On what is just a week after the one year anniversary of the , it's come to light today that a pirated version of Halo 2 is already doing the rounds on an assortment of Usenet newsgroups and peer-to-peer networks.
The pirated code is reported to be a complete French language version of the PAL game, which isn't scheduled to be released until 11 November.
We've yet to receive confirmation of where the pirated copy of the game has emerged from and Microsoft were unavailable for comment at the time of writing. The leak comes just a matter of days after developers Bungie confirmed that they had finished coding the game.
Microsoft have just released this official statement on the Halo 2 leak:
"Microsoft has learned that a version of Halo 2 has been posted to various newsgroups and web sites. We consider downloading this code or making it available for others to download as theft.
"We are currently investigating the source of this leak with the appropriate authorities. Pending the result of our investigation, we do not have further comment. Microsoft takes the integrity of its intellectual property extremely seriously and we are aggressively pursuing the source of this illegal act.
"The launch of Halo 2 worldwide remains unaffected.
"We're asking anyone with information on the source of this leak to contact Microsoft at 1-800-RULEGIT or send email to ."
Halo 2 will officially be released in the UK on 11 November