Halo!For weeks, rumors
have been flying about Bungie’s planned Halo 2 expansion pack. What
would be included? How many new maps? Do we have to pay for it? And did Bungie finally
stop counting its money long enough to write a proper ending for the solo
campaign? This morning, most of these questions were answered as the company
released specs for the unassumingly titled Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack. And I
was really hoping they’d spell ‘pack’ without the ‘c’.

Here’s
the skinny. The multiplayer expansion will feature nine new maps, two videos (a
mini-doc on the design process and an animated short set in New Mombasa) and
all the updates previously available via Xbox Live. The price for all that?
Anyone without a Live connection will pay $19.99.

But in
these days of Steam, downloadable content that never materializes and free
downloadable content we have to pay for, things are a little more complicated
than that.

In April,
four of the maps will be available for download. Two (Containment and Warlock)
will be free, sponsored by‚ĶMountain Dew. Dude! It’ll be totally slammin’ to grab a Dew while I’m leaning out of a Banshee! For the remaining pair, Sanctuary and
Turf, you’ll have to shell out six bucks to play. And on June 28, the other
five maps will be available for download for $11.99. Note that the two video
features from the retail disc aren’t mentioned in this online ponzi scheme.

And it’s
not over yet. According to Bungie’s own site: By late summer, ALL the maps will be available for free. But you’ll
still have to shell out for the two videos, unless m4sT3rCHEEF186 has finished
coding that Xbox bit torrent client by then.

Details
on the first four maps are freely available over at Bungie’s
site
.