10:00am PT by Natalie Jarvey
Pilgrim, 343 Industries Developing 'Halo' E-Sports Series
Halo could finally make its way to TV in the form of an e-sports reality competition.
The franchise's Halo 5: Guardians is at the center of a new reality series being developed by 343 Industries and Craig Piligian's Pilgrim Media Group.
The project is part of a larger deal that Pilgrim inked with Lionsgate and e-sports company ESL earlier this year to create and distribute entertainment content focused on competitive gaming for both television and digital platforms. Lionsgate made a $200 million strategic investment into Pilgrim in November last year in a move to accelerate its unscripted programming efforts.
E-sports, an industry that is expected to grow to $1 billion in revenue by 2018, according to Baird Equity Research, has quickly become an in-demand genre as Hollywood looks to tap into the devoted fan bases who like to watch live gaming contests. Last year, WME-IMG and Turner made a pact to create the ELeague, which broadcasts tournaments featuring competitive Counter Strike: Global Offensive play. The CW also recently aired the finale of e-sports docuseries Chasing the Cup.
"We continue to be blown away by the sheer excitement surrounding e-sports; the scope and buzz are growing every day," said Piligian. "E-sports and Halo fans are exceedingly passionate about gaming and devoted to their favorite titles and franchises — they are exactly the kind of audience we want to produce for."
Hollywood has been trying for years to bring Halo, the beloved franchise published by Microsoft, to the small screen. Xbox Entertainment Studios began developing a live-action series with 343 and Amblin Entertainment but the project, which was expected to land at Showtime, was tangled up in the ultimate shuttering of the XES. There have, however, been several digital adaptations of the Halo franchise.
The competition series would bring Halo to screens in a new way. The game has become a popular e-sports title, with a Halo World Championship and weekly championship series tournament in North America and Europe.
"We're thrilled to be partnering with Pilgrim on developing a reality series that will bring the intensity and extreme competition of Halo 5: Guardians e-sports to a television audience," said Kiki Wolfkill, head of Halo transmedia and entertainment at 343. "There is no better partner than Pilgrim to give our fans insight into the world of Halo e-sports."
Peter Levin, president of interactive ventures and games at Lionsgate, and Steven Roberts, executive chairman of ESL North America, helped to broker the deal.