We may have thought that Halo had already missed its chance at moving from the realm of video game into that of live-action storytelling. But at today’s announcement of Microsoft’s next console, the Xbox One, that all changed.
In addition to the games and cross-media integration detailed, Microsoft took the opportunity to capitalize on the success of the live-action – and completely free – Web series Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn by announcing a new live-action Halo television series, created in partnership with developer 343 Industries and Steven Spielberg himself.
Details on the plot, setting, or delivery platform of the series were not given, beyond the claims that the “premium” series would be exclusive to the Xbox One, and developed in partnership with Dreamworks. We had known for some time that Dreamworks was working on reviving the stalled Halo film, but now it appears that the two companies have come up with a new, less-costly solution.
Spielberg briefly commented on the new deal and TV series, and while his level of involvement in the project isn’t clear, his words do offer support to those hoping to see more video game films in the near future:
“I wish I could be there with you today in person, but like all of you here today I’ve been playing games for decades. I even started playing Pong in 1974. And over the years that experience has exploded from the simple pixels of Pong to worlds that are as immersive as, and certainly more physically interactive than those portrayed on the silver screen. And those stories have gotten more compelling as technology has certainly improved.
“So for me, the Halo universe is an amazing opportunity to be at that intersection where technology and myth-making meet, to produce something really groundbreaking. I’m incredibly excited about the great journey we are all on, the heroes, worlds, and wonders that Halo will take us on.”
Spielberg’s enthusiasm for video games in general, and Halo in particular has been well-documented, so seeing his name attached to such an announcement is not surprising. And if you’ve been following our coverage of Halo’s cross-media development, this isn’t a shock either. We already went into great detail on how the Forward Unto Dawn web series could resurrect the live-action potential of the brand, although what ties the coming series will share with that prequel story remain to be seen.
It’s unclear if the show will be exclusive to Xbox owners, or will simply be released on the console before being made available to the general public. However, the use of the term “premium” does imply that customers will be expected to pay, either on a per-episode, or more likely, per-season basis. Microsoft had claimed in the past that they would only move forward with a live-action Halo project “when the time was right,” and the launch of a new console seems to be the opportunity they’ve been waiting for.
If the series is going to be used to sell consoles, the chances of seeing the show elsewhere – beyond a later home video release – seems less likely. With the Xbox One expected to release this holiday season, expect plenty more information to be released before the TV series gets into production.
We’ll keep you updated as more details on the Halo TV series are released. For all the details on the new Xbox One, be sure to head over to Game Rant.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.