The visions of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn

It wasn’t that long ago a Halo movie was in the works at Universal, with Peter Jackson producing, newcomer Neil Blomkamp directing, and Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Dredd) writing the screenplay.

For a number of reasons, including a budget that was sure to get unwieldy, and control issues with Microsoft, the Halo film never came together.

As we previously reported on TG, screenwriter Stuart Beattie (Collateral, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl), who loves the game, even launched a one-man crusade to get a Halo movie made, but it didn’t come to pass. Halo seemed to be the perfect game to make into a film, and it could have launched the movie / gaming crossover that seemed bound to happen, yet movies and games may end up remaining separate entities.

Or will they? As The Guardian reports, Microsoft broke Halo 4: Forward Into Dawn into a webisode, with five 15-minute segments that are airing on YouTube, Machinima, and Xbox Live. This seems like a smarter way to do it than a full-blown epic movie that could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and a lot of people have been trying to launch webisodes for the same reason. If one catches on, like the Halo one has a lot of potential to, it could open up a lot of doors for filmmakers.

There’s also major potential for movies and gaming to cross over and have big success on both sides because of the episodes playing on YouTube, Machinima, and Xbox. As The Guardian notes, “In almost every way, outside distribution, Forward Unto Dawn is a full-scale production…There may be no cinema release but in every other sense this new media approach is happening.”

Stewart Hendler, who directed the Halo webisodes, also told the publication, “I did my first web series two years ago and it was slightly unclear where the art form was heading. Now they’re pulling in real resources – these things are being made the level of TV pilots and feature films.”