Microsoft’s biggest exclusive last year in Halo 5: Guardians has continued the series’ trend of big sales and high quality products with critics falling in love with the games multiplayer portion. A lot of that had to do with the all-new Warzone mode, pitting 24 players against each other in massive battles for control of key locations on the largest maps the franchise has ever seen, as well as taking out bosses and calling in tanks and rocket hogs.

For the competitive minded fans, developer 343 Industries focused on arena style combat with skill ranks and a growing e-Sports prize pool currently sitting at over $2 million. The developer has made it a point to consistently interact with the wider Halo community through their blog posts on Halo Waypoint and has finally detailed January’s multiplayer content drop.

The ‘Infinity’s Armor’ update, named after the famous star ship in the games lore, comes with three complete armor sets including the famous Mark V that is similar to the Master Chief’s helmet in the original Halo: Combat Evolved. A plethora of weapon skins, including an assault rifle splattered with pizza, as well emblems and assassinations also make the cut for this month’s drop. The star of every update is always the new maps, which include a remix of Fathom called Riptide for Arena use, as well as a Warzone Assault map set in the vibrant city of Noctus called Urban.

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Multiplayer environment artist Tim Diaz spoke about the design philosophy for Urban.

“One of the things I talked over with our lighting artist, Kevin Daziel, was the intense lighting we had for Battle of Noctus. We decided we should go just as extreme, so we made this level a night level. It may not seem like much on paper but going with that decision has many perils. For darker maps, it’s easier for certain colors to blend into the darkness; and for multiplayer, that throws off balance and fairness which can lead to a not so fun experience. You have the ability to accidentally shadow key points and paths as well as many other things. We went through many variations of night lighting and custom character lighting to get the right look and feel.”

The biggest news of all, seen in the trailer as the classic metal Halo anthem plays, is the return of the classic Halo 2 battle rifle complete with sound effects, the classic zoom system, and the Halo 2 Anniversary design model. Fans of classic game modes like Griffball and Infection will be disappointed to have to wait even longer as many players bemoan the lack of variety in game-types that have been present in Halo games for years. 343 Industries would do well to focus on bringing back social modes that have been the bedrock of past Halo titles longevity, especially when inviting friends to custom games in wacky matches created by the community in Forge.

Halo 5: Guardians launched on October 27 exclusively for Xbox One.

Source: Halo Waypoint