At last! Microsoft has figured out how to get a Halo movie made

Six years ago, Microsoft tried to team with Hollywood to bring blockbuster videogame franchise Halo to the big screen. Things didn't work out so well, but now Microsoft's trying again, and this time they're pushing Hollywood aside and delivering the flick straight to fans.

Microsoft will announce at a San Diego Comic-Con panel Thursday that it plans to release a Halo web series entitled Forward Unto Dawn as a tie-in to the release of Halo 4 later this year. Starting Oct. 5, five episodes of the series will stream to fans exclusively through the popular game site Machinima, and then the entire thing will be collected, added to 15 additional minutes of footage (making 90 minutes total) and packaged as both a limited-edition disc that comes with the game and a DVD and Blu-ray available to rent or buy.

The budget for the film was somewhere between $5 and $10 million, and producers did their best to use as little CGI as possible. The iconic Master Chief armor, weapons and even the Warthog and Pelican vehicles were built from scratch.

"I wanted to bring a sense of reality and gravity to the world," said Stewart Hendler, the series director, whose previous credits include the horror flick Sorority Row. "Everything from the performances to the aesthetics should be tethered to a sense of authenticity and grittiness."

So what's the movie/series about? Forward Unto Dawn is a prequel story documenting the very first invasion by the alien Covenant. It's set primarily in a military academy and will star a young trainee (played by Australian actor Tom Green) who later pops up in Halo 4. Daniel Cudmore, best known for playing Colossus in X-Men: The Last Stand, will play Master Chief. According to producers, the goal is to create not just something longtime series fans will enjoy, but also a jumping-on point for new fans.

Check out a teaser for Forward Unto Dawn below. If this thing works out, we could end up seeing much more live-action work from the biggest game developers. What do you think? Good idea, or should they stick to the games?

(Via Hero Complex)

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