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Halo Wars 2 PC beta won't happen until early 2017

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Halo Wars 2 underwent a closed beta test back in June, which unfortunately (and despite being playable on the PC, as we saw at the PC Gaming Show at E3) was only for the Xbox One. A lot of good information came out of the test, 343 Industries boss Dan Ayoub said in a recent Xbox Wire blog post (opens in new tab), which will result in some big changes being made to the game.   

“There are a significant number of individual changes and adjustments being made, including unit tuning, game mode pacing, UI improvements, stability, and flow improvements based on the data we received from the beta,” Ayoub wrote. “At a high level, there are five main areas of focus that we’ll be adjusting, in addition to the general improvements listed above: controls, leader abilities, bases, resources and energy, and population.” 

The use and evolution of leader powers, for instance, are being changed to make them easier to understand, while power collection costs will be scaled to the stage of the game. Base structures are being adjusted to better reflect their state of development and destruction, and population counts are being increased as well. “This is just a subset of the high level changes we are making, based on all of your great feedback,” Ayoub said. 

Ayoub promised that Halo Wars 2 will be publicly playable at events like Gamescom and PAX West, although he warned that not all of the changes listed in his post will necessarily be visible in those builds. But he also delivered some not-entirely-happy news for PC gamers waiting to get their hands on it: While 343 has previously said that the PC beta will take place “closer to launch,” Ayoub clarified that it won't happen until sometime in early 2017. 

"We will react to [the PC beta], we'll absolutely be able to react to it, we've got  lots of good tuning tools that let us react to feedback quickly," Ayoub said in June as the Xbox One beta got underway, and I hope he wasn't kidding: Halo Wars 2 is set for release on February 21, 2017.

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.