At a time when even mediocre video games are being adapted for the big screen, it’s no surprise Microsoft is taking steps to launch a feature film franchise based on its best-selling shooters, Halo and Halo 2. According to Daily Variety, the hardware/software maker has hired screenwriter Alex Garland (28 Days Later, The Beach) to begin penning a script to be included in the rights package to be offered to studios.
The unconventional move of developing a screenplay before selling the film rights is a preemptive strike to avoid the bad handling that most game franchises endure in Hollywood. The latest game-to-film cross-over, Ataris Alone in the Dark, was released in theaters by Lions Gate two weeks ago, only to be ripped apart by critics and largely ignored by moviegoers. Microsoft apparently fears that such a disaster would compromise the interactive side of the property as well.
Developed by Bungie Studios, part of Microsoft Game Studios, the Halo games cast players in the role of Master Chief, a genetically enhanced super soldier who happens to be the only thing standing between the relentless Covenant and the destruction of all humankind. Released on Nov. 9, 2004, Halo 2 grossed roughly $125 million on its first day at retail and went on to sell more than six million units.