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Halo 5's three-week beta to show off endless sprinting, 'smart scope' for all weapons

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The three-week beta for Halo 5: Guardians' multiplayer kicks off Dec. 29 and will feature three gameplay modes, seven maps and an array of new moves for the Spartans, according to the game's developers.

More importantly, the beta, which is accessible to those who purchased Halo: The Master Chief Collection, will give gamers their first chance to get their hands on some big changes coming to the franchise.

During a briefing last week, a group of developers walked gathered press through the upcoming game's "Spartan Mobility." The Spartans of Halo 5's multiplayer will be able to clamber up ledges, hover in mid-air to get off a shot and drop to a power slide during a run.

Here's a rundown of those new abilities:

Clamber: Players can climb up nearby ledges by pressing the A button.

Thruster Pack: An integrated thruster pack in the Spartan armor allows players to burst a short distance by pressing the B button and using the left stick to direct the movement.

Ground Pound: By using the thruster pack to launch down toward the ground from an elevated position, players can execute a ground pound and cause damage to nearby enemies.

Stabilizer: By pressing the left trigger while in the air, players can hover for a second to get off a shot before dropping.

Spartan Charge: Players can use the thruster pack to charge into an enemy, dealing damage with a shoulder bash.

Slide: After reaching top sprinting speed, the aiming reticule changes, letting players know they can click the right thumbstick to go into a slide.

The game also brings with it a couple of other key changes. Players will now be able to enter a smart scope mode for any weapon.

"This goes back to the Spartans having all sorts of technology," said Quinn DelHoyo, the game's multiplayer designer. "By pressing the left trigger you can pull up the smart scope mode. The helmet links with the weapon and creates an augmented reality HUD system that lets you fine-tune your aiming."

Halo 5 multiplayer beta empire

In action, the smart scope looks a lot like aiming down the sights of a futuristic weapon, but DelHoyo was quick to point out that players can still fire from the hip without any sort of penalty.

A Spartan's movement is not inhibited while in smart scope mode, but if a player is shot they will immediately drop out of smart scope, essentially descoping.

"When I take damage that link is severed," he said.

Another big addition coming to the game is the ability to endlessly sprint.

"The Spartans are massive hulks that are super fast and agile and we wanted to put that into our game," DelHoyo said. "So Spartans now have infinite sprint. You can sprint anywhere you go."

But, he added, the team realizes that the ability to constantly run could easily throw the game out of balance, so they worked in a trade-off.

"We didn't want them running around without a trade-off," he said. "If I'm sprinting infinitely my shields will not recharge. If I want them to come back, I need to stop sprinting."

The beta, which will run at 60 frames per a second at a 720p resolution and be on dedicated servers on Xbox Live, will also include an experience-based progression system that will allow players to rank up and unlock new helmets, body armor and other stuff.

"The cool thing is if you watch Halo: Nightfall, you can get specific unlocks," DelHoyo said. "And they will all carry over to the full game when it comes out."

Chris Lee, the game's director of production, described the upcoming beta for Halo 5 as a true beta.

"This is the earliest we have had a beta," he said. "It's really a work in progress.

"We want to collect a ton of feedback and make sure we're building the best multipalyer."

Make sure you check out all of our Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta coverage, from the screens to the interviews to the videos, right here.