Lest you go five minutes without thinking about it, the Halo 4 promotion machine is about to kick into high gear. Just announced: a live-action web series that represents Microsoft’s biggest investment in live action. Ever.
The Halo movie from Peter Jackson and Neill Blomkamp may never have gotten off the ground, but Microsoft may be able to reignite interest with Halo: Forward Unto Dawn, the live-action web series (the Internet equivalent of a TV show) that will be released in five weekly installments, building up to the release of Halo 4. Halo Waypoint users and Machinima viewers will be able to see the fifteen-minute episodes for free, but Microsoft ain’t saying much about what we can expect to see. According to Variety, the story of Forward Unto Dawn is a prequel to the games, an original narrative about a never-before-seen character who’s inspired by Master Chief to enlist and eventually become a leader on board the UNSC Infinity. This new character has a role in Halo 4, but the web series will be his introduction. The series will also feature flashbacks to the beginning of the war with the Covenant, as seen in the first trilogy of games.
The talent involved is being kept under tight wraps as well; Microsoft’s intention is to make a big noise at Comic-Con in July by announcing the director and stars of Forward Unto Dawn. Should we read this to suggest that these individuals will have names that we’ll recognize? I think so, as it would defeat the purpose of announcing them at Comic-Con otherwise. But just how big will those names be? Five episodes at fifteen minutes each equates to a smaller cumulative running time than a standard big-screen film, so it’s not inconceivable that A-list talent could be involved.
Side question: who would you like to see as the director of this thing? What actor would be great at bringing Master Chief to life?
Beyond the prequel aspects and the talent, it’s a given that the web series will show off strong visual effects and cool futuristic-y warfare action. Once all five episodes have been broadcast, Microsoft intends to make the series available in collected form, likely on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital download.
I still have loads of questions about Halo 4… What’s it about? Who will Master Chief be fighting? How will it incorporate Kinect functionality? Is Microsoft going annual with Halo releases now, a la Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed? And so many more. But this is some pretty cool news to tide me over for a while longer.