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Halo Wars 2 is out February 2017, beta goes live today

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Halo Wars 2 will be released on February 21st next year, Microsoft announced at its E3 press conference today, and will be set immediately after the events of Halo 5. The sequel to 2007's Halo Wars, Halo Wars 2 offers a different take on the series' traditional first-person combat, giving players an aerial view to control human and alien forces in real-time strategy battles. A new trailer showed the forces of humanity fighting against "the Banished," a new race of aliens led by a brilliant general who looks quite a look like an angry monkey.

The game's being developed by Halo head studio 343 Industries, but is being put together with help from The Creative Assembly, the British studio behind the Total War PC games — giving it some serious strategy chops. Halo Wars 2 is still almost a year away, but as leaked earlier this week, players will be able to get a taste of its combat very soon. Developer 343 Studios is running an eight-day-long Halo Wars 2 beta that goes live right after Microsoft's keynote closes, the 13GB download letting Xbox One owners try the game's multiplayer with up to six players. When the game does go on sale in 2017, a premium edition will come with a remastered version of the original Halo Wars, continuing Microsoft's trend of prettying up their old Halos.