After many weeks of speculation, Microsoft and developer Bungie have announced that the public beta test period for Halo 3
’s multiplayer component will begin on May 16 at 5am PDT and continue until June 6 11:59pm PDT.
The most important Xbox 360 exclusive of the year and together with the multiformat Grand Theft Auto IV
likely to be the best selling title this Christmas, Halo 3
is described as the final part in the initial trilogy of games which began on the original Xbox.
Access to the multiplayer public beta was heavily advertised as a feature in the initial run of Realtime Worlds’ Crackdown
, with access to the eventual download only being possible if customers retained the game disc. Admission to the beta was also offered through the “Rule of Three” promotion which required users to register on Halo3.com, play three hours of Halo 2
between February 1st and February 3rd, 2007 and be one of the first 13,333 players to do so.
Although access to public beta testing is common for many PC games, this is one of the first times it has been made available for a console game, and the first time that it has been used as a major marketing tool for any game. Access to earlier closed beta testing was less well advertised and largely limited to North America.
The public beta testing download will feature three maps (Snowbound, High Ground and Valhalla), as well as the new all-terrain vehicle, the Mongoose. New weapons such as the redesigned assault rifle, Brute spiker, Spartan laser and spike grenades will also feature. A new behind the scenes video of the game has also been launched today
at the Bungie website and on Xbox Live.
“Halo: Combat Evolved
and Halo 2
changed the face of console gaming forever,” said Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. “Gamers from around the world have logged more than 800 million hours on Xbox Live playing Halo 2
, and years after its launch it remains the No. 1 title on our Xbox Live network. Bringing an early look at the multiplayer elements of Halo 3
to our passionate fan base is tremendously exciting for us.”