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Peter Jackson's Halo project now hiring

MTV's Multiplayer speculated and has now confirmed that Microsoft is currently hiring new team members for Peter Jackson's mysterious Halo-related project. The speculation arose when Microsoft posted several new job listings looking for people to "help develop a new experience in the Halo universe" alongside an "external luminary." So, Halo and a luminary. Sounds like Peter's project to us.

While at first it seemed strange that Microsoft would only now be hiring for the project, Microsoft followed up with MTV to clear things up. The company told MTV, "Microsoft Game Studios has been hard at work collaborating with Peter Jackson and Bungie on the development of [a Peter Jackson-helmed Halo project]. At this time, it's necessary to grow the internal team to keep pace with development. Bungie will continue to remain involved in multiple aspects of the Halo Universe with MGS." So, it turns out that the project's development team is merely expanding -- as opposed to just now being formed -- which would indicate the project has become more expansive as well.

Let's hope we can hear some news about the actual game sometime soon. Seriously, we're starving for info.

[Via Joystiq]

Leaked: the second live action Halo short film

The second in the series of live action Halo shorts has hit the internetz with a quickness. We received a few very low quality shaky-cam videos, but this one seems to do a better job than the rest. The first thing you'll notice is that there is much more action this time around than was present in the first short, "Arms Race". That is to say, this video actually has action. Honestly, the quality is low enough that it's hard to judge how good the video actually is. Still, Neill Blomkamp's directorial style, which emphasizes documentary-like realism over special effects wizardry, helps make the film grittier and, well, more realistic. Without judging the film before it's released properly, we will point out that there is one thing that is definitely missing: music. With such a rich musical history from which to draw, we're a little befuddled that neither of the Halo shorts have done so. Without Marty O'Donnell's music, it just doesn't quite feel like Halo. Again though, this video may not even be finished for all we know (the bright green plastic looks a little out of place for example). Here's hoping the final product really delivers.

Protip: keep an eye out for errant needler shards. They will give you a nerdgasm.

[Via Joystiq. Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

Shane Kim talks Japan, Peter Jackson, 2008

Speaking to Game Informer, head of Microsoft Game Studios, Shane Kim, has a lot to say about the current state of the Xbox. The main focuses of the interview are Microsoft's 2008 lineup, the 360's performance in Japan, and the Games for Windows brand. Of particular interest is the discussion on games likely to be released in 2008. Microsoft's E3 keynote focused only on 2007. Addressing the question of 2008 and games like Alan Wake, Too Human, and Fable 2, Kim notes that these titles are not "way out in the future" and that Microsoft would not be talking about them if they were. Kim also tantalizingly applied this reasoning to Peter Jackson's Halo project.

Another of the more bizarre moments of the interview occurred during the discussion on Microsoft's performance in Japan. According to Kim, Resident Evil 5 for the Xbox 360 was supposed to be "the big announcement." We're a little puzzled by this -- as was Game Informer -- considering the game was announced for PS3 and 360 just over two years ago. Read the full interview after the jump.

Peter Jackson: no Blomkamp, no Halo movie

The Halo movie has been through its share of ups and downs. Fans will recall that Universal and FOX backed out of the picture some time ago. Speaking to Stuff.co.nz, Peter Jackson, previously brought on as producer of the film, said that he expects Universal and FOX to show renewed interest in the film after the release of Halo 3. Given the game's staggering pre-order numbers, he might be right. Also noteworthy, Jackson states that he won't produce the film without Neill Blomkamp, whom Jackson chose based on his short film work.

What do you think, fanboys? Has Halo missed its chance at Hollywood success, or will Halo 3 spark a renewed interest?

[Via Joystiq]

Jackson's Halo project will be episodic

During Microsoft's annual Blogger Breakfast at GDC (which Richard will be writing about soon), our Joystiq blogging army received some interesting news. During the breakfast, Shane Kim revealed that Peter Jackson is currently in the pre-production phases of two episodic games for the Xbox 360, with one being based on the (previously announced) Halo universe. When hearing the news, everyone jumped at the chance to pry more information from Shane's lips, but he refused stating "I may have said too much already". So there you have it folks, two episodic games coming from Peter Jackson. Anyone want to speculate to why Jackson chose to go with episodic content rather than a stand alone game? So many questions and so much waiting ...

