Halo only had a small segment today during Xbox’s press briefing, however many other details were revealed online outside of the briefing. Halo Wars 2 had two trailers revealed, the first was a cinematic trailer and the second was advertising the Open Beta that is currently available and odds are you’re probably installing it or playing it right now.
The Halo Wars 2 Beta is available to everyone with Xbox Live Gold. It runs from June 13th to the 20th.
The Beta features 2 modes. Domination, which is available from the 13th through the 16th. In Domination players build their bases and armies, and battle for control of the map and supremacy of the Ark.
Deathmatch is the other mode that will be available from June 17th until June 20th. It’s a straight up fight to the death. Last man standing wins.
Both game modes are 2v2. Domination will feature a map called Ricochet, and Deathmatch will be played on a map called Veteran.
Now this isn’t a marketing beta, with this announcement 343 has informed us that Halo Wars 2 has been pushed from it’s original Fall 2016 release to February 21st, 2017. 343 decided to move the game to give it room to breathe as there are many games this fall.
With that being said the beta is taking place roughly 8 months before release so there is plenty of time to incorporate our feedback. The Beta is only available for Xbox One, however there will be another beta closer to launch for Xbox One and Windows 10. This current Beta also offers Gold REQ packs for Halo 5 if you play it. You get 1 after your first game of the Halo Wars 2 Beta and 2 more after your 5th game.
Halo Wars 2 currently has 5 listed game modes. Skirmish (Solo & Online Multiplayer Co-op), Strongholds (Online Multiplayer), Domination (Online Multiplayer), Deathmatch (Online Multiplayer), and a new mode called Blitz (Solo & Online Multiplayer Co-op).
In terms of story, Halo Wars 2 takes place directly after the events of Halo 5: Guardians. After decades adrift and declared lost with all hands, The Spirit of Fire is back with Captain Cutter and crew. Roughly about 27 years since the events of the original Halo Wars.
If you didn’t already notice, Blur Studio is indeed doing the cinematics.
The new villain is Atriox, the leader of the mercenary force known as The Banished – a fierce and powerful Brute faction. The Banished bring many classic Halo alien weapons to the battlefield with an explosive redesign, making them as brutal and deadly as anything the UNSC has encountered. Halo Wars 2 takes place on the Ark, which was first introduced in Halo 3.
Halo Wars 2 is also a Xbox Play Anywhere title. This means if you buy a digital purchase of Halo Wars 2 on your Xbox One or Windows 10 you’ll get access to the other version for free. So you can play on your Xbox One with a controller or on Windows 10 and crank the resolution and use your keyboard and mouse. Now you don’t have to decide between a platform since you get both.
Currently there are two versions of Halo Wars 2. There’s the standard edition and there’s the ultimate edition. The ultimate edition comes with the Halo Wars 2 season pass, 4 days of early access to the game, and the Definitive Edition of the original Halo Wars.
The season pass delivers regular updates that span more than six months and include new leaders with abilities, new units, a new campaign expansion with exclusive missions, and more to be announced soon.
The ultimate edition allows owners the ability to play Halo Wars 2 4 days before the standard release date, so instead of February 21, 2017. You can play on February 17th.
Halo Wars: Definitive Edition is an enhanced version of the original Halo Wars that runs natively on Xbox One and Windows 10. It includes improved graphics and all the DLC for the game.
Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition costs $79.99 USD, the standard edition costs $59.99. Both listings online come with an item called Welcome to the Ark, which may be a pre-order bonus item. It’s description says…
Experience the exciting first battles between the UNSC and The Banished. Unlocks the story missions and multiplayer leaders from the original Halo Wars 2 campaign.
That could be a typo, possibly meant to say Halo Wars not Halo Wars 2. We’ll hopefully get more details and clarification as E3 continues.