It appears that a group of online hackers has got their hands on a full version of Halo Reach far ahead of its official worldwide release on September 14th.
Microsoft recently posted a digital version of the title online for reviewers to access, and it seems as if some modders have discovered a way to download the code. For the time being the group are not really planning” to release the title publicly on internet file sharing groups.
We are aware of claims being made regarding a security exploit related to Halo: Reach and are aggressively investigating the matter,” a Microsoft statement released to IGN reads. We have no further details to share at this time.”
Developer Bungie has urged all involved not to post any plot spoilers online and even gone as far to recommended that hardcore fans of the game avoid the internet altogether if they don't wish to have the story ruined for them ahead of release.
Posting to discuss, request, or link to information or campaign spoilers from illegitimately obtained sources - including illegitimately obtained copies of Halo: Reach - before the game is officially released will be considered a leak and will be treated as such,” a message on its forum reads.
The moderation team is doing their best, but if you want to stay 100 per cent spoiler free, our best advice is to 'go dark' by staying off all internet gaming forums until you have played through the game!”
Though the news, if true, will undoubtedly be a blow to Microsoft it's unlikely that it will have any notable adverse effect on sales of the title, which is expected to be one of the best selling games of the year.
Unlike on PCs where any machine is able to play illegally downloaded code, playing pirated games on Xbox 360 requires specialist modifications to be made to the hardware, meaning only the most determined are involved in the practise.