Public testing is underway for Halo: Reach but it's very exclusive

Image Credit: Microsoft/343 Industries (Image credit: Microsoft)

343 Industries has confirmed that the first public beta test for Halo: Reach, part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, is underway but it’s currently only accessible to fewer than 1000 Halo Insiders.

343 Industries has taken to the Halo Insider forums to announce that this first test is “just the beginning” and that it’s being kept “very small”, so if you did sign up for the Halo: Reach flighting tests and didn’t get an invite, you’re not the only one. 

“We’ve had a massive amount of opt-ins to the Insider program which is awesome,” 343 explains, “but it’s way more people than we can comfortably accommodate in our first flight out the door.”

Taking flight

The first flight is running from June 28 until July 1 and includes the Halo: Reach campaign mission Tip of the Spear, which is an updated build of the demo shown at E3 this year.

Given it’s still a work-in-progress, the build is apparently missing a few features and has several known issues. The main aim for 343 Industries for this first flight is to test the best way to launch more builds on Steam at a larger scale and get some player feedback on the mouse and keyboard controls.

Despite the invite-only status of the build, it has been reported that pirated versions of the build are being leaked online. 343 Industries and Microsoft have stated that they are aware of the issue and are cracking down on anyone that distributes or plays any illegal copies. 

In a tweet, Community Support and Engagement Coordinator at 343 Industries, Tyler Davis, said that those who do play the illegal beta will have all of their associated accounts banned and will be removed from any “all current or future 343 programs”. 

Given the beta only includes one mission and isn’t at optimal playing condition, playing a pirated version hardly seems like a worthwhile risk to take for fans of the franchise. 

It’s been promised that over time, there will be more test flights on both PC and Xbox with a larger number of people and a wider range of content from not just Reach, but more games that will be in the Master Chief Collection. 

In the meantime, 343 Industries has released 15 minutes of 4K gameplay footage for fans to pore over, no piracy needed. You can watch that for yourself below.

Emma Boyle

Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.