Space Marine 2 public beta test is cancelled so developers can focus on 'optimization, polish and fixing remaining issues'

 Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 screenshot.
Credit: Saber Interactive

Saber Interactive has cancelled a planned public beta test for the upcoming shooter Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2, saying it wants to stay focused on "preparing for the full launch."

Registrations for a Space Marine 2 beta first opened in August 2023, but that plan was derailed by the extended delay that pushed the game from a winter 2023 launch to sometime in the second half of 2024. The December 2023 announcement of a new release date included another invitation to sign up for the test, which was meant to be playable in co-op mode. And for now, at least, you can still sign up for it on the Focus Test Zone website. You just won't actually be able to play it.

"Space Marine 2 is almost ready," the developers wrote on Steam. "We are now entirely focused on optimization, polish and fixing remaining issues ahead of launch on September 9. This means we will not run a public online beta, as it would take the development teams away from preparing for the full launch, and our priority is to ensure the best possible experience at release."

To make up for the "disappointing news," anyone who signed up for the beta prior to midnight Paris time on June 28—which has already passed, so if you're not already in I'm afraid you've missed out—will get a limited Bolt Pistol skin when Space Marine 2 goes live.

Image of a Porphyr Shield Bolt Pistol
Image of a Porphyr Shield Bolt Pistol

It's understandable that Saber and Focus would want to keep their attention on the full game rather than having to shift effort to support a beta test, but it's also understandable that some fans find the cancelation after all this time concerning. Some on Reddit and Steam are supportive of the move, but there's also an unmistakable wave of suspicion: Some think Saber and Focus Home are trying to cover up an unimpressive game ahead of launch, while others worry that the lack of public online testing will result in widespread server headaches when Space Marine 2 launches.

I'm inclined to take Saber at its word: To mix up sports metaphors, the finish line is in sight and the developers want to keep their eyes on the ball. But the worry isn't entirely unfounded. The cancellation of a planned beta test shortly ahead of launch is a rare thing, and the last time I can recall it happening with any sort of high-profile game was in 2017, when BioWare decided that a public tech test for Mass Effect: Andromeda "would not be necessary."

We won't re-litigate that whole schmozzle except to note that less than six months after Andromeda came out, Electronic Arts decided the studio that made it was also not necessary.

Interestingly, while a public playtest will not happen, a demo will be playable at various stops along the Space Marine 2 North America Tour, the next of which will be Fan Expo in Denver, Colorado, running July 4-7. Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 is set to launch in full on September 9.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 North America tour schedule
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 North America tour schedule