By: Nick Gambino

To kick off the 20th anniversary of Halo, Microsoft dropped an early release of Halo Infinite multiplayer. While it’s just a beta, everyone rocking an Xbox One, Series S/X or PC will be granted access.

Halo Infinite is not set to launch until December 8, but this early beta launch will include season one maps and all the Battle Pass features.

The question then is why is this only a beta a few weeks out from release? Well, that’s been answered by the Halo Waypoint blog and no it’s not just about surprising fans early. It’s essentially a way to weed out any last-minute bugs before things get crazy on launch day. In other words, it’s exactly what a beta is supposed to do.

“Our previous Multiplayer Technical Previews went a long way to battle-testing our services and infrastructure,” Joseph Staten, the head of creative for Halo Infinite, said in a blog post. “But as we prepare for a significant increase in the number of players jumping into Halo Infinite on launch day, December 8th, we want to ensure all our systems are good-to-go. While you may experience some bumps and bugs during this beta period, it does mark the official start of Halo Infinite Season 1, with all day-one maps and modes enabled as well as the full Season 1 Battle Pass.”

Any progress you make playing multiplayer in the beta will stick around when it launches officially. This is different from those aforementioned Technical Previews that didn’t allow you to carry over your progress. They also announced that Season 1 has been extended to May 2, 2022. This will allow 343 to finish up Season 2.

Any player who signs up for the Halo Infinite beta by November 23 will get a bunch of 20th anniversary-themed free items. That date also marks the launch of the first Season 1 event, “Fracture: Tenrai.” This is where players will be able to start earning customized items and samurai-themed armored pieces.

Staten promises they’ll update all of us again in January on further Season 1 reveals and Season 2, campaign co-op, and Forge releases. Of course, they’ll have to wait for the dust to settle from Season 1’s starting line.