Halo 2 Leak Prompts Bungie To Action

The big news last week was of a supposed leak of Bungie and Microsoft’s cash cow for the holiday season, Halo 2 for the Xbox. According to a press release, a French version of the sequel was found on several newsgroups and through file sharing applications.

The long awaited shooter isn’t due out until November 9th in the US, 10th and 11th worldwide, but that somehow didn’t stop the PAL encoded (eurpean video standard) from making its way to the internet. Those who snagged the files, had an apporpriate DVD burner and a modified Xbox were able to play the game in it’s entirety, without online support. Screenshots subsequently made their way to message boards and websites.

Microsoft is doing everything in their legal power to track down the theives, likely someone on the inside with access to the discs as they began to print. Bungie on the other hand has taken additional steps, not simply to catch those responsible, but to punish anyone on their message boards who merely mention the leak. A post by an administrator on 10/14 reads:

“…expect harsh reprimand for the posting of leaked information. A link or offer to give out a link via private media on the forums will get you banned permanently. The same goes for any kind of leak-related spoiler information. Further, you risk having your XBox Live account’s ability to play Halo 2 crippled as we can and will ban gamertags from access to vital parts of Halo 2’s online experience. We are NOT kidding around here. There will be no warning, no appeal, you’ll just be gone…”

We tried to coonfirm whether or not this was a decision by Microsoft or Bungie to officially deal with those who bothered to mention such an atrosity. Further, they vow in the post to remove any discussions about the leak immediately. Messages to the moderator Shishka were returned with hesitant replies. Though the post remains intact, Shiska had this to say to our questions of policy:

It’s fine to reiterate what I said, but please keep in mind that I spoke as a moderator of a forum, and I do not represent Microsoft as a whole.

He suggested I send my questions to another board member, only known as Achronos who went on to say that the only official statement from either company was posted on their front page at www.bungie.net, which mentions nothing of punishing people for talking about the leak.

We here at Media Geeks do not condone piracy, especially of a game we have looked forward to for 2 years now, however the threats and scare tactics Bungie is using on their boards seem unfair to the otherwise innocent. Based on the answers we can’t help but suspect a cover-up attempt, out of sight:out of mind on behalf of Bungie and MS. We hope we haven’t made enemies with one of the great video game developers of all time, but the last message we received from Bungie was this from Achronos:

“The official response is still the same – see the front page of bungie.net. With regards to Shishka’s threat for specific violations of forum rules, Shishka is forum moderator and does not speak for Bungie or Microsoft directly (as he correctly stated). However, we treat all rule violations in our forum very seriously, and have a wide range of punishments we can administer to the offenders. Shishka was describing one possible consequence.

Aside from that, we don’t really have anything else to say on the matter.”

Ouch.

Christopher Kirkman

Christopher is an old school nerd: designer, animator, code monkey, writer, gamer and Star Wars geek. As owner and Editor-In-Chief of Media Geeks, he takes playing games and watching movies very seriously. You know, in between naps.

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