Over a year ago, Microsoft announced that the company would be producing a live action Halo series executive produced by Steven Spielberg. Fans were rightfully excited, but some of that enthusiasm has waned in the interim, since the only thing we’ve heard since then is that the series has a projected release date of fall 2015. And just today, Microsoft announced that 18,000 jobs will be cut and Xbox Entertainment Studios will be shutting down. So what does that mean for the upcoming Halo TV series?
Not much, as it turns out. According to Deadline, the entertainment branch will be shuttered in the coming months, but “some of the XES team will stay on to shepherd original programming already in production, including the upcoming documentary series about technology Signal to Noise and the Halo game franchise extensions, digital feature Halo: Nightfall and the Halo TV series, which will continue as planned with 343 Industries and Amblin.” So the good news is that fans will still have an opportunity to see what Spielberg has in mind for Halo, but the bad news is that this seems to be a big step back for Microsoft in the original programming realm. Playstation already has its first original series “Powers” lined up to debut this year, so the competition seems to be doing just fine.
The first Signal to Noise project is Zak Penn’s documentary about digging up buried E.T. video game cartridges from their desert burial, and it appears that we’ll still have the chance to see how that project plays out. But much of the other content that was scheduled to arrive through Xbox Entertainment Studios may never see the light of day. These include “Winterworld,” a limited series based on the graphic novel series of the same name; a comedy show in conjunction with JASH, a collective including Sarah Silverman, Reggie Watts, Michael Cera, and more; “Gun Machine,” based on the novel by Warren Ellis; a stop-motion series with the “Robot Chicken” guys called “Extraordinary Believers”; and “Deadlands,” based on a role playing game of the same name.
What does the future hold for these projects? We’ll have to wait and see, but it’s unfortunate that Xbox Entertainment Studios won’t be able to continue to create content because the more competition there is for great content, the better the final product has to be in order to stand out.
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