Ubisoft have announced that their new real-time strategy game R.U.S.E. will enter a public beta testing phase starting on Tuesday, March 9.

The game features a typical overhead view, allowing players to direct tanks, planes, and troops in various military skirmishes.

The beta test will enable the games developers, Eugen Systems, to tweak various aspects of the final product, as well as allow an inquisitive public a preview as the game inches closer to an expected May or June release on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

R.U.S.E.'s distinctive aspects are the vast landscapes spread out before each players, controls which Ubisoft say will appeal to both newcomers and veterans of the genre, and the extensive use of subterfuge and trickery to fool opponents into making fatal errors of judgement.

That particular mix of provocative deception and military strategy could be an emerging trend for video gaming.

Though as far back as 1991 there were games like Sid Meier's Civilization and Sensible Software's Mega-Lo-Mania that were giving strategy buffs the chance to make and break alliances, it was just last year that critics' attention was caught by a wholly different way of fleshing out the treachery latent in such mechanics.

Solium Infernum became an underground hit of 2009, with its simultaneous turn-based game whose very purpose was to allow friends to frustrate and double-cross each other to their hearts' content (or disgust).

Whether R.U.S.E. is successfully channelling the spirit of these titles, or even the devious board game 'Diplomacy' (and to a lesser extent, 'Risk'), is something that inquisitive PC owners will be able to find out for themselves on March 9.

When that time comes, R.U.S.E. will be made available as a public beta via the Steam Network.