Halo project dead, Peter Jackson’s working on original video games

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Hey Master Chief, don’t call us, we’ll call you.

Filmmaker Peter Jackson’s plan to create an interactive, episodic series based on Microsoft’s Halo video game franchise has fallen victim to budget cuts and the director’s busy schedule. Halo follows the adventures of Master Chief, an elite soldier in a futuristic science fiction universe.

Announced in September 2006, the deal between Jackson and Microsoft called for the two to co-finance a new division of the director’s New Zealand production company dubbed Wingnut Interactive. It was set to produce two projects for Microsoft, one of which would be tied to the bestselling video game brand.


Dubbed Halo Chronicles, Jackson said it would be interactive and ‘not quite a game, not quite a film.’ It was later revealed to be a multiepisode, interactive series.

That deal came out of a relationship Jackson forged with Microsoft on the Halo movie, which he was going to produce. The film fell apart in October of 2006 when studios Fox and Universal balked at the budget.

In a brief comment to the blog Joystiq at Comic-Con following a screening of ‘District 9' Thursday night, Jackson said Halo Chronicles is no longer happening, but didn’t provide any details.

His manager, Ken Kamins, explained in an interview today that there has been little progress on Halo Chronicles since it was announced, as Jackson’s time has been devoted to numerous film projects including ‘District 9,’ ‘The Hobbit’ ‘The Lovely Bones’ and ‘Tintin.’

Microsoft Game Studios, the Windows maker’s video game division, killed Halo Chronicles in January as part of budget cuts tied to company-wide layoffs.

‘They were scaling back everything, including the number of Halo games, and it just made sense at that point,’ he told The Times. ‘Once ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Tintin’ got going, they really cannibalized Peter’s time and ability to oversee any Halo games.’

A Microsoft representative said the company didn’t yet have any comment.

The end of the Halo project does not mean the end of Jackson’s video game ambitions, however. Kamins confirmed that Wingnut Interactive still exists, owned entirely by Jackson and his partner Fran Walsh, and it is working on new video game projects.

‘It was born out of this [Halo deal], but now Peter has people in Wingnut Interactive working on original intellectual property,’ he said.

-- Ben Fritz