Halo is apparently set for a live-action incarnation...just not on the big screen as years of rumors and speculation seemed to indicate. Microsoft's big unveiling today of its new console, Xbox One (an event which, if we still had a staff of videogame journalists, we would have been ALL over) would come with kind of a non-gaming surprise. Directorial deity, Steven Spielberg appeared via video to reveal that he will be involved as executive producer with a live-action Halo TV series, which be available exclusively through Xbox One with the next-gen system's streaming-centric hardware.
Certainly, the Xbox One presentation came across as the debut of a fancy, elaborate, voice-operated streaming TV box that happens to play videogames, if you are so inclined. It's clear that Microsoft really, REALLY wants their hardware to be the centerpiece of your living room. Now, with the announcement of this Spielberg-headed Halo series as the apparent flagship of Xbox Live's broader, quasi-Netflix business model, their intentions have never been more clear. Additionally, the console will distinguish itself from the established streaming services by supplementing shows like the upcoming Halo with interactive content.
As for Halo's live-action possibilities, the games have certainly provided all the necessary framework for compelling serial storytelling from humanity's apocalyptic interplanetary wars with zealot alien invaders, The Covenant to the arrival of a shared enemy in the parasitic race, The Flood. The property has certainly come a long way, especially after years upon years of lallygagging which at certain points in time had names like Peter Jackson and Neill Blomkamp seemingly set to helm a potential feature film. Instead, the story of the ultimate high-jumping, Warthog-riding Spartan solider, Master Chief and his sexy hologram helper, Cortana will become the centerpiece of a series which arrives by way of a completely redefining medium. With the series in the reliable hands of Steven Spielberg, who will collaborate with the IP's ever-watchful gatekeepers over at 343 Industries, the potential buzz from this series could, ironically enough, provide THE watershed moment for the upcoming videogame hardware itself.
No timeline has been revealed regarding when the Halo TV series will debut, but the console on which it will manifest, Xbox One, will reportedly debut "later this year." (Translation: "Holiday Shopping Line Madness.")