Microsoft and FASA Studios are set to run a public beta test for Shadowrun, starting in mid December and concluding in March.
Reports suggest it's focused on the Xbox 360 version, and that the beta will require you to own a premium console with a hard disk and an Xbox Live Gold account (that said, the sign-up page itself claims that it's also for high end PCs running Windows Vista).
Unlike next spring's Halo 3 beta though, this one requires you to jump through a few hoops - you need to fill out an application, enter some codes and sign up for a forum, and FASA says it's looking primarily for people with enough time to play regularly and a "willingness to communicate" on the forum. So make sure you fill out all those boxes, eh?
Helpfully Major Nelson's on hand to walk you through the sign-up procedure on connect.microsoft.com, although beware that I was only able to get it to work in Internet Explorer. Might just be me though - I can barly==ely use a computer properly.
The full version of Shadowrun, of course, is due out next year, and will be one of the first games to feature "Live Anywhere" programming that enables first-person shooting PC players to battle against third-person thwacking 360 owners. It'll be interesting to see how that works, and hopefully the beta will give us a better sense of what's going on. Let us know if you manage to get in.