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Halo 3 has reached one million pre-orders in North America alone, making it the fastest selling pre-ordered game in history. Over a month before it's set to hit shelves, the eagerly-awaited title has set a new precedent for the video games market, according to Microsoft.

"What we've experienced is nothing short of phenomenal," said Bob McKenzie, senior vice president of merchandising at games retailer GameStop, in Microsoft's press release. "Halo 3 has eclipsed many previous records and will prove to be one of the must-have items of 2007."

Originally intended for a PC launch, the first Halo game went on to be the showpiece title for Microsoft's Xbox console, and the series has continued to be a keystone title on the Xbox ever since. The third Halo game from Bungie Studios is expected to hold the same key place on the Xbox 360 console.

After some minimal online and "guerrilla" marketing, Microsoft is now lining up large mainstream campaigns to push the game even further both in North America and Europe. In order to promote the game in the US Microsoft is making deals with large brands such as Burger King, 7-Eleven, and Mountain Dew.

"This September, Halo 3 will push video game entertainment into the forefront of mainstream culture," said Chris Di Cesare, Microsoft's director of creative marketing. "Teaming up with some of the world's strongest and most recognisable brands is trailblazing new paths and cementing video games as big entertainment on par with major event films, and is a testament to the excitement and anticipation intrinsically linked to Halo 3."

The game is to be released in three editions; standard, limited, and "legendary" - the extra edition coming with extras such as artwork and behind-the-scenes documentaries, and even a figure of the main character's head. Halo 3 is due on 26 September in Europe and a day earlier in the US.

© 2007 ENN

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