Within any given medium there are examples that stand as standard bearers. An assortment of representatives guarding the entrance to their respective genres like Colossus of Rhodes. Gaining access to such an exclusive club is rare, but every now and again it happens. Just such a time may be approaching.
When it comes to the world of sci-fi, there are two properties in particular that come to mind. Both Star Wars and Star Trek have enjoyed an astonishing amount of success over the many years that they have been around. They are prime examples of quality sci-fi but they also are long lasting, multiple media spanning universes with no apparent end in sight.
Already successful in creating a line of toys, collectables and books that are actually very good reads, the one major barrier to entry for Halo would be a major motion picture. It can be argued that there has yet to be a major videogame based movie. There are successes. Most notably the Resident Evil films. I happen to be a big fan of the Silent Hill movie as well as the first Mortal Kombat. But for each film that didn’t completely fail, there are those that did. Doom, Far Cry, Double Dragon, Super Mario Brothers…I could go on forever it seems. With Halo, Microsoft has a chance to do something that no game has done before. Create a high budget, high quality videogame movie that rivals anything that Hollywood could create on its own. Something on the level of a SW or ST.
Early rumors seemed promising. Peter Jackson and then unknown to mainstream audiences, Neill Blomkamp (District 9) were at the helm of the project. The Landfall short video work showed that they had the right focus and with proper financial backing, could bring the extermination of humanity to the big screen Halo style.
The promotion of Halo 3 saw a surge of live action short films and a few years later, ODST and Reach would have even more impressive shorts. Judging by the atmosphere of the commercials in question and the overall handling of the franchise as a whole, I think it’s safe to say that MS and 343 know how to get Halo fans attention. The combination of WETA, Jackson and Blomkamp is too mouth watering to consider but the possibilities would be endless. The attention to detail and quality both men have shown for their craft would be a perfect fit for Halo.
The time for doing just such a thing is now. In fact, I would be hugely surprised if there hasn’t been something in the works for at least a couple of years now. The Halo CE remake is just around the corner but more importantly we have Halo 4 next year. With the focus shifting back to Spartan 117 and the start of a new trilogy, having a huge movie come out right along side it would kill two birds with one stone. First you would be getting long time fans pumped. Halo fans are just as hardcore as any other fan and will be more than eager to spread the word and support the fiction they love with our purchases. Second, you would have a movie game (but in reverse) that was actually good. Too many times a movie is released with a bad game but imagine if you had a great game with a great movie tie in.
If this happens and 343 doesn’t let MS ruin things, we could see a surge of worthy game movies start production. Imagine God of War done by Zack Snyder. Metroid by J.J. Abrams. Spielberg and Gears of War. All it takes is one to lead the way. A big budget videogame movie that sees high returns could light a fire in Hollywood to support the gaming industry in a way that is beneficial to both parties. Gaming already makes more revenue than music and movies combined. Why not increase your profit potential by funding high quality projects based on rabidly successful gaming properties?
The Halo franchise has done extremely well in not only garnering a legion of diehard fans-of which I am a card carrying member-but they also have branched out into other mediums and have seen success. This is something that not all games can say. Even fewer can say so to the degree that Halo has. All that is needed is for the film to be made. High quality, big budget, don’t screw with the fiction. Follow those steps and it’s guaranteed success. Hinder that process in anyway and you’ll have an instant fail.
I guess soon enough we’ll know if I was right.