Microsoft's promotional live action Halo shorts leading up to the releases of Halo 3
and Halo Reach
left viewers asking for more, and with Halo 4 coming this year, it looks like more is what we're going to get.
Movie publication Variety is reporting
that MS is kicking things up a notch for Halo 4, promising "Forward Unto Dawn" a complete series of five episodes, each about 15 minutes long.
"Forward Unto Dawn" will play out over five weekly instalments, around 15 minutes each, telling an original story about the game's Master Chief and how he inspired a young UNSC cadet who will eventually become a leader aboard the UNSC Infinity spacecraft. Introduction of the new character will tie in with the plot of "Halo 4," while providing a flashback to the beginning of the "Halo" franchise's war between the humans and the evil Covenant.
"Every time we do a live-action commercial the audience says, "We want to see more so that we can explore the 'Halo' universe a little bit more"," said Frank O'Connor, franchise development director at 343 Industries. "Demand grew more and more out of the two little vignettes we'd previously produced."
But Microsoft had to make sure that the Web series didn't just appeal to hardcore "Halo" fans.
Playing the games and reading the books or other "Halo" spinoffs is "a big commitment", O'Connor said. "We needed a way to ensure there was a way for people to get on board this universe without feeling intimidated." As a result, the Web series is "an origins story that teaches you about a lot of different facets of the ('Halo') universe."
The episodes are expected to start airing some time in September, launching weekly on the official Halo Waypoint site and Machinima in the lead up to Halo 4's November 6th 2012 release.
It might not be the Halo movie that was announced oh so long ago, but the article goes on to explain that it could very well serve to re-ignite that production.
Microsoft considers the Web series "the next step" for the franchise as an entertainment property that could eventually lead to a theatrical feature -- after the plug on one was pulled by Universal and Fox that Blomkamp was to direct and Peter Jackson to produce in 2005.
"I don't think anybody needs any reminding of (the potential)," McCloskey said. "Everyone keeps reminding us of that."
McCloskey stresses that the "Halo 4" Web series is "not just a marketing piece" to promote the game. "We wanted to go way beyond that and transform this live-action exploration from advertising into a full standalone product that people will enjoy."
Details such as the director and cast are seemingly being kept secret until San Diego Comic-Con in July.