Halo 4 begins closed testing on PC

(Image credit: 343 Industries)

In the parlance of the big green man himself, The Master Chief Collection is almost ready to finish the fight. Testing (sorry, "flighting") for Halo 4 began this week—and like Halo 3 before it, 343 Industries is inviting every registered Halo Insider along for the ride.

As 343's first shot at the series, Halo 4 may be the most divisive one of the lot. While it doesn't receive the outright vitriol of Halo 5 (which won't be making its way to the MCC), it marks a clear change in design values as Bungie handed over the reins to Microsoft's new Halo team. Doubling down on Halo: Reach's armour abilities, adding a sprint button and introducing a new faction of ancient aliens to gun down, Halo 4 does have its fans. But by the time it rolled around in 2014, I'd long ditched my Xbox for a desktop PC.

Thankfully, it doesn't matter which you own for this month's test. The Halo 4 flight arrives with full cross-play between PC and Xbox One, with input-based matchmaking to ensure we're not stomping our new gamepad friends too hard. Crossplay is available in all competitive multiplayer modes, Forge, and Firefight, with the notable exclusion of Halo 4's campaign and "Spartan Ops" co-op missions.

The flight itself includes five campaign and ten Spartan Ops levels, with a good helping of multiplayer modes across 11 maps. 343 are also sprucing up a few areas of Halo 4, adding visor colour customisation, improvements to the game's Forge editor, and some slightly nicer graphics options to help the 2012 shooter look a bit better on your beefy 2020 PC.

Testing kicked off last night and is expected to run until November 3, with invites being sent out in waves to all Halo Insiders (meaning you might still snag a spot if you're not yet signed up). If this flight is like the last few, expect Halo 4 to launch proper a few weeks later.

After that, it's just the long wait for Halo Infinite's release sometime next year.

Natalie Clayton
Features Producer

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.