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Halo 4 developers discuss multiplayer, reveal a new Forge map and skill rank coming in April

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A number of people involved with Halo 4 took to PAX East's main stage this afternoon to discuss the game's multiplayer component's past, present and future.

Jessica Shea, community manager at Halo 4 developer 343 Industries, began by recounting the millions of players who've racked up billions of kills since the game's launch last year. Lead designer Kevin Franklin discussed how the studio tries to keep players interested through weekly updates to sustain the player base, based in part on player feedback.

Franklin also said that the competitive skill ranking system, which will allow pairing of players based on their competitive skill rank, will be out in early April.

Shea said last November that the developer was testing the feature and that it would launch this year.

An upcoming title update will add "x-markers" to the game's HUD. When firing Active Camo, players will become 100 percent visible when shooting. The Gauss Warthog has been "retuned" to adjust the damage, auto aim and magnetism.

The game will also receive a new Forge map designed to give what the developers said the community asked for — a series of flat spaces. Forge Island will be a free update on April 11.

Multiplayer map pack developer Certain Affinity's Tom Potter spoke about the maps in the upcoming Castle Map Pack, which is based on vehicular combat and will launch April 8. On an asymmetrical map called Daybreak, which features two bases and plays well with capture the flag, the addition of a Banshee created "a lot of extra work," but made the level better than its first incarnation.

A map called Outcast is the largest of the three. It also had two bases and marks the return of the Dominion game type. The final map, Perdition, is set in an underground city.

"It's a fairly large map with some really interesting interiors, some shortcuts across the map and it's got some cool sight lines," he said.