We're happy to finally announce the winners of the ForgeHub: 2v2 Throwdown map contest! This was a very special contest that marked the release of Forge in Halo 5 while celebrating the resurgence of one of the most passionate design communities in video games. When Forge launched on December 16th we all witnessed The Rise of Forge and how it built, reshaped, and restored our community once again. I'm proud to be a part of this community, we're at a unique time and place where Forge is the single most successful attribute of a Halo game. The success story of Forge can't be discussed without recognizing the efforts of our active design community.
"There's one key element that makes forge so special: You" - Bob RossThe level of participation in this contest exceeded all of our expectations in both quality and quantity. This was the first major Forge contest when Halo 5 released and ForgeHub provided everyone with 2 months to build, test and refine their creations; all the while trying to acclimate to new control schemes and advanced features. Submissions were due March 1st and the forge community provided the judge panel with an affluent number of maps to review, 145 to be exact. Considering our previous 1v1 Smackdown contest had 80 submissions, this was quite an increased level of participation we haven't been exposed to before and we more than welcomed the challenge of it all.
Our judge panel consisted of four individuals, many of whom you may recognize from our virtual doorstep: a Chunk, A 3 Legged Goat, Xzamplez and myself. As always, this contest brought us together to play a ton of Halo and reminded us why this franchise is so special. The community has been the backbone for Halo's greatness, the connective tissue that brings us back title after title. The evolution of the franchise has provided us a wealth of roller coaster emotions and yet we give each other hope and contemplate how we can create a better experience. Its an honor to be in the company of so many talented individuals, thanks again for your hard work. We're extremely proud to announce the top 5 maps from our 2v2 Throwdown Map Contest.
What happens when you take structures reminiscent of a classic Halo map, Breakout pieces, forerunner doors, and the aurora borealis, and mix them all up? Apparently you end up with a map named Cobalt.
At first glance, you may think you're playing a remake of Chill Out, what with the dual atrium middle that's bisected by a wall with a door on the lower level and a window on the upper level. Then you have one side of the atrium fitted with 2 pillars you can jump on top of, and the other side featuring a teleporter. But then you realize...everything's in the wrong spot. Those pillars are in the wrong atrium. You don't have any idea where that teleporter just brought you. And what the hell is up with all these breakout pieces? Once you get over the initial shock of realizing this isn't Chill Out (and give up on trying to make sense of why the death pits look like a source of life), you quickly begin to realize that while Cobalt is a solid design for classic Halo gameplay, it doesn't stop there. It handsomely rewards those who take advantage of thrust, slide, and clamber, packing great depth of movement into a small patch of real estate.
From the well devised plan to push for Sniper after taking down one of your opponents, to the mad dash to burn the Camo after aimlessly wandering out into the open of one of the center atriums (not that I'd EVER do that...), Cobalt is one of the most rewarding and most punishing maps you're likely to play on. Your experience will be a direct reflection of your ability (or failure) to make the right decision at the right time. To compare Cobalt to that other map is both a great (and well-deserved) compliment, AND a great disservice. It takes classic elements, shakes them up, and spits out something fresh...something special.
Cobalt Map Thread
A 3 Legged Goat: "My first thought when I saw this map was "wow, this came out of nowhere." The design itself has actually been around since Halo Reach, and the fact that Hangar still plays well is a testament to its quality. The bulkiness of the structures, the carefully tuned lines of sight and the subtle changes in elevation have spawned a sturdy design, perhaps even one worthy of standing alongside Halo classics. The layout itself is nothing out of the ordinary, owing its main construction to a simple 3-lane design; however, the tuning of the geometry to provide each area some kind of advantage creates its depth. Having already created a solid design, SoloXIII was able to flesh out the visuals, and he certainly spared no expense in doing so. The map is stuffed with details in every location to enhance its appeal and suggest some sort of narrative, perhaps of whatever ill fate awaits this facility. It works exceptionally in most places, however there are areas where it may seem somewhat extraneous or distracting. Nevertheless, the visual fidelity of the map rarely detracts from gameplay, which is the true allure of the map. On Hangar, players shift between controlling the Active Camo and Overshields, which are both essential to success on the map. A Sniper and Hydra rest along the center atrium, with a Carbine and SMG rounding out the weapon set elsewhere. These methodically placed pick ups work in tandem with the map layout to create a game of chess. Every movement on this map is critical and watching your teammate's backs is what will lead to victory. While this may seem like a barrier to some players, Hangar in many ways embodies the core of doubles gameplay nonetheless; it showcases just how important teamwork really is."
