DreamWorks making Halo?
It seems that DreamWorks are keen to tread where Fox and Universal failed to run, or walk, or even crawl by taking up the adaptation of the videogame Halo, or rather not the videogame adaptation but an adaptation of one of the spin off novels.
Why is that? Well it's all about money, it always has been after all, but once again Halo fans will be wondering if there's a chance of seeing the story, the characters and the universe make it into film, and it looks like there's a strong chance.
Halo has had a peppered life. Enjoying great success as the flagship videogame for the Xbox console the creators Bungie have enjoyed great success from it and the owners Microsoft have spun the series off into other areas, and mostly as novels.
However their attempts to push it into Hollywood have failed miserably, mainly because they wanted to retain so much creative control over the universe and the characters they were fiercely protecting for the franchise of games, and wanting a strong return from the film too.
Yet despite that Fox and Universal brokered a deal with them and the film looked like it was finally going to get made with Neill Blomkamp directing and Peter Jackson overseeing. However it seems it was actually their additional returns requirements that caused a stalemate and the project to fall through, again. In fact rather than link to all the past articles on it, I have to bow to the write ups from both N.Y. Magazine and The Playlist who detail the history really well.
Now though they have the news that DreamWorks are looking to pick up the pieces of the project and start again, however it looks like they won't be with the videogame. It's something we've seen before, when a studio has put money into a project and it's been left by the wayside for another studio to pick up and make, the first studio are within their rights to get their development money back, as long as it can be seen that the film benefited from their development.
So, the easy way around it is to go elsewhere for the story and then the studio can't ask for their money back since their development wasn't used, and when that fee is looking like US $12 million, the incentives to find another source are strong.
With Halo its easy, the novels are there, and the articles tell us that DreamWorks are looking to adapt one of those and not the videogame. Of course I think there will be a little battle for the lawyers on this one as I thought some of the inspiration for the first film script was taken from some of the novels anyway.
All this aside, let's say that DreamWorks do get the rights to a novel and decide to proceed, there's the concern that Microsoft's desire to keep careful control the franchise will cause the death of the project. Perhaps that's true, but then let's look at the life of the project.
Microsoft didn't create the game, Bungie did. They created it and built each of the games right up until Halo: Reach, the current game. However now Bungie have, if you'll pardon the pun, jumped ship and they have left the deal and will make Halo games no more. Microsoft are on their own with the franchise and have to get one of their own developers to create the next game, if there is another one.
To me it seems that the change of developer is a big risk for the franchise, so you have to question how Microsoft view Halo now, are they looking to continue developing new projects with new developers? It'll take quite a while for the next instalment to arrive and it could be very different from what Bungie could produce, so why not take a chance on a film version now? I think they might be more willing than some would think.
Has the time come round for a film version of Halo? Have all the stars finally aligned?