Halo 5: Guardians Beta Release Date Arrives

With the Halo 5: Guardians beta release date finally here, Microsoft is revealing a bit more about the game’s final launch details, including special editions and bundles that Xbox One owners can pre-order today.

Starting today, owners of Halo: The Master Chief Collection can pre-download the Halo 5: Guardians beta. Seven different maps will be available to players during the Halo 5: Guardians beta. Those include the two maps that game developer 343 Industries showed off in a documentary about making the beta in its Halo Channel app for Windows and Xbox One. Three different game modes will appear during the beta too. When it revealed a limited beta earlier this month, 343 Industries indicated that the Halo 5: Guardians beta would roll out new content for users to try each week.


The whole point of the Halo 5: Guardians beta is to test out new mechanics and the code that allows players to connect to each other over Xbox Live for matches. Handing out the multiplayer mode to the masses now saves 343 Industries and Microsoft from running into serious issues on Halo 5: Guardians release day in fall 2015. At least, that’s the theory. It’s also good for 343 Industries to see how real players are using the changes it’s made to Halo multiplayer as a whole.


In an effort to get back to core experiences, 343 Industries seems to have canned the Armor Abilities load-out mechanic. In previous games, Armor Abilities allowed users to quickly sprint from one location to another, fly short distances and let holograms act as decoys. Halo 5: Guardians players get to move quickly from area to area thanks to a new Sprint ability that’s available to everyone. Running other players over with the jets that power Sprint and hitting the ground so hard that you knock out nearby enemies are other options that are available. 343 Industries calls the latter Ground Pound. The big difference between these Spartan Abilities and the older Armor Abilities is how players get them. Armor Abilities were a single load out that players chose at the beginning of their match and sometimes upgraded. Every player can pull off the same Spartan Abilities.


Progress earned during the Halo 5: Guardians beta will carry over to the final game.


A new post on Xbox Wire wraps up the plot of Halo 5: Guardians story nicely. In this game, users will, for at least a decent portion of the game, play as Locke, a Spartan, trying to save the galaxy and find series protagonist John 117.

Microsoft still isn’t giving users a hard Halo 5: Guardians release date beyond “Fall 2015.” That the game’s release date is so far off might disappoint some looking for a Halo-related reason to purchase an Xbox One early in the New Year, but they’ll need the extra time to save anyway.

Halo 5: Guardians Standard Edition will cost $59.99 and come with a free poster for those who pre-order. Halo 5: Guardians Limited Edition will sell for $99.99. Those who purchase this version of the game will get exclusive extra content, the game and a steel collector’s case. Halo 5: Guardians Limited Collector’s Edition will retail for a whopping $249.99. Limited Collector’s Edition buyers get a commemorative statue, a copy of the game and the digital content that comes with the Limited Edition.

Halo 5: Guardians buyers can go ahead and pre-order their version of the game at Microsoft’s own retail stores, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Amazon today. That being said, it makes more sense to wait until after the Halo 5: Guardians Beta has concluded and you have a better idea of what you’re buying into.


Xbox One owners with Halo: The Master Chief Collection can pre-download the beta to their consoles now. According to Microsoft’s Halo Twitter account, servers should go online today at 9AM PST.