Three pieces of concept art for one of Halo 4's new multiplayer maps, Warhouse, illustrate a variety of inspirational sources, from NASA imagery to aircraft carriers.
"We explored several ideas for the theme, including a space platform, a spooky science experiment, and a jungle-bound UNSC facility for bio research," explains the official Halo Waypoint blog. "We settled on the space-platform idea, which eventually evolved into a stratospheric gas-mining ship."
"Inspiration for this map came from a wide variety of places, including oil refineries, giant mechs from films and cartoons, NASA imagery of gas giants, naval shipyards, and aircraft carriers, to name a few. We also referenced numerous well-developed sci-fi places throughout its development."
Halo 4 will be 343 Industries' first full Halo game, after contributing to 2010's Halo: Reach and 2011's remake Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary.
There's not yet a release date more specific than "holiday 2012" for this fourth core entry. Recent additions to the Halo canon have seen the light of day in mid- to late September, save for Anniversary, which was mid-November.
A repeat of September tradition would see Halo 4 placed between Borderlands 2 and BioShock Infinite, and prior to both Medal of Honor: Warfighter and the next Call of Duty installment, anticipated early November.