Halo 3 is 10 this week. Let's look back at the launch madness - from assaults to scratched discs, leaks and... Killzone 2?

10 years ago , arrived in the world. The final game in the original trilogy launched on the 25/26th of September in the US and Europe and it's safe to say MADNESS ENSUED. 

Well, a little bit of madness at least, with claims the success of the game broke Xbox Live and caused a drop in cinema attendance.  There was punching, scratching (disks) and bans to the year 9999. So with that in mind, let's take a look at some of the weirdest things that happened when the game launched. 

Halo 3 was blamed for poor cinema box office sales

October's box office numbers in 2007 were down by a not insubstantial 27% year on year, and film execs at the time put the blame squarely at Master Chief's doorstep.  

An example given at the time was Ben Stiller's new film, The Heartbreak Kid. It had a predicted $20 million opening weekend but only pulled in $14 million. "The audience on this game is the 18-to-34 demographic, similar to what you'd see in cinemas," said Mike Hickey, from media analysis firm Janco Partners.

Halo 3 broke Xbox Live

Seems to be a Bungie thing to launch a game that gets enough players to pop servers like melons (Hey Destiny). Halo 3's initial launch caused Xbox Live "minor issues" according to Microsoft at the time. That, in turn, caused problems with Xbox.com as everyone went searching for answers. 

At the time MS said the game created the "most active Xbox Live gaming day in history," with more than a million people logged on to play Halo 3 online (2007 remember). "Xbox Live and Xbox.com experienced minor issues yesterday as a result of increased activity due to the launch of Halo 3. The issues were quickly resolved and both Xbox Live and Xbox.com are now working fine," Microsoft issued in a statment at the time. 

A boy ended up in court after punching his mom for stopping him playing Halo 3

One story doing the rounds for Halo 3 was that a boy reportedly punched his mother after she stopped him playing the game, and later end up in court. Ten years ago the media were still big on the whole 'games are evil thing' so it got covered a lot (although the story's since been taken down). 

According to the details at the time, the boy was playing late and refused to listen to his parents requests to turn it off. They then took Halo 3 away, at which point he had a meltdown and, while trying to find where the game had been hidden, punched his mother. 

The police were called, by which time he'd sealed himself in his room and just shouted abuse through the door. When he was finally arrested and taken to juvenile authorities he'd added battery to law-enforcement officer charges to the domestic violence one.

The Halo 3 special edition scratched and ruined the discs

Not long after Halo 3's special editions started going out complaints appeared. Apparently the disc was getting lose and being scratched by the metal tin meant to protect it. 

Here's a picture from the story GamesRadar ran at the time

Microsoft 'fessed up almost immediately because with a game as big as Halo 3 was at the time you can't put your fingers in your ears and hope it goes away. The solution was to download and fill out a form to get a replacement with a minimum wait of two weeks. Happy launch day. o_O

The BBC ran a story about Halo 3 using [hisses through teeth] Killzone 2 footage

Oh God. It's probably the worst combination possible given just how rabid the fanboy wars were ten years ago. Not only did the BBC run an awkward 'how do you do fellow kids' style news piece on Halo 3, but they did so using an impossible to miss chunk of a Killzone 2 cutscene. 

Just... so, ouch. 

Halo 3 was both sold and leaked early, and some kids got Xbox Live bans that last until the year 9999

With a game as big as Halo 3 leaks and slip ups weren't a huge surprise, but seeing UK retailer Argos break the rules was. On top of the street date being broken by the store equivalent of your aunty, a leaked and incomplete version of the game, codenamed Epsilon, also escaped. 

Two gamers with the Gamertags 'SCAR' and 'dak is back' became especially famous after being caught playing Epsilon while connected to Xbox Live. As a result they subsequently had their Live accounts banned to the year 9999 (which, I'm guessing, is as high as the 360 could count as far as years go).

Leon Hurley
Managing editor for guides

I'm GamesRadar's Managing Editor for guides, which means I run GamesRadar's guides and tips content. I also write reviews, previews and features, largely about horror, action adventure, FPS and open world games. I previously worked on Kotaku, and the Official PlayStation Magazine and website.