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Why is Halo 3 beta so short?

Bungie explains.

Bungie admits that it's been pestered quite a lot recently about why the Halo 3 multiplayer beta set to launch in less than a month is just "three short weeks long".

Inevitably, it says it's down to getting the actual game ready. "The number one reason is that the longer we're spending resources taking care of the beta, the less time we're applying what we've learned from it to the final game," says web hero Frank O'Connor in this week's Bungie website update.

"And statistically, three weeks is going to seem like a pretty long time when you look at the hours you log on the game," he adds, confidently.

"The reasons you're getting three maps is similar, but has as much to do with our normal production schedule as anything else. It's easier to think of why you're not getting the rest of the maps. They're not done yet. All are geometry complete, but they're being polished and tuned for graphics and gameplay ‘til the last minute. You could say that the maps you're playing are the best balanced and most complete so far.

"But they will change slightly, maybe noticeably when the game finally ships in fall. So by all means, learn ‘em well next month, but don't get used to anything you see in there. Objects may have shifted while in flight."

We're also told to expect a full FAQ on the Bungie site when the beta goes live on 16th May, or possibly the day before.

Meanwhile, the developer has apologised to anybody who had problems getting hold of last week's Halo 2 maps. And if you're still having problems, you shouldn't for much longer, with most players able to grab them on Friday although "a few of you might have to wait until Monday". "And again, oops, our bad."

For more on Halo 2 and 3, say "8/10" in the comments and see where it gets you.