Play Halo 3 this spring

When it comes to Halo 3, we don't want to tease you. Bungie and Microsoft do enough of that on their own and, rest assured, it hurts us as much as it hurts you. So, before we keep you lingering any longer, here's what we know.

You will be playing the next Halo on Xbox 360 this spring - as in, quite possibly only a few months from right this damn second. Know what else? All your friends can join you, as the first playable experience of Halo 3 will be a multiplayer beta open to the public over Xbox Live. Need one more thing to send you over the edge? It truly is a beta, meaning gamers' feedback could affect the final product.

If you're not excited yet, why'd you click on an article titled "Halo 3" to begin with?

Above: Per Bungie'swebsite, "This is an actual screenshot taken from the actual game within an actual campaign level of Halo 3."

Proving he knows his audience, Microsoft VP of Global Marketing Jeff Bell commented, "TheHalo Nation has a nearly insatiable desire. We hope a taste of advanceHalo 3 gameplay satisfies some of their appetite as we count down to the game's launch later in 2007."

We suspect that when Mr. Bell says "satisfies," the word he is actually searching and hoping for is "whets." Why else would Microsoft also promise a new teaser, but only make it 60 seconds, a full minute shorter than the original E3 trailer? Well, if you care to further excruciate your wait, it will air during Monday Night Football on December 4 and be available for 360 users to download through Xbox Live shortly afterwards.

The final bit of news unleashed today regarded Halo 2, with the announcement that new multiplayer maps will also be offered to Xbox 360 owners over the Live Marketplace. No word yet on how many and how much they will cost. But the real question is: will you still care about Halo 2 when you can play Halo 3?

UPDATED- For more information straight from the Halo gods themselves, Bungie, please check out page two of our coverage by clicking "Next" below.