Though there was little doubt it would sell well, Halo 3: ODST is now officially a hit. Microsoft told USA Today that the Master Chief-less expansion pack to the 2007 smash hit sold over 2.5 million copes in the two weeks after its September 22 launch. The company did not specify if those sales were global or just in the US, where the similarly Xbox 360-exclusive Halo 3 has sold nearly 6.3 million units. To date, some 27 million Halo games have been sold worldwide.
Microsoft did say Halo 3: ODST has generated $125 million in revenues for its Entertainment and Devices division. The game should put more wind in the financial sails of the department and its Microsoft Games Studios label, which will release Forza Motorsport 3 on October 27. During its 2008 fiscal year, the E&D division eked out a second straight profitable year, with net income of $169 million.
USA Today also got some new information on Halo: Reach, the fifth Halo game from independent studio Bungie, which broke away from Microsoft in 2007. As suspected, the game will be set before the events of the original Halo, when the alien fundamentalist empire of the Covenant launched a massive attack on the United Nations Space Command (UNSC) fortress world of Reach.
"It's a prequel to Halo one," Frank O'Connor, creative director for Microsoft Halo label 343 Industries, told the newspaper. "[It] is a chronological prequel but it is not a prequel in the directions the Star Wars prequels were to the [original] movies. It will [only] cover events in and around the planet Reach."
The aforementioned events were also the subject of the first novel based on the sci-fi shooter series, author and Gears of War co-writer Eric Nylund's Halo: The Fall of Reach. That novel chronicles both the origins of Halo series hero Master Chief and the sinister origins of the SPARTAN program, which turned him into a supersoldier.