MTV interviews Phil Spencer about Halo [update 1]

If you haven't had your fill of Halo 3 news this week, then check out MTV's video interview with Microsoft's GM of publishing of first party titles Phil Spencer. Phil talks about everything Halo related including Peter Jackson's upcoming project, Halo Wars, and the Halo 3 beta. He discusses where they are at with all their projects, how involved they are with Mr. Jackson, how the Halo Wars RTS came to be, and gave us no news on the beta that we didn't already know. It's good to hear about the status of the other Halo projects as it looks like we'll be hearing about Halo Wars in the near future. RTS FTW, SS! (For those of you who aren't l33t, that translates to "real-time strategy for the win, super sweetness!")

Update 1: Corrected our source and video links.

[Via 2old2play]

Halo movie officially postponed

Sad news today for Halo fanatics, the movie has been officially postponed. The postponement stems from Fox and Universal recently pulling out of the project. It's worth noting that the production team is still fully behind first time feature director, Neill Blomkamp. Here is the official statement:

"As was previously confirmed, we deeply regret that both Universal and Fox did not choose to move forward with financing the Halo film under the original terms of the agreement. At this time Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, along with their partner, Microsoft, have mutually agreed to postpone making a feature film based on the Halo video game universe until we can fulfill the promise we made to millions of Halo fans throughout the world that we would settle for no less than bringing a first class film to the big screen. We are fully supportive of Director Neill Blomkamp's vision of the film. Neill is a tremendously gifted filmmaker and his preliminary work on Halo is truly awe-inspiring. While it will undoubtedly take a little longer for Halo to reach the big screen, we are confident that the final feature film will be well worth the wait."

Whether or not you believe it when corporations say that they're "doing it for the fans," it's heartening to note that the movie is not canceled (though AICN isn't so sure). Then again, oftentimes, movies that take forever to develop eventually fall flat (D&D, anyone?). At any rate, we'd speculate that you won't see any Halo movie before 2008. But hey, at least they're finally rolling out new info about Halo 3, right?

[Thanks, Paul]

MS/Bungie say good riddance to Fox


Bungie opens their weekly update by posting Microsoft's official response to Universal/Fox's decision to drop the Halo movie following a failed attempt at an 11th hour shakedown:

"We are disappointed that Universal and Fox wanted to significantly renegotiate the financial points of the deal. But the Halo franchise is hugely popular and our goal remains the same - to find a partner that shares our passion and will creatively collaborate with us to best represent the story and spirit of the Halo franchise. Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and the rest of the creative team are dedicated to ensuring the Halo movie becomes a reality. We are already in discussions with potential partners who recognize the value of the Halo brand and its appeal to consumers worldwide."

The Bungie team themselves remain highly optimistic that a less stingy and more creatively aware financial partner will be found in short order. Yes, when the Hollywood bean counters who practically ruined the Fantastic Four and X-men 3 back out of your movie deal, it's a good thing.

Halo movie denied, Hollywood pulls out

Variety, paragon of gaming news, is reporting that Fox Studios and Universal have pulled funding for the Halo movie. Hearing the nightmare chorus of fanboys screaming, "Why God? Why!?" into the heavens, I can only give you one answer. Money. Amid rumors that the film's budget would reach $200 million -- originally projected at $135 million -- the studios demanded at the last minute that the filmmakers reduce their deals. This demand was also made in light of the fact that Microsoft had already been promised $5 million up front and 10% of the gross.

This turn of events has led some to speculate that Halo's director -- newcomer Neill Blomkamp -- is too inexperienced. This was, however, dismissed by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh's representative, Ken Kamins,

"Everybody is supremely confident in Neal [sic]. Part of what excited Peter and Fran was Neal's [sic] vision. We're very confident this film will move forward with the creative partners intact, who will take the film to production."

We're a little concerned that Variety managed to misspell both Neill's name and Bungie Studios' name (they spelled it Bungee), but hey, that's Hollywood for you. So, with Halo's fate hanging in the balance, how do you feel? Did you even care about it the first place?

[Via Joystiq]

X06: Two new Halo projects announced (w/ Peter Jackson!)


The most awkward moment of today's X06 press briefing may also have been the most profound. We are of course talking about the moment that Peter Jackson took the stage to massive applause. While PJ -- we call him PJ -- looked a little nervous talking in front of so many people, what he announced could turn out to be one of the biggest announcements for the video game industry this year.

Continue reading X06: Two new Halo projects announced (w/ Peter Jackson!)

