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Microsoft announces Halo film is still alive

Halo.jpgIt's no real wonder that Microsoft have announced to the world that there's still work ongoing on a Halo film following a week when Blizzard announced that StarCraft was still on their radar and Irrational Games were announcing BioShock wasn't dead.

It's especially current as Microsoft and Bungie are about to release Halo: Reach, the latest in the Halo range of games, so keeping alive a film version of the series in the press is rather important for marketing as well.

Speaking about Halo: Reach Frank O'Connor, who looks after the entire Halo franchise for Microsoft, was still openly positive about the film:

”We're still interested in making an excellent 'Halo' movie...We've created an awful lot of documentation and materials to support a feature film. We have a good idea of what kind of story we want to tell, but won't move on it until there's a great reason to do it. We're in no particular hurry.”

The article in Variety, found through Latino Review, makes a really interesting point about the short-sightedness and blinkered approach in Hollywood film-making at the moment. Universal and Fox pulled out of the Halo film back in 2007 because of the escalating budget at over US $135 million. This was a potential franchise that has a ready made audience in existing video game and novel franchises.

Now look at something like Universal's Battleship film which is reported to be carrying a budget somewhere around US $200 million. Where's the existing fan base and franchise potential for that?

Really though it's about control, and for the studio the control of the Halo property was heavily in the hands of Microsoft and Bungie, they owned the bible of the universe they had created and they wanted it adhered to faithfully for which they wanted creative controls and returns to match.

With Battleship it seems Hasbro, much like their other game tie ins, aren't so concerned. Some creative adherance and returns are required, but not as much as Bungie required.

Still, it doesn't mean that there's going to be a turnaround in the desire to make a Halo film from the studios any time soon, and since they are so careful with the business and their financial aspects of the marketplace, they'll be keeping a keen eye on what happens with the franchise as Bungie completes Halo: Reach and leaves the Microsoft deal, for Microsoft will be keeping the Halo franchise and turning to their internal developers to take it forward. If that doesn't work out well there's potential for the studios to get more control and perhaps a cheaper film from Microsoft.

Right now commercials director Noam Murro is making a series of shorts about the Halo universe to keep hopes alive, as well as continue marketing the franchise. However the article does suggest that Microsoft are looking to television for more than just this. Could they be thinking of a series such as Battlestar Galactica?

Something else that's interesting for me is that the news of Blizzard and Irrational Games holding out for a film version to be done just right according to their requirements for their game franchises is met with different reaction to the news that Microsoft are holding out for Halo to be done just right. There seems to be much more media negativity against Microsoft for wanting this, yet with Blizzard and Irrational the story seems to have been bypassed. Is it something about Microsoft or something about the desire for a Halo game whatever the quality of the final product?



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