Halo 3 arrives in the UK and Eire
In what some experts are calling the biggest consumer launch ever, Halo 3 has been unleashed upon the UK, Ireland and Europe, with a film premier-style event ushering in the new game at London's iMax cinema on the south bank.
A red carpet-style affair was on the cards, with fans of the game and the general public (in general) turning up to see a number of celebrity guests mark the game's arrival on the continent. Music producer Pharrell Williams was there, as was Hollywood's own Christian Slater. UK TV presenters and avid gamer Iain Lee hosted the evening's entertainments.
Williams played Halo 3 over Live in perhaps the evenings centre-piece event, battling Carmen Electra in Paris and LL Cool J in Amsterdam. Members of the audience then battled it out to win copies of the game for their half of the crowd - but confusion reigned and Microsoft promised a copy for everyone in order to keep spirits high.
An after-show party ensued in Soho with various names in attendance, and, inevitably, the entire editorial staff of Heat magazine, we'll wager.
Across the Irish Sea in the Irish capital Dublin, MacGyver (real name Richard Dean Anderson) was in charge of Halo 3's launch, the 80s and 90s TV star wowing audiences with his surprise attendance.
"As anticipation for the game reaches fever pitch around the globe it became clear that this was not going to be like any other game launch," explained Microsoft Ireland boss Orla Sheridan. "We are bringing Richard Dean Anderson to Ireland, which will be his first time in the country, for the launch as the characters he has played such as MacGyver are heroes and pop culture phenomenons like Master Chief.
"Both are ordinary individuals who, despite in surmountable odds, have stepped up to the challenge to come out of extraordinary situations."
The Irish debut witnessed the same kind of frenzied crowds as launch events elsewhere, as Microsoft's hype machine finally culminates in the game's release across the world - and in Europe today.