Hangar Map Thread
While many will never see its resemblance, Hazard is loosely inspired by one the worst Halo maps of all time, CHIRON TL-34. Chiron consists of nine chambers and features the largest number of teleporters in all of the Halo series multiplayer maps, with around 14 two-way teleporters on the map. Chiron left a terrible taste in the mouths of the community and made itself historically known for its campy and repetitive gameplay. If you found yourself being chased by another player, run towards a teleporter and throw a grenade before you enter it.
From the maze like layout to frustrating gameplay, both Solo Xlll and Sethiroth set out to achieve the impossible, to make 'Chiron' a great map. The teleporters were completely removed and Chiron's body parts were sewn together to create a more holistic and connected atmosphere. This incredible forge duo have been collaborating on projects together since Halo 3 and they haven't stopped yet! Hazard challenges our existing preconceptions of an existing design and succeeds to create a memorable and enjoyable experience. The gameplay reinforces team work and coordination as the power ups and weapons dictate flow. If there's one way to describe the gamplay on Hazard, its 'control' and you better be the one pulling the strings! We commend the experimental efforts and challenging yourselves in such a way that it drives inspiration to all of us.
Hazard Map Thread
A 3 Legged Goat: "Optic Prison was a hotly contested map wherein the people who played on it either 'got it' the first time or took several tries before they did. I thought I never would, because it's rare that you see a map that revolves entirely around controlling Power Ups, let alone four of them. Yet Optic Prison offers just that, and the key to the map's strengths lies in the balance between these pick ups. You have OS spawning in a dangerous location, yet it quickly becomes a powerful ability while travelling around the map. Damage Boost is not too far behind, in a chokepoint near a sender node that takes you to the top level. In an adjacent room, players find Active Camo, which is just as crucial as OS to reaching the stronger areas on the map. Therein, players find the Speed Boost for quickly re-positioning or traversing the atrium. At first, this may seem overwhelming because of how foreign it is; however, the dichotomy between the rigid pathing on the map and the necessity to move around to acquire the power ups creates dynamic gameplay that differs each time you play on the map. The flow is as unique as the movements of the players on the map itself. These pick ups are complimented by two hydras and a few extra rifles scattered around that can lead to interesting cross map standoffs where players decide if a power up is worth pushing out of cover to contest. Optic Prison's deceptive simplicity hearkens back to a time where clever ideas were what truly defined a map."
Optic Prison Map Thread
Download Optic Prison
A 3 Legged Goat: "If the Artist Formerly Known As Prince were still alive today, I would imagine that he would have liked to play a few games on Purple Reign. Purple Reign is also a map with a bit of its own history; however, its design was tailored specifically for this game, with unrelenting dedication from aPK to refine it. As far as asymmetric maps go, the overall shape is rather simple, owing its tight construction to a well executed modular foundation, which is enhanced by the clean forgework. It's an incredibly polished map from a design and forge perspective and I imagine it would have looked even better had the budget allowed. Nevertheless, aPK hammered down on a Covenant-esque theme, with elements of his own creativity thrown in to give the map a unique look. Players may find themselves a bit lost in all the purple at first because of how quickly the gameplay moves you around the map; however, that steady pace and emphasis on control is what skyrocketed it to the top. Purple Reign is a no nonsense map that requires a crisp shot, smart positioning and anticipatory thinking to excel, which makes for very intense matches. Of course, you can actually slow the game down if you know how, but you can just as soon break those setups. The Active Camo is critical to making a flanking maneuver, while the Plasma Caster will allow you to catch players in chokepoints off guard. The weapon set not only fits the map thematically, but also compliments the gameplay. Yes even the Needler. If someone gets the drop on you, show them what it sounds like when needles combine."
Purple Reign Map Thread
Download Purple Reign
PRIZING & COMMUNITY POLL
Each map that placed as a top 5 finalist will receive $200. We will conduct a community poll where members of ForgeHub will be able to vote for their favorite map out of these top 5 finalists. 1st place winner based on the top 5 finalists. The first place community chosen winner will receive a bonus of $300 in addition to the $200 finalist prize for a grand total of $500.
We want to ensure that all participants in our poll have the opportunity to test out these maps. Please make sure to download and play them and we will have more to say on the time of release for the public poll shortly.