Peter Jackson talks Halo with AICN

There's an interesting Halo movie interview with Peter Jackson on the love it or hate it movie site, Ain't It Cool News. The interview focuses both on Peter's choice of Neill Blomkamp as the director and the importance of the script. Speaking on Blomkamp's nomination, Jackson admits that hiring a "new" director wasn't the plan, but that Blomkamp was simply the best choice.

"It's not deliberate and certainly for
HALO it wasn't deliberate. I don't think even for a show like HALO, which is a big budget production, I don't think there's any problem whatsoever with a so-called first time director directing it. At the end of the day, Neill (Blomkamp) is not a first time director. He's a first time feature film director, but he understands film and grammar as good as anybody. He's done some wonderful short films and commercials. His visual eye is fantastic and his storytelling is great. The fact that it's a feature film just means that he gets to shoot for longer than he did in the short film. There really isn't anything else that's different."

Speaking of his personal involvement with the script (along with Lord of the Rings alumni Fran Walsh and Filippa Boyens), Jackson had some very encouraging words.

"The movie, as far as I'm concerned, as far as my involvement is concerned, is not going to go in front of the cameras until we have a really great script."

God, let's hope so. The interview is full of good stuff, and anyone interested in Halo should definitely check it out.

[Thanks, Doug Kriz]

Halo gets a director and another year


Please take a moment to sample the video above. Now, let that sink in. What you have just witnessed is the work of the newly chosen director of (drumroll please) Halo. That's right ladies and germs, the mystery has been put to rest. It's not Guillermo. It's not Peter Jackson himself. It's a relatively unknown South African (did you hear that Ludwig?) director by the name of Neill Blomkamp. Though Blomkamp's resume consists mostly of short films and commercials, his work has garnered him many awards (including 3 Clios and a Visual Effects Society Award). Also, the Halo movie has been pushed back to 2008, ending any speculation that it would launch day and date with Halo 3.

Choosing a little known director whose work has been primarily in commercials and short films is an interesting choice. Then again, Jackson himself started out making campy horror films (so did Sam Raimi of Spider-Man fame) so, who's to say?

Do you think he's up to the job?

[Via Joystiq]

Master Chief behind the mask: Denzel?


Movie website Dark Horizons has a tiny snippet of info regarding the Halo movie: Denzel Washington is rumored to be up for the role of Master Chief. The rumor is one sentence long, halfway down the page, and has no source listed:

"Latest rumours have Denzel Washington as the favourite for Master Chief."

If there was an article associated with this headline, it has since been removed.

My take: I don't know about Denzel being the Chief. Personally, I think that role should be filled by an unknown. However, I do think Denzel would make an excellent Sgt. A. J. Johnson.

[Via Xboxic, kudos to YLA G for the picture]

Peter Jackson talks Kong sequel

In the sixth installment of Yahoo's unfortunately titled Hollywood Byte column, John Gaudiosi talks with Peter Jackson himself about his involvement with video games. He specifically asks him about the possibility of a sequel to King Kong, taking advantage of the alternate ending where Kong makes it back to Skull Island safe and sound. Jackson responded, "I have been in discussions with Michel Ancel and the Montpellier team, but there is nothing to share at this point in time."

The article illustrates just how in touch Jackson is with games; he gets it, thoroughly. Video games have long suffered as promotional filler for their more important cinematic counterparts. Now we have an Academy Award winning director working on a cinematic adaptation of a game! He says:

"I'm excited that with the new hardware and such amazing leaps forward in technology, I may be able to experience games that even I can't imagine... I have such admiration for the video game development process and the talent behind these games, that giving them more tools, better hardware, and more budget will only lead to more fantastic adventures."

See also:
Peter Jackson visits Bungie, talks shop

Peter Jackson visits Bungie, talks shop


Peter Jackson recently visited with Bungie, ostensibly to talk about the upcoming Halo movie he's producing, but surely also to jam a couple rounds on Halo 3 (even though nothing's been announced yadayadayada). Here's what Bungie's Frankie had to say about the visit:

"...a week or two ago, our new building was graced by the presence of one Mr. Peter Jackson, director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong, Heavenly Creatures, Meet the Feebles and more. In short, a genius. You may or not know that he is also signed up as executive producer on the forthcoming Halo movie. Mr. Jackson was not only nice enough to come visit, but also to pose for a photo with the entire Bungie crew... So to summarize, a famous director came to a building and got mobbed by rabid fanboys, many of whom are in their twenties and thirties."


I have a feeling PJ might have been geeking out a little bit as well. I imagine a mutual appreciation society.

[Via 360Monster]

Continue reading Peter Jackson visits Bungie, talks shop

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