Microsoft and Bungie announced today that the Halo 3 Multiplayer Beta will officially start on May 16th at 1pm (GMT) and run until June 7th. This Beta will include 3 new maps (Snowbound, High Ground and Valhalla), new vehicles (Mongoose, etc.), and new weapons (improved Assult Rifle, Brute Spiker, Spartan Laser and Spike Grenades).
The maps will represent the Medium to Large scale battlefields of Halo 3 and have only been demoed for the press, so nobody has any extra play time over anybody else in an attempt to level the playing field for those truly hardcore Halo 1 and 2 players.
In order to play you will require either to have won the first contest to gain access, a valid copy of Crackdown (sticker on the package tells you this and will be made available up until May 16th), or to have qualified for the "Rule of Three" promotion that Bungie ran a few months back. But, if you either didn't qualify for any of these or just don't have Xbox Live Gold (worth the 50 a year in my opinion, but that's for a different post), you can catch a special video from Bungie at www.Bungie.net, or download a 720p version on your Xbox360 if you at least have a Silver account.
I already have my access to the game and can't wait to use it on May 16th when the demo is released. See you there!