Microsoft Game Studios today announced that pre-orders for the forthcoming Xbox heavy hitter Halo 2 have now stretched beyond 1 and a half million in what is a new record for any game, and that doesn't even include pre-orders from the other 26 countries the game will be released in, spanning a worldwide release scheduled for November 9th - 11th.

Indeed, total sales of the game will pull in more opening day revenue than movies such as Spiderman 2, Harry Potter and The Matrix Reloaded. Microsoft's Peter Moore talked up the scale of the launch; "Halo 2' is expected to be the biggest 24 hours for a video game title in retail history and is projected to bring in more revenue than any day one box office blockbuster movie in the United States... We call it the Halo 2 effect. We've even heard rumors of fan anticipation of the 'Halo 2 flu' on November 9".

Fans are expected to queue up in anticipation for the launch and purveyors of all things toys, Toys 'R' Us, will be holding a special midnight opening at their largest store, located at Times Square in New York where they claim they will be selling the first retail copy of the game to one lucky fan.

Halo 2 is the sequel to hugely successful Xbox launch title Halo, developed by Bungie Studios, itself no stranger to commercial success having grossed over 5 million sales since launch. Anticipation for the sequel has been high since originally announced and the Bungie marketing machine has maintained the excitement over the past few months with inventive marketing campaigns, such as the 'I Love Bees' alternative reality game.

Not that they really needed to - the voracity of the Halo fanbase was proven after the community backlash against the recent Halo 2 leak. Indeed, the theft of the French localised version of the game last week has had seemingly no effect on sales.

Halo 2 will be released in the UK and the rest of Europe on November 11th.