Master Chief’s path to movie stardom may have hit a roadblock, with key figures in the Halo franchise casting doubt on the gaming franchise’s feature film potential.
You might assume that director Rupert Sanders, who helmed the recent, well-received live action Halo 5: Guardians trailers, would be keen to take a shot at a full-length outing. Apparently not. Sanders, who also directed an award-winning Halo 3: ODST trailer, told WIRED.co.uk in a recent interview “I think it’d be too hard to make a Halo movie. There are a lot of chefs in that kitchen.”
That doesn’t mean Sanders is against a Halo feature film, adding that “I think it’s been tried a few times [and] it could be a great film that would only benefit the franchise. I think people would like to see it done properly.”
Others involved in the franchise agree it would be difficult — though not impossible — to make a decent Halo movie.
“I think Rupert has a good point that it would be hard to translate the game to film,” says Frank O’Connor, Franchise Development Director at Halo developer 343 Industries. “We did have experience with that, with Peter Jackson, but one way we can solve that [problem] is by just giving it a longer form… We’ve previously worked with Steven Spielberg on a TV series. That gives it the air and space it needs to breathe because it’s a big universe.”
Halo most recently expanded from games to serial drama with the release of Halo: Nightfall, which partly serves as a prequel to the upcoming 27 October release of Guardians. The webseries, initially released alongside the Halo: Master Chief Collection but now available separately, also introduced Jameson Locke, an important figure in the next game, and one half of the focus in Sanders’ mirrored Halo 5 ads.
Sanders does however think there will be “some sort of osmosis”, merging the passive nature of moviegoing with the interactivity of gaming “as the technology gets better and as we get more immersive with the experience.”
“I’d want to see more film-makers involved in making games and vice versa,” Sanders adds. “When you take some of the things we use in cinema to give an emotional narrative in the game world which has an immersive experience, that’s something I’d love to get involved with. It would have the same cinematic kind of immersive-ness as a game does.”
O’Connor also sees the future of Halo as more of an open collaboration between media. “Look at what Marvel are doing with their comic books,” he says. “They’re not trying to map them one-to-one with movies or TV. They’re taking what’s interesting about those characters, universes and relationships and turning them into good movies. It would be dangerous to make a verbatim adaptation of a video game. Instead you look at what’s interesting about it and work with that. It’s hyper-simplistic but a good view. Look at what’s interesting and make good TV or movie.”
Looks like fans hoping for an IMAX battle against the Covenant might have to wait a while longer.
Our full Q&A with Sanders will be online soon.