Wow! 2001 video game Halo gets a TV show in 2018

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A little known title from seventeen years ago is seeing a small screen adaptation on the horizon. Halo: Combat Evolved was a first person shooter that encouraged retro gamers to traverse national parks on a large ring and visit the local library. The TV retelling of a guy who doesn’t talk and the sexy lady who lives in his arm is coming to Showtime in 2019, thanks to Steven Spielberg’s company Amblin and The 343 Factory. It might seem odd that the world is only now remembering this title, but I’m willing to bet there was a wave of renewed interest after the DUKE Xbox controller was re-released this year as a $70, wired device, for ironic chuckles on modern systems. It’s good to look that far into the past and agree that some things don’t deserve to be left there. It’s good to not think that this took way too long to accomplish and to ask why we couldn’t have this anytime before now. It’s good to not be upset about the series of events that lead us here. It’s good to be good. Good.

The press release from Xbox says that they are happy that their game is now going to be on TV, and that maybe people will see the thing on their TV and want to buy Combat: Halo Evolved. This is not the first time that the video game company wanted to make their game be other places where it would not be a game, but none of that panned out. Somehow, a small but dedicated fan base has clung to hope for more than a decade now to see any sort of large scale re-imaging of a title that meant a great deal to them, only to be repeatedly beaten down by watching dream pairings of project and director crumble under what appears to have been corporate mismanagement and greed that should have eaten away at their sincere desire to see this transmedia universe get the treatment it deserved. But no. No one got bitter over the last seventeen years and four months. No one.

From the Wikipedia for HAL0, there were apparently a series of lesser known sequels. Who knows if the series will be borrowing from those entries or if the only good story was in the first title?

Frustratingly, the project has been handed off to Rupert Wyatt to direct. Wyatt is known for incredible world building and a keen, visionary eye. His work in making science fiction stories grounded and beautiful, while making us care for characters by taking inhuman subjects and making them achingly human in films like Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes — well, what’s he doing wasting his time or immense skill set on a project like this? It’s a real GET for the production which might not get much word of mouth otherwise.

Except from CNN, who covered the announcement. No, this photo has not been altered in any way.

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I am a bit surprised that it features an image of the adaptation of the slightly better known “Tomb Lady” from 1996. “Tomb Lady” is, however, a much better known IP than The Halos, so perhaps this choice is meant to drum up interest? Or maybe CNN couldn’t find an image of The Halos? It is difficult to track down a copy of the title at this point.

Did you or a kid in your neighborhood once own this hidden gem? Did you find it in your local arcade? Or is this your first chance to experience the adventures of Master Chef? Is it good that Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment has a hand in this after the excellent work he did on the ultimate video gamer film Ready Player One? Is it possible that all of your enthusiasm for something like this was drained by years of failed adaptations including the colossal let down of the implosion for a movie based on a script by goddamned Alex Garland with director Neill Blomkamp which would have been incredible and now it feels like a small-screen adaptation on TV show budgets at Showtime of all places is, at best, a frustrating consolation prize?

*a deep sigh that sounds like i am shaking off this mortal coil but in a worse twist i wind up remaining alive*

Who else is stoked? Who is your dream casting for Quortana? Sound off in the comments!

36 Comments

  1. xabbott says:

    I’m over snark thanks to twitter but I’m ready for someone to adapt a videogame property well. Hopefully 343/Microsoft let the creatives adapt it in a way that makes it a good show vs trying to just repeat the story from the games.

    • Brock Wilbur says:

      I look forward to being over snark. I also just want the same thing you want, which is why I wish it was maybe either a bigger production like a movie or a smaller production like an in-house thing for Xbox where they let someone with a new take do it. Showtime feels so weirdly middle of the road, but holy cow do I have high hopes now based on the creatives they brought on.

      • Imperialist says:

        While it may not be HBO or Starz, Showtime is still a premium network. We are more likely to get what we want (something quality, and adult enough to do the property justice) than if it was rented out to a cable network. Forward Unto Dawn wasnt bad, compiled into the movie format afterward, and it was proof that Halo can both be grounded, and not stand on the shoulders of it’s monstrously boring protagonist. It just needs more of a budget, and more of a guiding hand than that project received. Im hopeful we will get that.

      • napoleonic says:

        Movies based on computer games are guaranteed to fail, because they are the opposite medium. Computer games are about depth and breadth for tens of hours. Movies are about flashy 90-minute whizzbangs. Computer games are just definitionally better suited to TV.

        • jj2112 says:

          Yup. Except if the game’s premise is as shallow as Rampage’s, then you get a dumb blockbuster which is surprisingly fun. Maybe the upcoming Tetris will be ok too, haha!

  2. rusty says:

    I’m struggling to understand the purpose of this article.

    • Brock Wilbur says:

      Venting some frustrations regarding how this is easily the biggest IP in games and they could have made so many movies / tv show adaptations by this point, but Microsoft has (reportedly) bungled it so many times that here we are, almost two decades later, getting a Showtime production.

      • lflambeau says:

        You mean like this one?

      • rusty says:

        I see. MS are good at bungling, that’s for sure.

      • dskzero says:

        Biggest IP in games?

        Not even close. Zelda. Warcraft. Mario. Even Call of Duty. They are all much bigger. Final Fantasy. Pokémon.

        It’s weird how people overstate the impact Halo has. I thought it was very much an american, console thing, but it’s creeping out here as well now.

        • mitrovarr says:

          It’s not even the biggest shooter. I’d say COD and Doom overshadow it, and possibly Gears of War and Overwatch. And that’s not even getting into Fortnight or PUBG, the popularity of which is hard to quantify because they’re so current.

