and carried that through development, but we made some important changes along the way. For example, we made some changes to layout early in development to condense things and focus the action. We also added the giant ship partway through development to provide a clear landmark and divide the map up."

For a closer look at Tyrant and Skirmish at Darkstar, you can click through the images in the galleries embedded in this post to see concept art and screenshots for the maps.

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In addition to these two maps, Ghosts of Meridian comes with plenty of new Reqs, including more armor, weapons, and two new Hannibal variants for the Mantis and Scorpion.

Ghosts of Meridian is Halo 5's fifth free update following the game's launch in October 2015. The others were The Battle of Shadow and Light (November), Cartographer's Gift (December), Infinity's Armor (January), and Hammer Storm (February). This monthly streak comes to an end with Ghosts of Meridian, as it's not coming out until April.

What do you make of Tyrant and Skirmish at Darkstar? Let us know in the comments below! And be on the lookout later this afternoon, as 343 Industries will share even more details on Ghosts of Meridian.

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