Insurgency: Sandstorm open beta begins on December 7

The team-based tactical FPS Insurgency: Sandstorm is set to go live on December 12, and before that happens you'll have the opportunity to play it for free in an open beta that will begin on December 7 and run through the weekend. To give players an advance look at what's in store, developer New World Interactive has put up a "gameplay overview" trailer showcasing co-op and PvP game modes, environment, audio, vehicles, movement, and plans for post-release content. 

The video emphasizes Insurgency: Sandstorm's commitment to realism: Some surfaces can be penetrated by gunfire, bullets slow and drop over long ranges, and the HUD is basically non-existent. "Insurgency is all about immersion," the narrator says. "We keep our HUD very minimal. There's no kill feed, hit markers, or anything that might distract from the action in front of you. The only way to confirm a kill in Sandstorm is to watch the body drop." 

New World Interactive is currently working on a "massive update" that will go live when the beta begins; the studio said it will be "a big content upgrade on the current closed beta offering," including "the full map pool, character improvements including new voice lines, an optimization pass, and much more." 

It did not say, however, whether it will address the AI shortcomings we talked about in September preview

"When it comes to combat, Sandstorm delivers that trademark Insurgency brutality with gusto, even in beta. The Insurgency series has always leaned towards realism where it could, and that continues here," we wrote at the time. 

"Unfortunately, the AI is going to need a significant amount of work as well. There are moments where it can seem clever: planning an ambush or lying in wait in dark corners for unsuspecting players. At other times, an enemy might spin 180 degrees to pick players off across the map, or become so focused on one player that they completely ignore others and expose themselves for an easy kill." 

If you just can't wait until Friday to start shooting at people, immediate access to the ongoing closed beta can be had by preordering the game on Steam. It's currently available for ten percent off the regular $30 price, with another ten percent cut for owners of the original Insurgency. 

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.