Understandably, there is a lot of skepticism and mixed feelings about the approaching “ Halo 4 ” release. “ Halo 3 ” (2007) brought an open-ended “conclusion” to Master Chief’s journey and “ Halo: Reach ” (2010) traveled back in time to give us a better understanding of what set Master Chief, and the events around him, in action. For nine years Bungie helmed the Halo franchise with great success. They changed the face of console gaming in several ways. To many, Bungie and Halo are synonymous. However, in 2007 Bungie announced that it was splitting off from its parent company ( Microsoft ) and its time with the Halo franchise was winding down. Announced in 2009, “Halo: Reach” was to be their last Halo game; a farewell to the fans as it were. And with “Halo: Reach” we said farewell to Bungie’s ties to Halo. So what was next? Who would take the helm of this gaming franchise powerhouse?
Well, Microsoft was not about to let Halo fade off or go into the hands of another company; so in 2007 they created 343 Industries with the purpose of overseeing the Halo franchise. (Are you a true Halo fan? If so, you will have noticed that 343 is also the numeric designation of one of the main characters in the series, 343 Guilty Spark .) So that brings us back to “Halo 4”. 343 Industries is now at the helm and they are the ones developing “Halo 4”. As a company, this will be their first “in-house” game and they have a lot of Halo fans looking over their shoulders. Can they successfully pick up where Bungie left off? Can they produce the same level of quality we have gotten used to in the franchise? The screenshots and videos that they have shared with the public look impressive, but there are several horrible games out there that look great. We will know soon enough.
But I wanted to share another side of this new approach to the Halo franchise. In preparation of the new game, a five part live action web series is being released. This series is called “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” and it is the largest live action promotion production that Microsoft has done so far. While the idea of live action promotional tie-ins to video games is no longer new, it is encouraging to see so much thought, money and effort being poured into a franchise that I have enjoyed since its start in 2001. Also, it looks rather impressive. The series can be seen on the “Halo: Waypoint” (a downloadable application for the Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7) and Machinima.com. Here is the trailer, I hope you enjoy!