Blockbuster videogame "Halo" on Tuesday took on new life with the release of a sequel so hotly anticipated that launch day revenue was expected to eclipse anything seen in the industry this year.
Hundreds of thousands of fans queued outside shops in more than 40 countries where "Halo 4" went on sale the moment Tuesday arrived.
Marquee events that featured game makers, private screenings of a live-action show based on the title, and chances to meet people who helped create "Halo 4" took place in Paris, London, Berlin, Hong Kong, Sydney and other major cities.
"Halo 4 marks a rebirth and a new beginning for one of the most beloved and iconic franchises in the modern history of entertainment," said Microsoft Studios vice president Phil Spencer.
"Over the past decade, the Halo franchise has become a bona fide pop culture phenomenon."
Halo 4 was billed as the first chapter in a new saga building on the original Halo trilogy that has sold a "staggering" 46 million games worldwide and racked up $3 billion in sales.
Halo 4 was developed by Microsoft Studios 343 Industries exclusively for play on the Washington State-based technology company's Xbox 360 consoles and picks up the story of hero "Master Chief" five years after the end of Halo 3.
Since the title launched on the same day as the US presidential election, Microsoft began a get-out-the-vote campaign earlier this year to encourage gamers to "exercise their civic duty before jumping into Halo 4."
Spencer predicted that "Halo 4" help make 2012 the most successful year in Xbox history.
The science fiction shooter videogame features the return of Master Chief to confront "an ancient evil that threatens the entire universe."
A "Halo: Reach" videogame for the Xbox 360 console notched up 200 million dollars in sales in the United States and Europe on the first day of its release in September 2010.
"Halo: Reach" is a prequel set before the main "Halo" trilogy, which focuses on a super-soldier called "Master Chief" and his artificial-intelligence companion battling to save humanity from an alien alliance called the Covenant.
The first title, "Halo: Combat Evolved," was released in 2001 and the franchise has attracted a cult following and inspired novels, action figures, comic books and clothing.
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