In disappointing, but not really surprising news, Halo 4 has been leaked, nearly a month away from its November 6th release date. We don’t just mean a code leak, either – gamers are reporting finding fully-polished, printed disc copies in the wild, although nobody’s admitting quite where.
With similar leaks affecting Halo 3 and Halo: Reach, developer 343 Industries is reportedly “unfazed” by the apparent theft and subsequent piracy of the game, but Microsoft is still working with law enforcement agencies to investigate the situation.
One interesting thing to have come out of the leak is that Halo 4 is a two-disc affair, where Disc One is the game, and Disc Two contains multiplayer components which can be installed separately (either to the X360 harddrive or to a separate flash drive).
While images purporting to be from the game have started popping up online, and spoiler-filled videos swamping YouTube (including near-complete playthroughs in instalments), Josh Holmes, Creative Director of 343 Industries has posted a personal message to gamers via his Twitter:
I’ve worked for over 3 years making Halo 4. Please avoid spoilers and leaks from thieves for 3 more weeks until the game is out. Thank you.
…the post has already seen more than a thousand retweets, and comments from other game developers, including several who worked on Mass Effect 3 who faced the same situation. (For more from Holmes on Halo 4, check out our recent video interview from EB Games Expo 2012!)
Microsoft is hardly sitting back and relaxing while all of this is going on: Gamers are already reporting permanent bans from Xbox Live for “prerelease title play”, after downloading and playing Halo 4 while logged in.
While we’re sure we don’t have to tell you that game piracy is bad, and that downloading games before release is bad, and that leaking games that aren’t officially available yet is bad, we do have one piece of advice for fans of Halo 4 over the next few weeks. Be very, very careful when hanging out in online forums, social networks, websites, or anywhere that public comments may be posted. You never know which click might lead you to the ending of the story we’ve been waiting so long to see.