After years of speculation and wishing, Microsoft announced Halo Wars 2 at GamesCom last year to the delight of fans. Starting today Microsoft has opened the multiplayer beta for Halo Wars 2 on Xbox One. Players will have one week of access to the Ricochet map and Domination game type, with access to Deathmatch starting June 17th. Domination is a 2v2 map control game type where teams need to take and defend check points on the map. Deathmatch will be the same classic game type that requires you to straight out destroy the opposing teams.
Two playable leaders are included. One is Atriox the Brute leader of a new Covenant faction called the ‘Banished’ which will be introduced with the game. The other leader will be familiar to fans of the first game, Captain Cutter from the Spirit of Fire.
First impressions of the beta so far have been impressive. Although there have been a few random graphical bugs: textures going missing on the map, and the animations missing when units attack. Units also feel extremely unbalanced at this stage. However, it is nice to see 343i really trying to give the fans what they want, and they have stated that there will be another beta closer to release for both Window 10 and Xbox one.
Halo Wars was the final game developed by Ensemble studios, the studio who created Age of Empires before being shut down by Microsoft. Halo Wars 2 is being developed by 343 industries (The studio who develops and manages all of the Halo IP) in collaboration with The Creative Assembly who are behind the Total War games.
The beta is available to anyone on Xbox One with a Gold account. Halo Wars 2 is set to release February 21st 2017 and is part of the new Play Anywhere system for Xbox One and Windows 10. More details are expected to be released in the coming months at various conventions.