Video game enthusiasts everywhere are counting the days till November 6th, the realease date for Microsoft’s highly anticipated Halo 4. Some, however, aren’t so content to be in the dark with everyone else. Large chunks of spoiler-friendly gameplay videos, of both the single-player and multiplayer campaigns, as well as the ending, have started popping up on YouTube. Halo 4‘s creative director John Holme took to Twitter to plead with gamers to avoid such spoilers and leaks.
Leaks? That’s right. The game itself was uploaded to several torrent sites, not known for backing capitalism or fair play, which made it available to XBOX Live users. While it’s probably impossible for authorities to remove the downloads from people directly, GamesRadar reports that Microsoft’s Live team has done the next most damning thing: permanently banning all users who played the illegal version of the game. And it’s by email, which states “Your XBox Live privileges will not be reinstated,” so the players don’t even get the pleasure of whining curses to a voice recording.
Though the leaks won’t actually affect the game’s marketing campaign or release date, investigations are currently ongoing at both Microsoft and the game’s developer, 343 Industries. Both are working closely with investigators on a case-by-case basis to find the initial source for the leak. One streaming user’s post claimed his father was a 343 Industries employee, but nothing has been substantiated.
Perhaps the only poetic aspect about this particular act of piracy came from Halo franchise director Frank O’Connor, when asked about the situation. When asked for comment at the New York Comic Con last week, he shrugged and told Polygon, “This is how surprised I am by this.” It’s probably more healthy than screaming up and down the halls about it, though if someone compromised something I’d worked on the previous three years of my life, I might not be so blasé about the whole thing.