Halo 5 Beta Is a "Real" Beta

Franchise development director Frank O'Connor says upcoming beta is not just a simple network test.

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The upcoming Halo 5: Guardians beta for Xbox One is a "real" beta that will help developer 343 Industries craft a better experience overall, according to Halo franchise development director Frank O'Connor. In an interview with Eurogamer, O'Connor said 343 Industries hopes to glean important data from the pre-release trial so the studio can implement "meaningful" changes to the final product.

"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," O'Connor said. "And 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."

The Halo 5: Guardians beta, O'Connor stressed, is much more than a simple test to make sure Microsoft's servers won't crumble on launch day. "We're trying to mine it for all the data we can get," he said. "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."

The Halo 5: Guardians beta kicks off December 27, and you can get in by picking up a copy of this year's Halo: Master Chief Collection, which includes 1080p/60fps versions of Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4 in a $60 package. Halo 5 launches in the fall of 2015 exclusively for Xbox One.

At E3 last week, we learned that the mysterious Spartan featured in the key art for Halo 5: Guardians (above) is a soldier named Agent Locke. We'll learn more about his origin story in the upcoming live-action digital series Halo: Nightfall from Alien director Ridley Scott, which is separate from the Halo TV show produced by acclaimed director Steven Spielberg. The first episode will debut around the release of the Halo: Master Chief Collection on November 11, but we'll get a sneak peak at the content during Comic-Con in July, 343 Industries developers told Eurogamer.

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