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Last Updated: Monday, 4 October, 2004, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK
Work on Halo 2 game 'finished'
Screenshot from Halo 2
Gamers will be able to play Halo 2 online via Xbox Live
The sequel to the best-selling Xbox Halo game is finished, say its makers.

Developers Bungie said it had handed over the code to Microsoft for final testing.

"There are still many steps between now and the game's arrival on shelves, including the not-insignificant process of actually manufacturing millions of copies of the game," said Bungie.

Halo 2 is due to go on sale on 9 November in the US and two days later in the UK.

'Done and dusted'

The original Halo: Combat Evolved won universal acclaim when it was released for the Xbox in 2001.

The first-person sci-fi shooter went on to sell more than four million copies, making it the biggest Xbox blockbuster yet.

Fansites and specialist game websites have been buzzing with rumours as the sequel nears release.

Screenshot from Halo 2
Barring any unexpected shenanigans, Halo 2 is done and dusted, simultaneously, for every region it will be released in worldwide
Bungie posting

Halo 2 has already won several game awards, even though work has only just finished on the title.

"We are basically done making Halo 2," said Bungie in a posting on its website.

"Seriously. Barring any unexpected shenanigans, Halo 2 is done and dusted, simultaneously, for every region it will be released in worldwide."

The team said the game was now in Microsoft's hands for final testing, adding this was "just a matter of routine".

This would suggest that the game is on course for its release in the US on 9 November, to be followed by a launch across Europe on 11 November.

Bungie has had a team of 55 people working on the game for at least 16 hours a day to make sure it was ready in time.

Now it seems they are planning to take a short break.

"Folks are taking off on vacation," said Bungie.

"Most people will take a week or two, some up to a month, but almost everyone will be back here in time for the game launch, to witness it first hand."

In an interview with the BBC, Bungie studio manager Pete Parsons said the team were looking to do something different after Halo.

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