Springtime for Halo 3 public testing

Microsoft will open up testing of the next Halo release to the general public. An Xbox Live multiplayer public beta of Halo 3 is scheduled to be available in spring 2007, according to Redmond.

Springtime for Halo 3 public testing

Running exclusively on the Xbox 360 – via the Xbox Live multiplayer feature – gamers will be able to play in a pre-release version of Halo 3. According to the game’s developers, Bungie Studios, they will help shape the development of Halo 3, with their feedback refining the end result.

Details are still sketchy because Bungie states that it is ‘still working out the details on timing and scope’.

‘Since its original release, Halo 2 has redefined online play, delivering superior multiplayer capabilities in addition to an incredible social experience, and nurturing a constantly growing community through Xbox Live,’ claimed the corporate VP of Microsoft Game Studios, Shane Kim. ‘After five years of rabid fan interest in the Halo franchise and with more than 4 million users and counting on Xbox Live worldwide, this is the perfect time to invite fans to join the global Halo phenomenon.’

While on the subject of Halo, new Halo 2 maps will also be available for the Xbox 360 next spring for download via Xbox live, at a price. The exact cost per map of this ‘premium content’, however, has yet to be revealed.

Bungie is clearly anticipating some flak over the XBox 360-only status of this new development, ‘and frankly, we can’t really blame you for potentially being a little upset at this news’, says a company spokesperson.

‘Ultimately, when it comes to pricing and timing and distribution and exclusivity, it’s not up to Bungie,’ he adds. ‘We make games and in this case we’re making maps. Microsoft Game Studios is our publisher and they have the final call on the when/where/how part of the equation.’

More info can be found on the Bungie website. As Kim mentioned, the company is celebrating five years of the Xbox Halo game, built around the saga of the genetically modified Master Chief and his fellow marines in their battle against the Covenant forces.

Back in November 2004, Halo 2 hit pay dirt for Microsoft when it broke records and took $100mn in sales on its first day in the States. The release of the game, however, was hit by a (French) version leaking onto the Internet. Halo: Combat Evolved kicked off the series.

Note that Halo 2 for the PC has yet to materialise. This is because it will be Windows Vista-only, so expect it to be heading our way come 30 January and the general retail release of operating system.

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