  3. Brock Wilbur says:

    Thanks for reading my venting. I assure you I am both a) really excited for the creative direction, or at least the creative people hired for this and b) really worn out on how much effort it seems to have taken to avoid adapting the biggest IP in games in the last 17 years.

    • sosolidshoe says:

      The biggest IPs in games are Madden and Fifa :P

      • Wintermutant says:

        Actually, I’ve been watching the recent television adaptation of FIFA and, aside from a few unrealistic plot twists, its quite good.

        • GrinningD says:

          Nah they’ve lost me with this season two (or 16 as they seem to insist – maybe Lucas is involved?)

          But seriously there’s plot twists and then there’s totally contrived nonsense.

    • airmikee99 says:

      Biggest IP in games? It’s big, but not the biggest. Mario & Mario Kart, FIFA, Madden, Sims, Pokemon, GTA, Need for Speed, Lego, Final Fantasy, Zelda, Sonic, and Gran Turismo are all bigger than Halo.

      • napoleonic says:

        The excitement over a new Elder Scrolls game > The excitement over a new Halo game. Tells you everything you need to know.

        Literally no one cares about Halo any more except for a few geriatric console gamers.

  4. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    Cool! I would cast John Saint John as the Windows 10 Cheerio so the show can climax in a battle of the Johns.

    But hmm…it’ll have to be mighty good to compete with the Believe diorama, in my mind. That piece of non-game media (unless you count the original interactive Flash (?) website as a game) was the thing which effectively introduced me to that Chopin prelude, which to me makes it a phenomenally good thing – on top of its being a really neat piece of visual and physical art. No need for competition, though. Here’s to hoping this television thingy turns out well, too!

  5. FredSaberhagen says:

    I hope there’s a legendary cut where the chief and covenant dude hug it out

  6. Mouse_of_Dunwall says:

    Huh. I like Halo a lot, and read a bunch of the expanded universe novels in my youth. But I don’t know about a TV show. I haven’t been too enthused about the series’ direction in 4 and 5, but if the show is any good I’ll give it a try.

  7. brucethemoose says:

    Who will they cast to play Sanghelli?

    Seriously though. These aren’t rubber forhead aliens like Trek or Star Wars so they have to either:

    -Spend ALOT of money on CGI/makeup

    -Do the opposite of ST:Discovery and dumb down their physiology

    -Reserve aliens as distant cannon fodder, make the whole story human centric.

    All 3 options are… problematic.

  8. brucethemoose says:

    Also, Showtime is too late. We already have several utterly flawless Halo adaptations.

    link to youtube.com

    link to netflix.com

    • airmikee99 says:

      A thorough search of Youtube brings back plenty of videos about ‘Forward Unto Dawn’ but the actual series itself is no longer available, probably because giving it all away for free on Youtube would cut into DVD/Bluray sales.

      Red v Blue is made with Halo, but it’s definitely not about Halo.

      Also, a web series is not even close to a broadcast or cable series.

  9. Megatron says:

    Halo, eh? I’m always amused by how resolutely non-PC Halo has always been and yet it still gets “column inches” in outfits like this one. Can we even play the sequels on PC yet?

    That, and my experience of playing the first one was not the greatest; repetitive and frustrating, despite a very cool sci-fi milieu.

    • napoleonic says:

      As we saw in the “What Are We Playing” this weekend with the massive PS4 lovefest, the writers themselves are console gamers, not PC gamers. You can’t blame them for taking the writing job that was offered to them.

      • Premium User Badge

        Graham Smith says:

        Erm. We all play games on both PC and console? And that’s fine.

        As for “the resolutely non-PC Halo”; that’d be except for Halo 1, Halo 2, the RTS spin-offs Halo Wars 1 and 2, the topdown spin-off Halo: Spartan Assault, and the just-announced main series game Halo Infinite.

        • dskzero says:

          Even with those games released for PC you can’t just stand there and tell me Halo isn’t a console FPS at its finest. It’s made for consoles, and specifically designed for them.

        • napoleonic says:

          Indeed it is fine. I don’t expect a political journalist to be a member of a political party just because she reports on it – in fact I’d prefer it if she weren’t! I trust her neutrality more because she isn’t as personally invested in the subject. So it’s probably a good thing that so few PC gaming journalists actually play games that are distinctively PC: it provides a wider perspective.

          • John Walker says:

            You really are a clot. We all play games on PC. We also have consoles, because we’re not tiny babypeople who think you have to have loyalty to a platform.

            I, along with most others on RPS, from its foundation onward, primarily play games on PC, and have done since my first 486. Do stop being such a bloody berk.

        • Megatron says:

          …and Halo’s 3, 4, and 5?

          I’d played the first one on PC, including a wee spot of the multiplayer thing they released alongside it that technically ran far better than the actual game. Spin-offs…fair enough. I was thinking main series and not the adjoining tributaries. I wasn’t aware of Infinite – safe to say I’m surprised to see another main series title head our way after Microsoft, in their wisdom which is also infinite, locked Halo 2 into Windows Vista and precisely no-one bought it.

      • mitrovarr says:

        These days, not many people restrict themselves to one system or kind of gaming unless they can’t afford to keep up more than one. It would be closeminded for people working in the field to not play consoles as well, and since it’s part of their job they should be more able to afford it and budget time to it.

  10. jj2112 says:

    A Mass Effect TV show would be even better.

  11. Bison_Burglar says:

    I don’t quite know what the hell I just read… but I liked reading it.

  12. dethtoll says:

    Be honest. Walker ghostwrote this, didn’t he.

  13. Vanderdecken says:

    Forward Unto Dawn was great, working better as a miniseries than as a movie – and Showtime being the network that created Stargate SG-1, I really hope they still have some of the same magic left after 21 years.

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