When Microsoft announced the Xbox One, one of its headline features was the creation of new TV and video content. Headlining this new endeavor was a custom Halo-themed television show directed by Ridley Scott. Microsoft didn't reveal much additional information and the news itself was generally swept under the rug in the wash of controversy over Kinect, the always-on camera, the intrusive DRM, constant phone-home checks, poor communication, and... well, you get the point.
Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that it would be closing the content production studios that were initially meant to provide key differentiating content for Xbox One, leading some to wonder if the Halo project was part of those cancellations. It wasn't -- Microsoft announced today that Halo: Nightfall will come to the console this fall. It will serve as a prequel to the events of Halo 5: Guardians, and will introduce one of the starring characters of Halo 5, manhunter Jameson Locke.
The plot of Nightfall will involve Locke and a team of other Office of Navel Intelligence (ONI) agents as they attempt to unravel the culprits behind a terrorist bioweapon attack. Other details, including whether Master Chief will make an appearance, are scarce, but Ridley Scott seems to be implying he's got his own story he wants to tell.
In science fiction, we’re always searching for new frontiers. We’re drawn to the unknown,” Ridley Scott said. “With Halo: Nightfall, we’re pioneering a new medium in terms of interactive storytelling on Xbox. It’s going to be fun for long-time fans to see how the worlds come together with an ambition to attract new fans along the way with what we’ve created.”
Whether the new character is friend or foe to the Master Chief remains to be seen. The show will be broadcast in five segments beginning this fall. Presumably each episode will be 30-60 minutes long -- a major success could lead to more projects of this sort. Unfortunately, with Microsoft having just shut down the studio that would've produced that content, the long-term forecast is vague.
Also vague is the question of how non-Xbox one owners will access this material, or at what price point. Microsoft hasn't clarified whether gamers will be able to buy the series episode-by-episode or if it'll be locked as an Xbox One feature for an unspecified period of time.