Halo Wars 2: Blitz beta comes to the PC next week

Halo Wars 2 underwent a week-long public beta last summer, but only on the Xbox One. Microsoft said a couple of months later that it would eventually come to the PC as well, but not until the game was closer to launch. With that day quickly approaching, Microsoft has announced that the "Halo Wars 2 Blitz Multiplayer beta" will get underway on both platforms on January 20. 

"Blitz is our new twist on RTS gameplay that combines the deck building and split-second decision making of card-based strategy play with explosive tactical combat in the Halo universe," Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb announced on his blog. "Your card deck, along with your faction leader, are your greatest resources as you assemble a collection of air, ground and infantry units and seek to out-think and out-maneuver your opponents on the battlefield." 

Instead of building bases and units as you would in a conventional RTS, armies in Blitz mode are assembled in advance using decks of digital cards, which are then deployed in real time during the battle. Blitz mode doesn't have tech trees, resource collection, or economic management, and matches are fast, topping out at around 12 minutes in length. 343 Industries first revealed the new mode in a multiplayer video released last October. 

The Halo Wars 2: Blitz beta will run until January 30. The new mode will also be playable at the PC Gamer Weekend, running February 18-19 at the Olympia in London, just ahead of its release on February 21. 

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.