When is a beta not a beta? When it’s an early demo or a low-level stress test, actually. But Halo 5: Guardians will have a “real beta”, with 343 Industries closely monitoring everything players do.
The Halo 5: Guardians beta will run from December 5 through January 15, and will give us our first look at the new tech powering Master Chief on Xbox One – almost a full year before the actual game releases.
Speaking to Eurogamer, 343 Industries’ Bonnie Ross said the test is not just a showcase, but an important part of the development process.
“Very deliberately we’re doing it a year out to give us the development time to make sure we can take the feedback,” she said.
“It will be an interactive three week beta, meaning we will have multiple different ways for people playing to give us feedback so we can hone the multiplayer experience.”
Halo boss Frank O’Connor agreed, saying the beta will give all Halo fans a chance to let 343 Industries know what they think about the new game’s direction.
“We’ll be adding a lot of new things in Halo 5, but we want to talk to classic Halo fans about what makes a great Halo experience, and we think we’re going to get a lot of good data from them,” he said.
“It’s a real beta. Sometimes a beta is maybe a good way to test performance on your network. We’ll be looking at every single aspect of how people play this, and we have a lot of time to actually take meaningful feedback.
“We’re trying to mine it for all the data we can get. Not just network data or performance data. It’s like, how are people playing? How are they adapting to the new features? How are they dealing with new weapons? There will be a huge amount of data for us to look at.”
This is really important to 343 Industries because it is the guardian – ha ha – of one of the most important platform exclusive properties in the industry. It cannot fuck things up.
“That’s not as easy as it sounds. Halo is different to different people,” O’Connor said.
“Some people think of Halo as this purely co-op experience. Some people only care about the story. Multiplayer guys don’t agree with each other on anything, period. DMR is the worst and best weapon.
“So, knowing you have such a disparate set of audiences as a subset of your overall audience and trying to figure out the best way to cater to them without compromising everyone else’s experience – that’s a hell of a balancing act. And it’s one we’ll always struggle with. I know our audience is changing.”
The full article linked above is well worth a read if you’re interested in how The Master Chief Collection fits in with how 343 is handling the greater Halo universe – or if you’re a Halo fan in general, of course.