Halo to Produce a Live Action Web Series

Image from nerdbastards.com

Following in the footsteps of other gargantuan game franchises, the creators of Halo 4 announced that they will be releasing a 5 episode live action web-series in October.

The series is set to take place at the beginning of the war between humans and the alien race, the Covenant.  It will then follow the story up to the beginning of Halo 4, offering not only a prelude to the game but a different take on the entire series that will add more depth and storyline to the first person shooter.

The preview for the web-series premiered at ComicCon in San Diego this week and can be found on youtube here.  The preview displays heightened production quality for the web-series, something that preceding video game web-series lack.  A heightened production value can only do so much, and the producers may find out that a video game to live action series is no easy transition; especially when they have to go up between die-hard fans that will deem any flaw a catastrophe.

The Halo series has become a cultural phenomenon so it already has a unique and more in-depth story line than can be found in most first person alien shooters. Seven science fiction novels have been published for the series, and two of these are a part of a trilogy that science fiction author Greg Bear has been contracted to do to lead up to Halo 4.

Considering everything, it’s not surprising that Halo has finally decided to produce a live action series, although it still begs the question: can it be tactfully done?  I don’t think so.  After watching the preview it’s clear that the producers are trying their best to stay within the Halo universe and provide a gripping, realistic story that stays strictly within the confines of the Halo universe…but that’s their biggest problem.  The gun’s in Halo look nothing like modern day weapons that we are accustomed to, and that shows up in the preview where it looks like people are running around playing with giant props, not battling with actual guns.  Master Chief’s armor is also an area of disappointment.  The science-fiction atmosphere and graphics of the games make the Chief’s bulky armor look badass and unstoppable.  Shed the context of the video game, however, and his suit just looks silly, something that the producers were also unable to solve, (in fact I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the prop suit they use on the streets in Hollywood).

These flaws were unavoidable, however.  The series needed to stay strictly within the Halo universe, not only to appease fans but also to be comprehendible as the precursor to Halo 4.  That being said, I still don’t think a live-action series was the smartest route to go.  Since the confines for the story are so strict I believe it would have been better to produce an animated series leading up to the game.  A 5 episode web-series that showcases not only the universe of Halo but the graphics available to the Halo team would not only prove more plausible, but I believe it would also be more enjoyable to fans.  Leave the live-action stuff to independent producers who want to put their own twist on the universe to make it more believable—much like the Mortal Kombat Legacy Series produced by Kevin Tancharoen (which by the way just announced a season 2 in the making).

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