Justin Rouse, Multiplayer Map Designer, talks about the making Release:
While creating Release, the task at hand was to create a map where it wasn’t the typical faceoff starting locations where you walk straight across the field and attack your enemy. On top of that, the flood had to play a part but without being able to control them while keeping them relevant throughout the game. This is where the abandoned Forerunner installation that the flood are stuck in idea came from. Originally, you could target where the flood would attack, then players still wanted the ability to continually control where the Flood move and attack but we felt that didn’t work inside the Halo lore. This is how we ended up with the Flood moving out of their Gate attacking a location on same side of the map but then we let a “Flood AI” take control of the army and randomly decide what should be attacked next. Having the Forerunner installation in the center of the map and tucking the players off to the corners on the same side, while forcing them to move around the installation to get to each other satisfied the non-typical 1v1 start at the same time. The Flood then become a sort of buyer beware item because they should attack your enemies side first but they may choose to attack you soon after from anywhere on the map. These two things combine to make Release a very Unique map in the Halo Wars arsenal.
Release is the only map where you have a little bit of “Control” over the flood in Halo Wars. You quickly learn that controlling the Consoles that release the flood is key to victory but many players make the mistake of using the flood as a solitary attack strategy. If you know you can open the flood gate multiple times in quick succession, at the level three flood army size, then they may be enough on their own but until you’re at that point you should use the flood as a supplementary attack force. Early on whenever you’re planning an attack, if possible you should open the release gate around 20seconds before your attack will hit the enemy. This makes the flood army a distraction while the real attack comes in from hopefully and undefended angle. Keeping your opponent busy in two locations can usually earn you a win but if you’re mistiming your attacks and just feeding flood into his large army you may be throwing experience at his forces causing them to gain veteran levels ahead of you which is definitely not the desired outcome.