Formerly just a way for developers to evaluate and tweak their games in real-world conditions, beta testing is increasingly becoming a promotional tool. Access to betas has been used as a preorder incentive, a PlayStation Plus membership benefit, and even as a bonus for unrelated games.
Sony is employing that last scenario with the launch of Killzone 3, as the company today announced that specially marked copies of the game will include early access to the multiplayer beta test for Zipper Interactive's upcoming SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs. When the Guerrilla Games first-person shooter launches February 22, both the standard and limited Helghast Edition packages of the game will include codes to download the beta from the PlayStation Network. Sony has not yet said when the beta will begin or how long it will run.
Set for release in April, SOCOM 4 will have an extensive multiplayer component, allowing for teams of players to shoot it out in 32-player matches. Terrain types will include a hostile jungle and half-ruined cities. Like Killzone 3, the game will include full support for Sony's motion-sensing PlayStation Move controller.
Picking up after the Helghan homeworld invasion of the previous game, Killzone 3 follows Sev, Rico, and the rest of their surviving squad, outgunned and outmanned by the Helghast as usual. While the $60 standard edition includes the basic game, the $130 Helghast Edition comes packaged with a replica mask and helmet of the series' signature antagonists. While the headgear is the centerpiece of the extra goodies, the collector's edition will also include a 6.5-inch articulated Cloaking Helghast Marksman action figure, an art book, and a voucher to download multiplayer maps, the game's soundtrack, and more.