Somebody is toying with us over at Bungie. Or at Microsoft. Or both. Just yesterday, we were being told that the first round of sign-ups for the Halo 3 beta would begin this Monday, with the actual beta testing set to take place in Spring 2007. But now it seems like some Xbox Live users are way ahead of schedule, and they may already be playing one of Bungie's multiplayer projects. Do you know of any, other than Halo 3? Well, that settles it then.

We spotted the story on 1UP, who are claiming that some Microsoft employees were also among those users spotted on Xbox Live as playing a "new" game - called "Pimps at Sea (Alpha)". Which, as any hardcore Bungie fan should know, "is the oft-used moniker for different projects the company has worked on - and was also the subject of an April Fools' joke a few years back". 1UP continues:

"When the users in question were asked about Pimps at Sea, they simply replied "What's a pimp?" Considering the (Alpha) tag after the title, it seems highly probable that this is the first phase of testing for Halo 3's multiplayer. And by highly probable, we mean totally 100% true. We didn't even need to pay Encyclopedia Brown a quarter to sit down and solve this mystery. When's our turn to play?

Sometime next year."
Well, they definitely got one thing right: "sometime next year". Unless you're a Microsoft scoundrel or a Bungie pimp, that is. In which case, we would love nothing more than to be your friend and to share with you happy moments, drinks, Halo 3 beta passwords and stuff.

lucky bads
Learnt a new word moniker.