Pirate hunt! Microsoft "aggressively investigating" Halo: Reach pirates

Microsoft is officially on the offensive after last week'sHalo: Reach breach. In a statement issued today, Microsoft made clear its intention to track down the hackers behind the leak, saying: "We are aware of claims that a pre-release build of Reach has leaked and aggressively investigating it, but have no details to share at this time." Which, loosely translated, means Microsoft has details but doesn’t want to tell us about it until its lawdogs are tea-bagging the pirates so badly they get acne.

Microsoft's response follows the recent pirating of its highly-anticipated shooter shortly after it was uploaded in secret to XBLA for early reviewers. Although security measures were taken and a price tag of 99,999 Microsoft Points was added as an extra deterrent, this turned out to be no match for the modders at GameTut, who quickly made off with a copy for themselves and proceeded to wax poetic about their adventure in subsequent site postings.

"So after a lot of .xex [XBOX 360 files] cracking etc., [m]e and my team finally did it, we got Halo: Reach!” announced GameTut moderator Joakim, adding: "This is not released for public, and we are not really planning on releasing either."

Not to be outdone, forum moderator Toxic soon backed up the site's claim, proclaiming: "We now pronounce this to you: the team of Game-Tuts have acquired Reach.” Following the virtual high-fives, he added: “The words among the team came to agreement that 'Halo: Reach' will NOT be leaked, given, or distributed to any site."

Above: Microsoft demonstrates its negotiation strategy

Releasing one of year's most highly anticipated XBOX 360 titles early – in any form - on the XBLA may not have been Microsoft's smartest move, but posting brags about its capture for all the world to see is far worse.

GameTut take note: The hounds have been released. Your very BEST hope now is that you were actually making the whole thing up – that’ll only cost you your reputation.

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Matt Bradford wrote news and features here at GamesRadar+ until 2016. Since then he's gone on to work with the Guinness World Records, acting as writer and researcher for the annual Gamer's Edition series of books, and has worked as an editor, technical writer, and voice actor. Matt is now a freelance journalist and editor, generating copy across a multitude of industries.