Adapting video games into other media has been going on for decades. And it’s rarely successful. More often than not, video game movies are outright terrible. Recent films like Sonic the Hedgehog and Mortal Kombat were actually pretty good. Fans are also quite hopeful for Tom Holland’s upcoming Uncharted adaptation. But it’s the Halo TV series that has everyone talking right now.
The venerable Xbox exclusive has had a TV series in development for years. After the success of Disney+ with various Marvel and Star Wars series, the stage has been set for success. The first trailer looks incredible. But the big question is if the series can connect with people who haven’t played the games. If it does, this show could literally be a game-changer.
The History of Halo
Developed by Bungie, Halo: Combat Evolved made its debut on Xbox in 2001. This was the beginning of what is now a 20+ year gaming history. Halo Infinite, the sixth game in the main franchise, was released in 2021. It has become one of the most popular Xbox exclusives of all time. On top of that, it is one of the most enduring overall video game franchises ever created.
Set in the 26th Century, the story focuses on a character named Master Chief. He is an elite and enhanced supersoldier with access to advanced weaponry. Additionally, he’s often accompanied by his artificial intelligence, Cortana. They work together to protect humanity and the United Nations Space Command from the theocratic intergalactic threat known as the Covenant.
That story was primarily contained in the original trilogy. Subsequent games have switched up the narrative a bit. What hasn’t changed is the absolute dominance of Halo in the gaming marketplace. The franchise has sold tens of millions of copies around the world. On top of that, it has been a key exclusive for Xbox. Not everyone is swayed by exclusives but more than a few people have chosen to buy an Xbox console because of these games.
As such, it comes as no surprise that conversations about live-action adaptations have been on the table for years. Columbia Pictures tried its hand at a movie and came up short. A tie-in with Halo 4, Forward Unto Dawn consisted of five short films eventually assembled into a movie. Halo: Nightfall was another series, this time produced to tie in with Halo 5: Guardians. But none of them gained much in the way of mainstream attention. That may be about to change.
Making a name on Paramount+
The Halo TV series on its way to Paramount+ in 2022 started its genesis in 2013. Originally, it was supposed to be released in 2015 but spent years in development hell. That may have worked out for the best. Disney+ series set in the Marvel and Star Wars universes have prepared fans for big things. The same thing can be said of Paramount+ and its recent selection of excellent Star Trek series. Fans are more confident than ever in science fiction content on streaming services.
Like the original games, the show will focus on the war between the UNSC and the Covenant. It will follow Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, the same main character from those same games. This genetically engineered supersoldier will be sent out to unravel the mystery of the Halo and destroy it, defeating the Covenant in the process. Plus, the producers made the superb choice of bringing in Jen Taylor to voice Cortana. She was her voice in the games, too.
Being faithful to the video game franchise is key. That being said, playing the games isn’t. The series looks like it will be accessible to anyone and everyone. Netflix’s adaptation of The Witcher is a prime example of how successful this can be. There are elements that are faithful to the games. At the same time, it has been created to be appealing to anyone who is interested. Even if you’ve never read the books or played the games, you can still enjoy that series.
Halo is currently set to debut on Paramount+ on March 24, 2022. How fans in other markets can access it remains to be seen but it could easily be one of the top streaming series of the year. And that’s keeping in mind all the Marvel and Star Wars series coming to Disney+ as well as Prime Video’s Lord of the Rings series. It’s a crowded field but Halo stands prepared to carve out a spot for itself.