343i has released a number of new screenshots for the "Longbow" multiplayer map in Halo 4, showing off this massive technological wonderland. Set on Concord, Longbow Station is situated at the top of a mountain where it braves terrible weather conditions.
Longbow certainly isn't the first snowy map we're getting in Halo, but it continues that tradition of varying map types, as 343 puts it. The Longbow reveal also sets up for a new game mode that has yet to be announced.
The goal of Longbow was to create a playspace that showcases one of our new (and unannounced) game modes. Early in development, we considered several options, including making it something like a big Arecibo-type telescope built into a valley.
We experimented with having extremes of Fire and Ice on opposite sides, but ultimately decided a glacier theme fit better with the spectrum of themes from other maps. The look and feel really took off from there to be distinctive and atmospheric.
We wanted a big engineering effort that connected to the war or the resources needed for the UNSC, so when looking at the designers’ initial idea for the map from the top, we began thinking of a Y-shape or loop shape that accommodated this single big machine—a magnetic launcher that works on similar principles as a MAC Cannon. It was an interesting case of trying to make a symmetrical map area feel natural and almost accidental, while still telling an epic sci-fi story.
We then had to develop solid visual markers so the players could understand where they were. Each side is a very similar plan and path, but distinct enough to get a peripheral sense of being in a distinct "zone" in the map.
At one point, we flipped the direction of the entire map. The center building of the launch facility moved north to be a better landmark, pointing the launcher's arms out over the ocean. It’s much cooler to look at, and better for the players' orientation.
Longbow supports both infantry and vehicle play. On foot, players will notice it's mostly a mid-to-long range map with pockets of close range combat in and around the base structures. However, there are plenty of vehicles (currently Warthogs, Mongooses, and Ghosts) and routes through the map that will make fans of vehicular combat happy.
In addition to the new map, 343 released a neat little teaser of Master Chief for the upcoming Rooster Teeth Expo on July 7 and July 8 in Austin. Expect many more Halo happenings in a few days.