There’s just something about rocks and grass (spattered with bullet holes and Spartan blood) that just screams Halo. From the first time we set foot in Blood Gulch, we just couldn’t get enough. Luckily for Halo 4, the Exile multiplayer map will be keeping the tradition alive. But in true 343 Industries fashion, the developers have made sure that the background textures will be the only thing completely familiar to players once the action starts.

Even a passing glance at Exile shows that the map may quickly become as beloved to fans as that dusty box canyon, particularly when it comes to massive team carnage. We’ve previously been shown the new Dominion multiplayer mode on Longbow, but the wealth of bases and vehicles present prove that Exile will be just as potent for team-focused base-builders.

The latest developer walkthrough (courtesy of IGN) shows the Exile map in great detail, despite the fact that most fans will already be familiar with the multiplayer location from the wealth of gameplay footage online. Essentially donut-shaped, the Exile map is built around the concept of a makeshift base erected by the survivors of a crash landing; hence the cobbled-together UNSC parts and equipment. The plot behind the map may not matter much once the match starts, but is just another sign of how 343 is infusing the multiplayer War Games with as much fiction and narrative as the singleplayer.

Halo 4 Exile Trailer Walkthrough

The donut shape means vehicles like Warthogs, Ghosts and Mon…geese(?) are provided with a circular track to traverse continually, but the center portions of Exile are also hollowed out with several smaller passages, accessed via ramps and Man-cannons. The walkthrough video shows that multiple vehicles are going to be present in the map, so high-speed action is a guarantee. But small design choices have also been implemented to keep gameplay moving smoothly, like clearly defined tracks and ruts to keep novice drivers from sending their entire squads tumbling into an enemy encampment.

In case the idea of a donut-shaped map sounds a bit too simplistic for the more experienced fans, Lead Multiplayer Level Designer Kynan Pearson shows firsthand just how many different paths can be taken throughout the caves and buildings of Exile. It may not be as easy to get turned around (or hopelessly lost) in as, say, Meltdown, but there is definitely some complex level design at work.

A longer look at Exile highlights the aspects of Halo multiplayer that have always distinguished itself from the competition. The developers at 343 have maintained that they’re not looking to ape Call of Duty, and Exile proves they know what their formula has always offered that others’ don’t. Experienced, smarter, and more cunning Halo players have always had the upper hand, able to use the slightest obstacle to turn an exchange in their favor, even if their shields have been downed before their attacker reveals themselves. With the sheer number of boulders, sharp corners, small passageways, and seemingly extraneous obstacles, that strategy is going to be given its time to shine even brighter than before.

Halo 4 Exile Walkthrough Screenshot

With all the new locations, aesthetics and changes too numerous to list coming with Halo 4‘s multiplayer, it’s good to see there are a few familiar touchstones. Exile is by no means a re-tread or updating of an older map – like Valhalla re-skinned and upgraded into Ragnarok – but you can’t dispute that it seems to possess the same traits of classic Halo locations. If you’re still unhappy with the maps being offered, 343 has just detailed their War Games map pass and concept art for future locations. Or, you could always build one yourselves.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the previously detailed video walkthroughs:

Halo 4 will be released on November 6, 2012, exclusively for the Xbox 360.

Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: IGN