343 Industries is getting the holiday celebrations off to an early start – Monitor’s Bounty is out now for Halo 5: Guardians! The latest content release marks the tenth update for Halo 5: Guardians, and is an epic salvo of experience-enhancing additions: new weapons, armor and skins, brand new ways to play and seek out custom games, and the largest Forge update we’ve ever released.

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With Monitor’s Bounty, Halo 5’s Forge mode has been updated with over 650 new objects on top of entirely new systems and functionality! One of the most exciting outcomes of all these awesome new improvements and additions to Forge’s scripting systems is an expanded ability to create all-new game modes in Halo 5.

With this new “Minigames” functionality, players can not only experience fan-favorite modes like Race and King of the Hill, but also create a ridiculous array of new modes and experiences, the likes of which have never been seen in a Halo game before.

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Halo 5 players on Xbox One and Windows 10 will have a new way to find matches and teammates with the addition of the join-in-progress Custom Games Browser. This new browser enables players to search for in-progress games from the main menu and utilizes the content browser to filter for any map or mode your heart desires.

With this powerful new feature, Halo 5: Forge on Windows 10 graduates to a full-fledged Halo Arena multiplayer experience, letting players search, find and join games to play with strangers and friends alike – at up to 4K resolutions – for free!

First revealed at the 2016 Halo World Championship, Halo 5’s Observer Mode is a special in-game overlay developed initially for esports that’s now making its way to Halo players everywhere. Observer Mode allows any player in a Custom Game lobby to enter the match as an observer and cycle through player POVs, view the weapon and status details of all active players in the match and enable the fan-favorite “player outlines” to see every player across the battlefield.

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Although not specifically part of the free content release, 343 has also released a new REQ gifting feature for Halo 5: Guardians. Spartans Rank 5 or higher now have the option when purchasing REQ Gold Packs from the Xbox Store of gifting it to another Halo 5: Guardians player. To familiarize the community with this new feature, all Halo 5: Guardians will be receiving a Gold Gift Pack in their REQ inventory.

Finally, a new way to customize announcer commentary is now available. The “Voices of War REQ Pack,” available for $9.99 USD, delivers three new announcers for the game – the rakish warfighter Spartan Buck, the Grunt-with-a-past Yabda the Merciless, and the stylish monitor Exuberant Witness. These new voices will be available in Arena and Warzone game modes.

Head over to Halo Waypoint for even more information on the Monitor’s Bounty content release for Halo 5: Guardians, and happy holidays from 343 Industries!

Purchase Halo 5: Guardians for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

Purchase Halo 5: Guardians – Digital Deluxe Edition for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

The last week of August we revealed the release date of Halo 5: Forge and detailed the content included in Anvil’s Legacy for Halo 5: Guardians – and now we’re pleased to say – that day is here. Josh Holmes, Studio Head of Game Development at 343 Industries, shares some thoughts about this big achievement for the Halo franchise.

Download Halo 5: Forge Bundle

Purchase Halo 5: Guardians for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

Since the release of Halo 5: Guardians last year, the team here at 343 Industries has continued to provide free content updates, expanding the experiences available to players within the community and supporting the game post-launch. The goal in making this content free was to keep our players playing together across all experiences and prevent anyone from feeling left behind. To date the reception from players has been incredible and I’m happy to say that our active player base at this point is the best we’ve seen for any Halo title since Halo 3.

Today, we are releasing Anvil’s Legacy, which is our ninth major, free update for Halo 5: Guardians on Xbox One. In it, we are releasing two new maps, the Content Browser, and a bunch of new REQ content, but perhaps the biggest news relates to Forge.

The Halo community has been the heart and soul of our franchise from the very beginning. The passion of our fans continues to inspire and energize us, each and every day. When the original Forge mode was released almost a decade ago in Halo 3, it provided aspiring creators with the power to express themselves and share their ideas with the world. Since then the Halo Forge community has been amongst our most passionate and devoted fans. The Forge toolset we released for Halo 5: Guardians on Xbox One is the most capable yet and since its release this past December, we’ve continued to update Forge with new content and expanded functionality. In doing so, we’ve worked closely with community Forgers, taking their input and feedback with the goal of providing the most robust suite of creation tools possible for Halo.

The Forge community has long requested the ability to build levels on the PC. Along with Anvil’s Legacy, we are finally bringing the Forge toolset to Windows 10 PCs with the release of Halo 5: Forge. The precision, speed and control available on PC using keyboard and mouse will make it easier than ever for creators to bring their Halo vision to life. All content created with Halo 5: Forge on Win10 PC will be shared with the Xbox One community and vice versa. Creators will be able to build, shape and play their content on either platform through their file share.

In addition to the core suite of builder tools being made available through Halo 5: Forge, we’ll also be allowing players to play custom Arena multiplayer games on Windows 10 and making available all of the existing Halo 5 Arena maps. Players will be able to set up custom matches with friends over Xbox Live to play and test their creations on the PC before sharing them with the world.

