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Could you lead the Spartans in real life? See others try and fail in Halo Wars 2 event

The command centre

Xbox and the people behind Halo Wars 2 brought the pressure of a high-stakes RTS to life to celebrate the game’s beta launch this week. Without knowing what lay ahead, guests were led into a Halo-themed command centre, where live actors supposedly reporting from the field shouted at them a lot.

For more high stakes and heart problems, sample our list of the best strategy games on PC.

Guests included journalists and YouTubers, who were presented with a series of engagements in Halo Wars 2. Actors playing UNSC field commanders gave a choice of battle plans, challenging guests to choose the best option against the clock. Hesitating or screwing up led to lots of dead troops, and a chance for the actor to give their best ‘killed by aliens’ scream.

The action wasn’t confined to the field: the command centre itself came under attack if the guest didn’t do well enough, with debris falling from the ceiling and sparks bursting from the consoles. Some would-be commanders even let the enemy get right to their door: Eurogamer’s Chris Bratt has to be given a gun and told to defend himself (though he claims he was stitched up in the comments).

Halo Wars 2 is out on February 21.