In what many would call an inevitability, Microsoft's heavily-hyped FPS Halo 3 has been leaked onto the internet.
According to a post on GamesIndustry.biz, the 6.14 gigabyte archive was uploaded within the past 24 hours, and has since spread across multiple file-sharing sites. The game has been hacked to run on modded Xbox 360 systems.
The hacked release is the latest misstep in the ongoing Halo 3 release drama. The official Halo 3 street date, scheduled for September 25, was first reported broken over a week prior to that date by Norwegian games retailer Expert, and then again on September 19 by U.K. seller Argos. While both instances of early release were contained early, the game-ending cinematic was also posted on YouTube earlier this week, prompting warnings away from the service to gamers who wanted to remain spoiler-free.
Microsoft announced yesterday that it would not be taking action against Argos over pre-release date sales of the game, citing it as "an honest and genuine mistake," but there are expectations that Microsoft will not be so generous in its attempts to locate and deal with the source of the leak. Sales of Halo 3 are not expected to be noticeably impacted by the leak; the critically-acclaimed Halo series ranks among the best-selling games of all time, with Halo 2 selling 2.4 million copies within the first 24 hours of its release despite also being leaked online.