Best of all, Halo 5: Forge is a free offering. Anyone with a Windows 10 PC that meets the minimum requirements meets the minimum requirements (which includes having Windows 10 Anniversary Update, get it here) for the game can download the client and join the community, building and playing within the Halo 5 ecosystem.

As 343’s first Halo FPS release on PC, we are approaching this as a learning opportunity. In developing Halo 5: Forge for Windows 10, we have been fortunate to work with a great partner in Skybox Labs, based out of Vancouver, Canada. Skybox has worked closely with Tom French, Nahil Sharkasi, and the entire team here at 343 Industries to ensure we provide the sort of experience that PC players have come to expect. They have done a terrific job and we look forward to continuing to work with them in future.

For those lucky enough to own a PC capable of running the game at the highest resolutions, you are in for a treat. Playing the game at full 4K resolution and revealing all of the glorious detail our artists have put into the game is really special. Halo 5 multiplayer looks truly spectacular running at 4K.

One of the first things you’ll notice when you download and launch Halo 5: Forge is the new Halo app on Windows 10 PC. From this new launcher you’ll see the latest Forge content highlighted from across the community and find links to a number of Forge tutorials to help you get started with your creations. Content in the Halo app will remain fresh, and not only keep you up to date on everything going on within Halo 5, but will also bring all of your future Halo games on PC together in one, unified place.

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We are incredibly excited to see what the Forge community will create with this powerful new set of tools and to bring Halo and Forge to a new audience on Windows 10. Looking ahead, the team remains hard at work on our next update even as we prepare for this release. In a future update for both PC and console, we will be expanding the existing File Browser to allow players to search for and join custom games in progress. This will make it easier for players to sample the amazing content being created by our community and to find new players to match up with in multiplayer.

Together we’ve been on an incredible journey since the release of Halo 5 last year. Thank you all for your continued support and for coming along with us for the ride.

Join us and start building and playing in Halo 5: Forge now.  You can download Halo 5: Forge and the Halo app bundle, for free, via the Windows Store here:

Download Halo 5: Forge Bundle

On September 8, Halo’s most powerful and accessible world, level and game creation suite arrives as a free download via the Windows Store on Windows 10 PCs. Halo 5: Forge lets map makers, creative visionaries, and Spartans of all kinds build, share and play new levels, maps, and experiences across Windows 10 PC and Xbox One. On the same day, the ninth free content release for Halo 5: Guardians on Xbox One – Anvil’s Legacy – will deliver significant updates to Forge mode on console that complement the Windows release, as well as two new maps, new weapons, new weapon attachments, customization options and more.

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Here’s a quick refresher on Halo 5: Forge:

• Halo 5: Forge Comes to Windows 10 PC. First announced back in May, we’ve partnered with our friends at SkyBox Labs to bring the entire Forge level-creation experience from Halo 5: Guardians to Windows 10, with support for mouse and keyboard for highly refined object placement and manipulation, higher-resolution displays (including 4k) for stunning graphic fidelity, the ability to host and play custom matches for up to 16 players, and a new content browser that spans platforms. Creators will be able to download levels from the Forge community created on both Windows 10 PC and Xbox One, which they can then customize, or create their own from scratch. Halo 5: Forge opens the door to new possibilities in Halo 5: Guardians and beyond.

We can’t wait to see what the community will build with the added power of Halo 5: Forge on Windows 10 PC.

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Additional details on new content coming in Anvil’s Legacy include:

• Content Browser that Spans Platforms. The Anvil’s Legacy content release brings the highly anticipated content browser to Forge mode in Halo 5: Guardians on Xbox One – a new, streamlined way to discover community-created Forge content, with support for custom maps, game modes and Forge Object Groups. Combined with Halo 5: Forge on Windows 10 PC, the new content browser will let users browse, access and enjoy content from both PC and console Forgers, regardless of which system it was originally created on.

• New Arena and Warzone Maps – Mercy and Temple. With the addition of “Mercy”, a new battleground is open for competitive Arena players, while “Temple” brings the desert environment of Sanghelios to Warzone Assault modes.

• New Weapons, REQs, Customization Options and More. Anvil’s Legacy brings several new desirable REQ items including three new weapons, new Sound Dampener attachments, weapon and armor skins, and more.

Stay tuned to Xbox Wire and Halo Waypoint for more Halo news, including tomorrow for additional details on the brand new Halo app coming soon to Windows 10 PC!

Just in time for the release of Halo 5: Guardians next week, we are adding a collection of Halo-themed images to the Xbox One gamerpic gallery including The Master Chief and Spartan Locke. These new images are starting to roll out over the coming days but may take some time to appear in all Xbox Live regions. To change your gamerpic, go to Settings, About Me, Customize profile, Change gamerpic (this may vary if you’re a Preview Program member with the New Xbox One Experience).

Browse the gallery and you should see the new Halo 5 images.

The new Halo 5: Guardians gamerpic images are included below:

You can download a .ZIP file containing all of the images here: Halo 5 gamerpics

Halo 5: Guardians releases 27 October and is one of the most anticipated games of 2015. Show your support with a new Halo 5: Guardians gamerpic.