Beholder goes free on Steam to celebrate the start of the Beholder 3 playtest

Beholder 3
(Image credit: Paintbucket Games)

Beholder 3 is a game about reporting your neighbors to a corrupt official in a totalitarian state in order to save your own skin and advance your position in the party. If you think that sounds like a good time then you'll be happy to hear that a public playtest is now underway on Steam.

To get in on the action, just pop around to the Steam page and click the 'request access' button. Access isn't immediate (at least, it wasn't for me), but you'll receive an invitation to jump in via email when your turn comes. Publisher Alawar Games warned that the playtest does not include the full version of Beholder 3, and in fact said that "the content and mechanics in the playtest will differ from the release version" of the game.

To pass the time while you wait for your golden ticket to arrive, you can jump headlong into the original Beholder, which is free on Steam until November 11. Released in 2016, Beholder is a similar sort of 'prop up the regime through covert surveillance' game: As a landlord installed by the state, you'll eavesdrop on your neighbors, bust into their apartments to plant listening devices and rifle through their stuff, and generally be an all-around rat—unless you have the stones to stand up to the system.

Beholder 3 sounds like it will be a bit more personal: You are Frank Schwarz, a former state official who was set up to lose his cushy apparatchik job. Now, your only way to avoid a trip to prison—and maybe get your life back—is to go to work for a high-ranking official, while simultaneously scheming against your coworkers and bosses in order to work your way back up the ladder. It's set to come out sometime in early 2022.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.