Halo Infinite multiplayer released early, TV series teased on Xbox 20th anniversary

Xbox celebrated turning 20 on Tuesday with a number of announcements, including the first look at an upcoming Halo TV show that will be released on streaming service Paramount Plus.

Halo Infinite's multiplayer component was also opened to the general public early, developer 343 Industries announced during the livestream.

"As a thank you to the Xbox community for 20 years of support, 343 Industries launched the free-to-play Halo Infinite Multiplayer Beta and Season 1 three weeks early, available starting now for all players on Xbox Series X (or S), Xbox One and Windows PC," Xbox says on its website.

"It will also be available via Xbox Cloud Gaming starting later today. Players can enjoy the Season 1 content including all maps, core modes, Academy features, and Battle Pass, and all of their progress carries over into the full Halo Infinite launch on December 8."

Also to mark the 20th anniversary of Microsoft's gaming brand, 70 new original Xbox and Xbox 360 titles were added to its backward compatibility library.

The teaser for the Halo TV show is very short. It shows a the heavily scarred back of a man - presumably actor Pablo Schreiber - who then dons Master Chief's iconic Mjolnir armour.

A female voice then says: "Hello, Master Chief", before the logo appears on screen to dramatic music.

Schreiber is set to portray Master Chief in the show after starring in shows including The Wire, Orange is the New Black, American Gods and The Good Wife, while the female voice in the trailer sounds a lot like the AI Cortana, voiced by Jen Taylor in the games.

The Halo TV show is just the latest in a number of live-action adaptations of the hit game series that have been in the works over the years.

For some time, Sir Peter Jackson was developing a Halo film as well as working on a game with Bungie, the original studio behind the franchise.

"That Halo project is no longer happening, it sort of collapsed when the movie didn't end up happening," Sir Peter told the now defunct Joystiq in 2009, via gamesindustry.biz.

"Microsoft has a whole strategy with the Halo property, and when the rights expired with the two studios, that sort of ended my involvement with the project.

"That fell apart because of internal politics at Fox and Universal. It had nothing to do with the budget or anything else. In fact, we hadn't even been greenlit at all at that point."

The Halo show coming to Paramount Plus was first announced in 2018 and set for release on US network Showtime.

It's set to be released next year and it's unknown how or if it'll be released in New Zealand, as Paramount Plus is not yet available here.