The closed beta test for The Finals (opens in new tab), a new multiplayer FPS in development at Embark Studios, is set to begin on March 7. It's a pretty big deal, because we haven't heard much about the game since it's last beta test, which took place in October 2022. If you want to get in (and if you're a shooter fan, and especially a Battlefield fan, then you definitely do), here's what you need to do.
Embark is taking sign ups for closed beta through The Finals Steam page (opens in new tab). Just click the "Request Access" button in the "Join the The Finals Playtest" box to sign up. You'll be alerted through Steam if you get in. Yeah, that's it—congratulations, you're done. While you wait for the wheels to turn on that, there's a new gameplay trailer (opens in new tab) to behold.
The Finals has been a big blip on my radar since its announcement last year, mainly due to its impressive-looking destruction tech. Embark is saying that every building, decoration, and piece of furniture can crumble into bits under the might of rocket launchers, and somehow all that mayhem is synced across every player's client. It looks really cool. So cool that I almost can't believe it's real (opens in new tab).This level of server-side destruction has never been possible in gaming (one reason why you can't level every building in Battlefield), but Embark insists it has cracked the code.
The closed beta will feature two maps, including "the skyscrapers high above the heart of downtown Seoul and old-town Monaco, on the banks of the French Riviera." Conveniently, it'll also have a practice range to let players get a feel for the guns and try out the destruction.
I actually got some hands-on time (opens in new tab) with The Finals recently, and it made a very positive impression—with a few caveats, including class balance issues and some abilities that seemed seriously overpowered. But there's still a good way to go before release—a launch date hasn't been announced yet—and if Embark can smooth out the performance and find the right gameplay balance, The Finals has the potential to be a long-term winner.
The promotional push for the closed beta suggests to me that, unlike the last technical test, players in the upcoming closed beta test won't be restricted by NDAs to talk or share about the game. Last we checked The Finals is coming out sometime in 2023 (opens in new tab), though its Steam page says it's simply "coming soon."