If you happen to be apart of Microsoft‘s Xbox Live Preview Program for the new dashboard launching this holiday, you may have noticed an added tab under the “Pre-Release” section. A picture of nothing but Mass Effect 3, and upon clicking it granted you access to a 1.8GB Private Beta. This was actually a human error on Microsoft’s part and was not intended for public release.

Since the leak, the beta has been removed and deactivated in which case Bioware has responded:

Hello everyone!

As most of you know by now, this evening an accidental leak occurred of some early Mass Effect 3 beta code. Microsoft has advised us that through human error at their end, content which was meant for internal beta testing was flagged incorrectly and released to individuals who had signed up for the beta of the Xbox Live dashboard update. It has since been taken down and deactivated.

We’d like to stress that the leaked code is in a rough, unfinished state and was not meant for public release. The content is not final, and is not reflective of the quality of the finished, polished game due for release on March 6, 2012 (March 9 in Europe).

One feature that was present in this early build is a set of game play modes that are in development. In the beta code they are referred to as “action mode”, “story mode” and “RPG mode”. We want to stress that these features are still in the early stages of development and will receive considerable iteration and refinement. These modes are designed to give players an even finer degree of control over their game experience than ever before. Whether it be someone who finds the combat difficult but wants to experience the amazing story, someone who wants to focus on the action and combat game play, or fans who want the rich, story-driven RPG Mass Effect experience they’ve come to love – Mass Effect 3 will support all of these options. We’ll have more info in the days ahead!

I was lucky enough to download the beta before it was removed. After playing some of it myself, it definitely isn’t ready for public release. I don’t care what anyone says though, seeing Anderson float in mid-air doing summersaults was cool as shit.

Mass Effect 3 launches on March 6th, 2012 for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.