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With Halo 4 coming in November, Microsoft is going all-out with the transmedia opportunity. The company announced today that it will release a web-based live-action animated series, Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn.

The series will run exclusively on Machinima and Microsoft’s online community Halo Waypoint. It will debut before the Nov. 6 release of the Xbox 360 video game. Halo has sold more than 40 million copies since 2001 and generated more than $2 billion in revenues.

The animated show “represents the largest investment Microsoft has made in a live-action show to date,” Microsoft told Variety.

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Matt McCloskey, director of franchise management at Microsoft game studio 343 Industries, said the series is a way “to make ‘Halo’ accessible for people who haven’t played the games.”

Halo franchise head Frank O’Connor said the series will enable “people to get on board this universe without feeling intimidated.” In Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, Halo’s main character Master Chief works with a UNSC cadet who later becomes a leader on the UNSC Infinity space ship. The web series will be released in 15-minute weekly installments and offer background to the story of Halo 4.

Microsoft tried to turn Halo into a movie in 2005 — using Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson — but the effort bogged down in wrangling with movie studios. More details are coming in July at Comic-Con in San Diego.


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