Halo 2: Explosive new screenshots revealed

The killer moment of this year's E3 will be different for many people but all would agree that the Halo 2 multiplayer demo was a jaw-dropping revelation of gaming greatness. We have the two latest screens of the multiplayer in action and some morsels of info direct from developers Bungie.

If you haven't seen the demo of , do so now via the link - it truly is spectacular. Not only will you be treated to what will probably become the finest console multiplayer experience ever but it will also contextualise the developer's comments below.

In his weekly update on Bungie's official website, content manager Frank O'Connor enthuses about the reception the multiplayer received at E3: "The game is going to have all the stuff you'd expect. It'll support voice communication, you can even leave voice messages when you're trying to set up a game. You can form clans - your can customise emblems - sharp-eyed gamers might have noticed a Spartan supporting a Ninja on Fire emblem, a blue metal suit, with yellow secondary colours. Being able to customise your player is kind of awesome. Naturally, Covenant Elites can do the same thing."

While noting that the "multiplayer battles looked vastly improved thanks to the new animation", O'Connor reveals that the multiplayer engine "actually has a lot of improvements to be implemented post-E3". To which we respond - gulp!

While system linking is cool but often impractical, Bungie aren't forgetting fans of that form of multiplay, with O'Connor stating, "Although the demo stations [at E3] were set up for ten players - the game actually supports 16 - it supports 16 players for system link too. Finally! Everyone gets his or her own screen, one way or another."

Having played six-player system-linked battles in the original Halo, the thought of 16 gamers in the same room playing on the incredible Halo 2 multiplayer engine is a prospect that we can barely wait for...

Halo 2 will be released for Xbox on 9 November