Just a month after Microsoft formally announced the title for Halo 5: The Guardians and two days after it revealed how players would be able to get into the a beta program; 343 Industries’ Bonnie Ross has confirmed when the Halo 5 Beta will begin and how long users should expect it to stick around.
According to Joystiq, Ross revealed two of the biggest details concerning the Halo 5 Beta today. It’s the outlet’s assertion that the Halo 5 Beta will begin on December 27th, two days after the Christmas holidays in the United States. The report at Joystiq also indicates that the Beta will run for three entire weeks before 343 Industries shuts it down to take note of any networking issues and key takeaways.
To be clear, Microsoft hasn’t revealed any of these details on its news website or with any other news outlets for that matter. Since these things can change at any time, and sometimes game studio executives accidentally speak out of turn, it’s a bit earlier to consider that December 27th release date firm. Still, the outlet does have an established record of decent reporting on these sorts of things.
Early this week Bonnie Ross took to the stage at Microsoft’s E3 Media Briefing to announce one other detail about the Halo 5 Beta. Microsoft said that in addition to bundling a weekly live action show with Halo: The Master Chief Collection¸ the game will also include exclusive access into the Halo 5 Beta. At the time Microsoft only indicated that it was planning to kick off the Halo 5 Beta this winter.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection isn’t really a new Halo game per se. Instead, it’s actually a massive compilation of the four major Halo games to feature franchises hero, The Master Chief. The game won’t just let Xbox One users play the campaign from Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3 & Halo 4; it’ll also include remastered graphics that run at the highest resolution and frame rate possible. Halo: The Master Chief Collection buyers can also look forward to creating their own playlists consisting of their favorite campaign missions, all of the series’ extra downloadable content and each game’s multiplayer with their original engine. Since Microsoft confirmed that The Master Chief Collection wasn’t arriving until November 11th, we knew the Halo 5 Beta couldn’t be happening before then.
Of course, those hoping that this beta will reveal all about the story contained in Halo 5: The Guardians are definitely out of luck. Typically with these betas Microsoft tries to test the networking code and play mechanics in an environment as realistic as they possibly can. That means that users get to play the multiplayer, but they learn very little if any real information about the game’s story in general. As such, it’s entirely possible that we won’t learn more about who the Guardians actually are until after the Halo 5 beta. That’s not likely since Microsoft will want to build hype for the beta, but it’s possible.
The timing for this beta seems particularly strange. Typically, multiplayer betas happen within four or five months of a game’s final release. Even a few betas lately have happened a month or two ahead of a release.
If Microsoft is preparing to test the Halo 5 multiplayer over the holidays it stands to reason that we could see a Halo 5 release in mid 2015 instead of the end of 2015 like everyone in the gaming industry assumed. If that’s true than Xbox fans are in for a strange year. Typically, Microsoft releases new Halo titles in the fall.
Microsoft has only confirmed that Halo 5: The Guardians will launch sometime in 2015. When it does launch, it’ll only be available on the Xbox One, Microsoft’s latest all-in-one entertainment console.