When it was released earlier this year, Crackdown proved a solid hit, selling nearly 540,000 copies as of March 31, according to the NPD Group. Besides its blend of free-range shooting and platforming, the game's biggest draw was that purchasers of its initial production run were provided with a key to the Halo 3 online multiplayer beta.
The beta, which was distributed to the press last week, was supposed to become accessible by key-holders earlier today. However, following numerous reports of problems with the beta, developer Bungie Studios has since taken it offline. As of press time, the beta was still not online.
Unsurprisingly, pandemonium ensued in the wake of the delay. Despite assurances from Bungie that studio officials had "contacted the appropriate [Xbox] Live authorities and they are taking care of the problem as we speak," frenzied traffic overwhelmed the blog of Xbox Live director of programming Larry "Major Neslon" Hyrb, which is used to disseminate official Xbox Live news.
"We're aware that some users are having difficulty downloading the Halo 3 multiplayer beta via Crackdown," said Hyrb in a bare-bones splash page on his site. "Bungie Studios is working with the Xbox Live team to resolve this as quickly as possible--stay tuned. Gamers entering the beta through other means, such as friends and family, remain unaffected."
[UPDATE] Around 4 p.m. PDT Wednesday afternoon, Bungie announced that a fix for the Halo 3 beta issues would be resolved in "three to six hours." The fix would be in the form of a Crackdown auto-update.
[UPDATE] Around 7 p.m. PDT, the remedy went online, according to the official Bungie Web site. "We're happy to announce that effective immediately, a title update for Crackdown is available on Xbox Live that will fix the issue that previously prevented you from downloading the beta," the developer said in a statement.
GameSpot will have more information on Halo 3 as it becomes available. In the meantime, check out the hands-on preview of the beta or watch the various gameplay movies below.