Source: Game Informer Online via unnamed, untraceable sources.
What we heard: Current and future Xbox 360 owners are eagerly awaiting any news coming out of the Halo 3 camp. Guarded by a steel curtain info embargo, details on the game are as scarce as unhumped corpses in multiplayer sessions of Halo 2.
What Halo fans do know is that the game is currently scheduled to come out sometime in 2007--hardly specific enough for the series' rabid fan base. However, that release window may have been narrowed slightly if a report from Game Informer Online is correct.
The Web site states that "sources" have tipped it off about a Halo 3 demo and that it will be released "in the first half of 2007." And that's really the nuts and bolts of the rumor...just some hearsay.
Gaming Business 101 states that demos for games should be released near the game's retail release for maximum effect. So does that mean the retail version of Halo 3 will arrive in the first half of 2007? That bit of information remains up in the air.
Shortly after the game's announcement at E3 2006, Bungie admitted that the game was already playable and had "surprisingly polished looking graphics." In fact, the trailer for the game was running on the game's actual engine in real time. All aspects of the game are undergoing testing now, and Bungie has even shown off early builds of the game to some print publications.
On the other hand, Halo: Combat Evolved for the Xbox was released in November 2001, followed by the oft-delayed Halo 2 in November 2004. Using this life cycle of three years per Halo chapter puts Halo 3 squarely in the November 2007 range, and that doesn't account for any additional development time due to next-gen technology and new hardware. Plus, as anyone who waited anxiously for Halo 2 can tell you, delays are becoming the norm in game development these days.
Unfortunately, in terms of a release date, that leaves Halo fans back at square one. While progress on the game is looking good, Bungie has a reputation for being a perfectionist and will likely release the game--all together now--"when it's ready."
The official story: Microsoft rep--"Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation."
Bogus or not bogus?: Too early to call.