The upcoming beta for Halo 5 Guardians will kick off on December 29, 2014, as 343 Industries general manager and studio head Bonnie Ross confirmed during Microsoft’s Gamescom 2014 press briefing. Ross further confirmed that the beta will run for three weeks.
The beta will focus on 4v4 arena gameplay in small maps, seven of them in all. You’ll be able to play in three different game modes and use up to 11 weapons scattered throughout the beta’s maps, though all players will start with the same loadout. You’ll also be able to unlock custom armor sets. 343 also confirmed that something — it’s not specified what — will carry over from the beta to the eventual Halo 5 Guardians release.
Access to the Halo 5 Guardians beta can be guaranteed by picking up Halo: The Master Chief Collection on or after it’s released for Xbox One on November 11. The set includes Xbox One-ready versions of all four numbered Halo games — Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4 — as well as the aforementioned beta access and all episodes in executive producer Ridley Scott’s Halo: Nightfall episodic series.
Microsoft also announced plans to launch a “Halo Channel,” which serves as a portal for accessing an assortment of Halo-related video content, including Nightfall, behind the scenes looks, and recorded match videos from you, your friends, and the community.
The beta runs from December 29, 2014 through January 18, 2015.