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Video games these days are big Hollywood productions. A team of more than 200 people at Microsoft’s 343 Industries studio has been developing Halo 4 over the past four years. The new game, which launches Nov. 6, is being complemented by a full transmedia entertainment plan.
An important cog in the game’s launch will debut Oct. 18 on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, when the David Fincher-produced Halo 4 launch trailer, titled “Scanned,” makes its worldwide debut. The trailer will debut on Halo Waypoint and the Xbox YouTube channel immediately following the broadcast debut.
“I enjoy collaborating with Tim Miller, who is at the visual and technical forefront of hybridized live-action/CGI – not only pushing the boundary but defining it,” said Fincher.
The director re-teamed with his visual effects lead from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Tim Miller, who helmed the live action two-minute trailer in Prague. The action-packed promo blends CGI with live action to explore the backstory of Master Chief and provide a glimpse of the new threat he will encounter in Halo 4.
“Halo is one of the most iconic sci-fi universes, with a depth that allows for amazingly cinematic and emotionally riveting stories,” said Miller. “The chance to tell a story that explores never-before-seen facets of Master Chief’s journey is an honor. Our goal is to deliver a blockbuster, Hollywood-quality trailer that raises the bar for the award-winning legacy of live-action Halo storytelling and gets fans stoked for the return of Master Chief.”
“As a studio, we’re incredibly excited to be working with one of Hollywood’s most acclaimed directors and one of its top visual effects leads to bring our creative vision for the launch trailer to life,” said 343 Industries’ franchise development director Frank O’Connor. “Their involvement is a testament to the significance of Halo as a pop culture touchstone, and we think fans are going to be blown away when they see the final piece.”
Microsoft and 343 Industries have also collaborated with director Stewart Hendler(H+) to film a live action Web series in Vancouver called Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, starring Anna Popplewell, Tom Green and Daniel Cudmore. The series, which focuses on a new group of cadets at the United Nations Space Command (UNSC), debuted on Halo Waypoint Oct. 5 and will run through the game’s launch. A 90-minute special extended edition of the series will be included in the limited edition of the Halo 4 game.
To date, more than 43 million copies of Halo games have been sold worldwide, driving more than 3.3 billion hours of gameplay by people connected to Xbox Live. The latest game launch is being complemented by new novels, comic books, action figures, apparel and other merchandise.
“When we started 343 Industries and really looked at designing Halo 4, we also looked at the state of the whole franchise,” said Kiki Wolfkill, executive producer, Halo 4. “One of the things we decided to do with this universe was to make sure that every piece of it was connected and meaningful or relative to each other. Not that you have to experience the whole thing or read all the books or do all of that, but every piece should have a meaningful part of this larger universe. Transmedia has always been really core to what we’ve done. When we started designing the game, we also started seeding other fiction in novels, graphic novels, anime and other media so that people who do like to explore all of it kind of get an extra layer of story and information.”
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