These days are so far displaced from the ones which came before that I struggle to remember what changed along the way. I can recall with effortless nostalgia how things were the first day downloadable content had been made available for Halo 2, in late April of 2005. And just as easily, I can fondly evoke the memory of the day when the next pack was released, roughly sixty days after the first.
Nine maps in sixty days.
Nine maps. Sixty days. And not just any maps, but some of the best Halo 2 offered when it was all said and done.
For Halo 3, something has definitely changed. It’s difficult to determine if this is the maps themselves or the gaunt, three-piece packs they’ve been released in, stretching out now at seven maps over the course of a year and a half. It’s probably a little bit of both. Of course, this isn’t Bungie’s fault, nor is it the fans’. We often forget, until we’re aggressively reminded, that downloadable content isn’t all about extending the life of a title — to the effectors of policy, it is all about business.
The unfortunate side effect of this reality has forced us to endure almost an entire year while the Mythic Six have hidden in the background, silently lying in wait. For the most part, we know them only by name: Assembly, Orbital, Sandbox, Citadel, Heretic and Longshore. They are the last bastion of the Halo 3 multiplayer experience; Bungie’s final opportunity to carry the title deep into the years after its release, hopefully bridging a gap to their next big thing, whatever that may be.
With the publisher’s decision to divide the Mythic Six, even more pressure has been placed on the first wave of this multiplayer content stream, the second wave now being delayed until sometime this fall with Halo 3: ODST. Not only are these three maps walking into a deathly drought of Halo multiplayer content, but they must now bear the load of two map packs, staving off a waning interest in the Halo multiplayer experience for the next six to eight months until the other three are delivered.
Ascendant Justice has had the privileged opportunity to play through the first batch for almost a week now, sinking our teeth into the multiplayer environments you know as Assembly, Orbital and Sandbox. The question at hand is whether the front end of the Mythic Six will send the title into the ground once and for all — or if it will set the stage for the golden era of Halo 3 multiplayer…