The ambitious Steven Spielberg-produced video game adaptation promises to make fans happy.
The day fans have been waiting for has finally arrived: Halo is actually getting an adaptation, but for television rather than the big screen. Showtime announced the development of a live-action series of the Xbox video game franchise. The show will consist of 10 hour-long episodes primarily written by series showrunner Kyle Killen (Mind Games) with most of them directed by Rupert Wyatt ( Rise of the Planet of the Apes).
There will also, of course, be considerable involvement from the game’s developer, 343 Industries, under the close eye of executive producer Kiki Wolfkill.
If news of the show’s conception wasn’t enough to make fans of the epic series lose their minds, then Steven Spielberg‘s attachment just might. His Amblin Television will be producing Halo alongside Showtime and 343. The possibilities of what they might bring to the table are endless, and it’s encouraging that Microsoft will still hold an influential position throughout production despite the incoming star power.
As Spielberg is the master of childhood wonder and fantasy, it feels right that he’ll be one of the major engineers behind such a nostalgic video game series for certain generations. The original Halo from 2001 holds a special place in my own childhood, and like many others, I have continued playing the ensuing sequels and spinoffs for years. It feels as if followers of the franchise are in for something truly special, and it doesn’t hurt that Spielberg already has an impressive talent for alien-centric productions under his belt.
Naturally, there are concerns when it comes to adapting video games to film or television. Unlike adapting novels or comic books, video games have the unique situation of being like mini-movies that you can insert yourself within. This means that fans will likely have already encountered key scenes and feel like there are no possible surprises to be had.
Wolfkill addressed this lurking issue in the most comforting way possible:
“As we think about what it means to bring video game franchises to movie or TV, the biggest challenge can often be finding the right balance between moments fans have already experienced and moments that have yet to be experienced through a different medium, perspective, or creative lens. We are excited to navigate these creative waters to bring you something that is both respectful of what you already know and love, but also new and surprising and enthralling.”
Wolfkill promises Halo will be familiar yet also fresh and exciting. Acknowledging the fans and prioritizing their concerns is a great move on Microsoft and 343’s part. There is something very impactful behind setting out to create the best product you are capable of, and one which does service to the source material.
Halo is without a doubt an involved and detailed universe, and there are several avenues a showrunner could take its sci-fi world. Fortunately for Master Chief enthusiasts, Showtime has already confirmed the series will be going with the inceptive storyline presented in the very first game.
As a Halo fanatic, this hint at the plotline makes me immediately hope for that same sense of nostalgia from the original games. The re-introduction of Master Chief in all his glory is appealing, of course. The iconic super soldier is a seemingly unbreakable force, and it would be especially arresting as a viewer who’s only seen him in such a role get a fresh perspective on him. Of course, no matter what Showtime and 343 decide to do with the Halo idol, keeping him a man of few words is a must to avoid a completely out of character lead.
But what if the show didn’t focus on Master Chief? We know the series will be rooted in the franchise’s origins, so the character is more than likely to at least make a cameo. However, an inside look at the Covenant forces is one storyline, in particular, I’d love to see. It would be brilliant for the team at Showtime to take full advantage of the detailed alien lore. Spielberg’s influence in terms of what the Covenant may look like in a more realistic medium leaves me antsy for early stills from the project as soon as possible.
In the critically acclaimed Halo 2, players got to inhabit the roles of Master Chief’s alien adversaries, letting us play as our enemies for the first time. This opportunity to see things from the other side of the playing field, along with a more intricate plot than the first game, cemented the hold Halo had in the gaming world. For Showtime to run with this idea, perhaps letting audiences sympathize with the aliens, could be fulfilling for fans of the sequel.
There’s a great deal of technology and details in the Halo world which would make for exciting moments, as well. The AI Cortana is integral to Halo‘s storyline, and there are a lot of ways she could appear in the series. It also goes without saying that a live-action combat scene featuring a Ghost attack vehicle would have major potential. A realistic rendering of their speedy, anti-gravity technology is a thrilling thing to imagine.
Above all else, the core of what makes Halo so addictive should be present: those epic battles between humankind and countless droves of the Covenant. Should Showtime’s Halo be lacking in character depth and story (god forbid) then it’s the alien warfare that will save it. Spielberg’s helping hand could come in handy on this front, alongside the minds at Microsoft which gave us such captivating gameplay in the first place.
As Wolfkill so accurately put it, we’re in for an awesome ride. Just, please, don’t include The Flood. We can leave the space-zombies at home for this one.