Music is a major aspect of the highly anticipated Xbox game "Halo 2," due Nov. 9 at U.S. retail outlets. Beyond Incubus' exclusive four-movement suite, "The Odyssey," the game and companion soundtrack

Music is a major aspect of the highly anticipated Xbox game "Halo 2," due Nov. 9 at U.S. retail outlets. Beyond Incubus' exclusive four-movement suite, "The Odyssey," the game and companion soundtrack album feature a new Breaking Benjamin track, "Blow Me Away," and Hoobastank's "Connected."

The bulk of the "Halo 2" soundtrack features new symphonic compositions by Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori. The pair penned the original "Halo: Combat Evolved" soundtrack, which has sold about 40,000 copies, according to Nile Rodgers, who assembled the music for the new game via his company Sumthing Else Music Works.

Rodgers produced the album; he also wrote, performed and co-produced the track "Never Surrender" in collaboration with songwriter/remixer Nataraj. "It's a mash-up mix of the 'Halo' theme," he says. This exclusive cut and a new version of Halo theme "Mjolnir Mix" feature guitar work by Steve Vai.

"'Halo' is the only videogame that ever inspired us to write a whole suite," Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger tells Billboard. "Now if we could only stop playing 'Halo,' we might actually be able to write another one." One-fourth of "The Odyssey," a segment titled "Follow," will be included on Incubus' upcoming DVD, "Alive at Red Rocks," due Nov. 23 via Epic.

Ben Burnley of Breaking Benjamin says "Halo" is his "favorite all-time game" and that the band plays it "all the time" while on tour. "It's like a dream being able to contribute music to the game and soundtrack," he adds.

"These players each have the unique ability to improvise and embellish Martin's ideas," Rodgers says. "Therefore we are all connected, hence the original composition provided by Hoobastank.

"We've been working on the 'Halo 2' music for more than a year," he continues, "and as the release date got pushed back, we had to rethink the musical concept to reach out to different artists."

As of last week, "Halo 2" game pre-orders had set an industry record of more than 1.5 million, and they could ultimately top 2 million, according to Peter Moore, corporate VP of worldwide publishing and marketing for Xbox.