Microsoft had a big day today at Gamescom 2014 with the introduction of the all new Halo Channel on the Xbox One. One of the juicy bits to come from this event was a video giving us a behind the scenes look into the Halo 5 multiplayer beta that will run from December 29th to January 18th. First, check out the video.

One of the things you may have noticed was that there is a next-gen remake of the classic Halo 2 map Midship featured prominently in the video. We can expect this classic competitive to make a return during the beta this winter as 1 of the 7 maps mentioned.

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It was also mentioned that Halo 5 will have small maps that are “really tailored to 4v4 combat” to really cater to the competitive nature of Halo. Meaning that eSports is on their mind while designing the next installment.

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eSports!!!

On the same note, at least for the beta, loadouts are going to be history. Both Red team and Blue team will all have the same starting weapons and will rely more on controlling weapon spawns on the map as opposed to Halo 4 which introduced a personal loadout system for every spartan and downplayed general weapon placement on each map. This is an attempt to get back to the core of what made Halo unique and fun and move away from what competitors might be doing with their games.

We also get a glimpse at the new player models and I noticed that certain back accessories are prominently displayed.

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Looks like armor abilities like the jetpack are going to be returning in Halo 5. The new look gorgeous will offer several variations for customizing your spartan in the beta.

The last thing to take note of from this first look is that some weapons are making a return and some look like they got a redesign. You’ll see many classic human weapons and the return of the SMG in the video, but it would seem that the rocket launcher (or at least that is the only thing I can think of it being) got a makeover.

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Assault Rifle                                 BR                                      DMR

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      SMG                                 Sniper Rifle                  Rocket Launcher?

The classic Rocket Launcher appears to have changed to a more modern or realistic version. Or perhaps it’s a completely different weapon all together (I hope). In any case, this accounts for about half of the usable weapons in the beta. We’ll expect to see classic Covenant and possible some Forerunner tech to round out the list as well.

We’re just as excited for this multiplayer beta as anyone else and will definitely be pre-ordering the Halo: Master Cheif Collection to ensure we get in the beta. So to recap, here is what we know about the upcoming mulitplayer beta:

  • 7 maps
  • Potentially Midship remake
  • Small maps tuned to 4v4
  • 3 game types
  • 11 sandbox weapons
  • No loadouts – Red and Blue start with the same weapons
  • Armor abilities
  • Runs from Dec. 29 – Jan. 18