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Play the Halo 3 beta next spring

Halo 3 public beta for spring 2007, new screen and Halo 2 map plans all inside

A closed multiplayer beta is happening right now internally at Microsoft, giving employees the chance to face off against each other over three maps with a few new weapons.

But the good news is that we'll be able to play the same, or similar next spring. A public multiplayer beta of the massive third instalment of Halo will go live next spring. Whether there's a cap on the limit of players allowed to play remains to be seen.

"You'll be playing a little multiplayer and simultaneously providing us with some valuable data to help our development team," reads the official news post. "We're still working out the details on timing and scope and there will be a lot more info coming in the weeks ahead."

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Bungie also notes that to be able to participate in the beta you'll need an Xbox 360 console, which is probably not a huge surprise.

Additionally, also revealed in today's Halo birthday celebrations (yes - it's been five years) is a new Halo 3 commercial set to air in the US on December 4 (we're awaiting word from Microsoft on a UK airing), and then available for download on Xbox Live Marketplace.

The commercial will feature CG scenes built by third party agency Digital Domain, but although it wont feature in-game graphics Bungie stresses that it will use "new in-game models" and that "just because you're seeing a kind of "real-life" representation of Halo 3 doesn't mean you aren't seeing real gameplay elements", which is certainly interesting.

Further more, the company also revealed that all-new Halo 2 multiplayer maps will be landing on Xbox Live next spring and will cost "something" to download. No details were offered on the maps, except that you'll need an Xbox 360 and hard drive to download them - so tough luck for anyone without Microsoft's next-gen box.

Finally, and perhaps most excitingly, Bungie has given us a brand new screenshot showing off Master Chief's latest model and a single-player map with rusty pipes and erm, not much else.

Stay tuned for more Halo 3 goodness coming soon.

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