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Maps Overview | Season 5

Click to read more about Prism and Forbidden, the two maps coming to Halo Infinite in Season 5.
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  -  8 months ago

Coming with Season 5 of Halo Infinite are two new maps: Forbidden and Prism.

Forbidden takes place within a vast complex of ancient stone ruins on Zeta Halo, and Prism delves into the crystalline caves of Suban—the so-called blood-moon of Sanghelios—as a battle in the sky rages between the Arbiter’s Swords of Sanghelios and Atriox’s Banished forces.

Both maps will be arriving with Season 5 on October 17, so let’s get you acquainted with them by chatting with multiplayer designer Cliff Schuldt.

Season 5 brings two awesome new maps into Halo Infinite’s rotation. How would you summarize Forbidden and Prism?

Forbidden is a map that is visually defined by the ancient stone ruins that strongly evoke the aesthetic of Delta Halo, similar to Forest in Season 4. It’s a symmetrical arena map with snipers on either side, long sightlines, and Power Equipment in the middle—so it’s a map that we think will play really well with competitive, but it’s also a space that you’re just going to want to wander around and explore in a custom game.

Prism is an asymmetrical arena map set on Suban, one of the moons of Sanghelios. It’s where the blamite crystals are mined to be used as ammunition for needle-based weaponry, so it boasts an incredibly unique aesthetic that we’ve not really seen in Halo before.

Last season, we had Forest and Scarr, and we’re leaning even more deeply into some of those unique alien aesthetic elements in Season 5 with these two maps. What can you tell us about the aesthetic design of Forbidden and Prism?

We’re always keen to find subtle ways to communicate to the player where they are on the map, and Forbidden does that in a really cool way. On one side, the map is dried up and dead, while the other side is lush and green, featuring ancient aqueducts that are channeling water around this massive stone complex.

Prism is a mix of a lot of exciting visual elements. It’s set on Suban, so there’s that aspect of Sangheili design; but it’s also a cave system filled with these blamite crystals, so there’s a certain alien-ness to it as a natural formation as well. And there’s a Banished presence here, so their rough industrial equipment adds another visual layer to the map.

Forbidden is one of the new arena maps coming to Halo Infinite in Season 5.

What are some of the unique features that Forbidden and Prism have as Arena maps?

On Prism, one of the power weapons is actually the special Pinpoint Needler variant from Halo Infinite’s campaign, which boasts an increased magazine and much stronger tracking abilities. Because of the theme we were going for with this map, having the Needler front-and-center here—an iconic Halo weapon going back to 2001—just felt right for this map to give it a unique edge.

Oh, and there are some unharvested blamite crystal clusters that players can shoot, making them explode which sends crystal shards flying off. That’s a cool environmental hazard which adds another fun and unique layer to the map.

For Forbidden, ample routes around the space make Capture the Flag matches even more tense—whether you’re attacking, defending, chasing the flag carrier, or trying to navigate your way back to capture the flag. There are a lot of options for the player to utilize in any of these situations which can feel incredibly rewarding. Long sightlines will put your sniping skills to the test, and there are some skill jumps that players can utilize to really level up their play. It’s a map we wanted to be easy for players to grok, but it has additional layers of depth that you can master.

One of the coolest things about Halo maps from the very beginning is that they tell a story, and I think we really lean into that in Prism. What can you tell us about some of those elements?

When we begin designing a map, we don’t like to design a blockout without knowing what kind of aesthetic we’re going for because those details lend so much unique flavor to these maps.

For Prism, we’re leaning into visualizing an area of the lore that you may have read about but certainly haven’t seen before. The mines on Suban are where blamite crystals (used for weapons like the Needler) come from and the Banished have come to claim it for themselves. This tells a story that you’ll see not just in the playable space but also in the battle that is taking place in the skybox where Banished ships are duking it out with the Arbiter’s Swords of Sanghelios.

Similarly with Forbidden, the design of those Delta Halo-inspired stone ruins is so unique—that ancient and elegant chonkiness is an aesthetic that evokes such a sense of mystery and allows us to lean into subtle storytelling elements that make these places feel alive.

Which modes are some of your favorites to play on these maps?

Prism feels great for zone control modes like King of the Hill and Extraction, but also—as mentioned earlier—plays really well with fast-paced One Flag CTF matches.

We had a great time testing CTF, Strongholds, and Oddball on Forbidden as well. The map lends itself to some incredible set-up scenarios and really unique moments!

Both of these maps also have their own unique Infection variants, with new areas to explore while certain paths are cut off.

Prism is one of the new maps coming to Halo Infinite in Season 5.

Do you have any fun stories from playtests on these maps?

We had so many good times with these maps, it’s hard to narrow it down to any one moment or thing that happened.

Having unique Infection map variants means it’s always fun when players are looking around to find the best hiding spots, thinking they’ve found the perfect place, and then the “Oh no...” moment when they’re the last survivor and everyone starts charging their position.

We’ve also been blowing each other up with blamite on Prism, and had some really, really close matches of Multi Flag on Forbidden. There have been some jaw-dropping “all or nothing” plays to prevent flag captures that have given me a new appreciation for the sniper rifle and those who are skilled at wielding it!

And aside from the gameplay, it’s been wonderful to just wander around these maps and admire the incredible job that the team did at making them feel like living spaces in the Halo universe. That’s what I used to do when I was young, wondering about what stories could happen in these locations, and hopefully players will get a sense of that on Prism and Forbidden as well.

Are there any hints towards Easter eggs or secrets for players to keep their eyes open for?

A hidden secret lies within stone ruins... maybe it’s a sandwich lol.

Thank you for joining us once again to help us explore the making of these new maps! Do you have any parting words to share?

As ever, please send us your clips of the awesome moments you have playing Season 5. Show us the secrets you find. Everybody poured their love into these maps and we hope you have as much of a good time playing on them as we did making them!

For more on Season 5 of Halo Infinite, check out our other blogs:

  • OPERATIONS & BATTLE PASS OVERVIEW Everything you need to know about how Halo Infinite’s Events are evolving into Operations and the Season 5 Battle Pass.
  • HALO GEAR REWARDS Learn more about the Halo Gear Rewards program for Season 5.
  • MODE OVERVIEW – Learn more about the return and revamp of Halo 4's Extraction mode.
  • FORGE OVERVIEW - Find out about the AI toolkit for PvE, along with new objects, palettes, options, and more coming to Forge
  • RANKED OVERVIEW All you need to know about Ranked, sandbox, and balancing updates and changes in Season 5.
  • CUSTOMIZATION OVERVIEW A complete breakdown of new customization content coming in Season 5, the Battle Pass, Shop changes, and more.