Although Microsoft's X10 event is only half over, Xbox Live director of programming Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb has fired off the event's biggest news in one fell swoop. First and foremost, the Xbox 360's public face announced that the Halo: Reach beta will begin on May 3. The multiplayer beta can be accessed only via the Halo 3: ODST disc, much like the Halo 3 beta was opened up only to Crackdown players in 2007. Halo: Reach itself is not due out until the fall.
First announced at the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo, Halo: Reach will depict some of the same events that took place in the novel Halo: The Fall of Reach by Eric Nylund. The book portrays both the siege of the titular fortress planet by the Covenant and the origins of the Spartan program, which developed dozens of supersoldiers like Halo series hero Master Chief. It will follow a squad of six Master Chief-like Spartan soldiers as they try to protect Reach's human inhabitants from the Covenant's relentless onslaught. A source who has seen Halo: Reach firsthand described it to GameSpot as "Gears of War with Spartans" and "very bleak and violent."
For the latest look at Halo: Reach, check out Bungie's all-new video documentary feature on the making of the game, viewable below.