SDCC 09: HALO Universe Expands in HALO: LEGENDS

SDCC 09:HALO Universe Expands in LEGENDS

First look at Halo Legends, courtesy LA Times/Microsoft

Microsoft and 343 Studios played the true subject of the Halo Franchise Panel close to the vest on Thursday, the first full day of Comic-Con International: San Diego.  Word leaked earlier that day, however, about Halo: Legends, a seven episode Halo anime series being produced by some of the biggest animation houses in Japan, including Studio I.G, Bones and Toei.

To kick off the panel, a trailer was shown to rapt attention, compsoed of scenes featuring familiar Halo elements in various distinctive anime and CG styles either fighting, running or blowing up.

Halo franchise manager Frank O'Connor of 343 Studios wasted no time introducing the guests on the panel, including two of Japan's top anime directors: Sinji Aramaki (Appleseed) and Mitsuhisa Ishikawa of Studio I.G (Ghost in the Shell). All shared his enthusiasm for the project. Their goal is to build off of the established games, novels and comics to deliver Halo content in the form popularized by The Animatrix and Batman: Gotham Knight, and to continue expanding anime's popularity in the United States.  It was announced that Halo: Legends would be all canon, save for a segment by Toei. After this announcement, the panelists shared sly smiles to each other, but nothing to the audience filling out one of the largest halls.

O'Connor then announced "Halo: Waypoint" a new central hub of information about Halo projects and character advancement that will be a part of the Xbox Live service.  He also reiterated that Halo: Legends is not a cash in, but a serious attempt to expanded the canon and create a work of animated art.

With the questions line forming fifty people deep, the floor was turned over to the audience while single frames of Halo: Legends flashed on the projector.

-A question about upcoming prequel game Halo: Reach was sidestepped, as it is a Bungie project.

-The infamous Halo 2 and 3 Alternate Reality Games (e.g. I Love Bees) will be referenced in Halo: Legends, but O'Connor won't say how

-A fan wants another game with Master Chief, O'Connor says he'll be in Halo: Legends at least.

-Other Spartans?  Yes, including females, and some Spartan back story

-A request for info about Master Chief's fate post-Halo 3 was denied, and Halo: Legends will only touch on the subject.

-A follow-up about secondary characters and O'Connor let the fans know that they are important to them and will be respected.

-Casting of Halo: Legends will be announced in the future; nothing ready to announce yet

-A real Marine requested a better showing for his future counterparts. O'Connor said they will give it their all, but may not be successful.

-Anime dubbed or subbed?  Both with other language subtitle options available.

-Will the Covenant's story be told? Yes, O'Connor says their story is important and will have their own segment

-A fan asked about a frame of Halo: Legends that showed an elite dressed as a samurai. O'Connor said it's part of I.G's "Duel" (working title) episode.

-A sharp eyes fan noticed that some of the existing multiplayer maps make an appearance in the Halo: Legends Trailer.  O'Connor says those are Easter eggs and there is more to it.

-Was the Halo Encyclopedia used in making Halo: Legends?  It is a separate project, but info was available to the anime studios

-The asking price for Halo: Legends has not be decided on

-Will more mature Halo material be made available in the future? O'Connor says Halo: Legends will at parts be dark and violent.

-One fan remembers when Halo: ODST was said to be the last game. O'Connor jokingly blames Bungie

-What year is Halo: Reach going to be set?  Although Bungie wasn't present, the panel answered this one: 2552

-Bring back Marathon?  O'Connor: No plans.

-Halo: Chronicles with Peter Jackson (The oft-mentioned live action film)?  O'Connor: No news.

-Will the events of recent real time strategy game Halo Wars be included within Halo: Legends?  Yes, everything is canon and interconnected...except the Toei segment.

With that, O'Connor closed out the panel by running the trailer once again to leave fans aching for more.

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