It’s been a little more than two weeks since Bungie and Microsoft launched Halo 3: ODST. To repay their generosity, gamers have snapped up over 2 and a half million copies.

This should come as no surprise to anyone with a pulse and half an eye on pop culture. The Halo series has become a cultural icon on par with Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Grand Theft Auto and even George Lucas’ Star Wars, to the extent that even entries originally planned as expansion packs and later rejiggered in an effort to gouge fans for cash can move obscene numbers of units with little effort (and an ad campaign that seems to say “you’re going to buy the game anyway, so we aren’t even going to try”).

As if to drive the point home, USA Today compiled a list of all the upcoming spin-offs, sequels and tie-ins the series has coming to it. I knew of all of the entries somewhere in the back of my mind, but to see them actually listed in one article nearly left me stunned at the sheer audacity Microsoft exhibits by pushing its biggest brand this hard.

If Halo was a racehorse, I’d expect its heart to explode any moment now.

Even true Halo junkies will be stunned to see that the Master Chief and friends have 9 upcoming products in the pipeline, including an as yet unnamed, new book trilogy by Greg Bear, a line of action figures from noted spiderweb doodler Todd McFarlane and something called the “Halo Waypoint” which USA Today describes as “a hub for Halo content, including video, audio, podcasts and screenshots.”

Yeah, that’s right, the series has so many branches that it needs its own content hub.

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