Much of the discussion of Halo 4 coming out of E3 2012 centered around 343 Industries‘ new approach to overarching online systems and the episodic co-op campaign in store for fans of the franchise’s fiction. Of course, the developers don’t want to give the impression that they have lost the competitive edge in the realm of good old fashioned multiplayer map design.

In keeping with tradition, Halo 4 will be sporting a larger, snow-covered map for the game’s multiplayer. The first images of ‘Longbow’ have been released, showing that it’s never to hard to pick one of the series’ maps out of a line-up. And that is certainly not a bad thing.

Most of the multiplayer seen so far publicly has centered around skirmishes on ‘Wraparound,’ the Forerunner structure seen in the backdrop of most multiplayer screenshots. ‘Longbow’ is a far more familiar setting for longtime fans, and from our time spent with the map at E3, we can attest to its place within Halo‘s online tradition.

Now images of the map have been released by 343, along with a breakdown of how the map will be designed to mix long and short range combat, and is tailor-made for a new game mode that the team has yet o reveal. ‘Longbow’ is just one of ten new maps shipping with the game, so it might be in serious fans’ best interest to get well acquainted with these as they release:

Set in the northern reaches of the planet Concord, ‘Longbow’ presents a semicircle shape, with what look to be more or less symmetrically placed bases and structures on either side. It seems 343’s commitment to breaking down the barriers that separate Halo 4‘s multiplayer from singleplayer are again at work, as the ‘Longbow’ facility functions as a magnetic launcher not unlike one of the UNSC’s MAC Cannons.

It would have been interesting to see what the designers originally had in mind, taking inspiration from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico (the massive in-ground telescope seen in the finale of GoldenEye). As it stands, the snowy facility offers wide enough spaces for long range kills as well as Warthogs, Mongooses and Ghosts, which are all included. The structures on either side of the map are certainly going to be home to some close range action, thanks to the game-changing ‘Sprint’ ability.

The ‘Longbow’ map will be on display at the Rooster Teeth Expo July 7-8 for fans, so expect more information to be released then. For now, these images and details will have to suffice. Not that 343 has much convincing left to do, what with the extremely promising Spartan Ops getting more and more appealing by the day. Multiplayer will certainly be taking the spotlight soon, so this is likely just the beginning.

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

Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Halo Waypoint