Microsoft unveils Halo Legends' project

Microsoft Corp., in collaboration with some of the most acclaimed anime creators, today unveiled a new project called “Halo Legends,” which will bring the “Halo” franchise and its sweeping sci-fi saga to an entirely new medium, in the form of several original anime short films. A renowned set of storytellers from some of the world’s leading anime studios in Japan are about to take one of the most iconic franchises in science fiction and video games to a new level.

“Halo Legends,” which will officially debut at a panel presentation today at Comic-Con International in San Diego, is being produced by Microsoft’s 343 Industries and features creative direction from anime pioneer Shinji Aramaki, director of the critically acclaimed “Appleseed” and “Appleseed EX Machina” anime features, and Mamoru Oshii, director of the landmark “Ghost in the Shell” movies, with additional production from Joseph Chou of J-Spec Pictures. The compilation will include a series of short stories that explore different times, themes and characters from the “Halo” universe and will be distributed globally by Warner Home Video, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. company. Influential studios that are part of the project include the creators behind some of the most popular and celebrated anime to come from Japan, such as “The Animatrix,” “Cowboy Bebop,” “Fullmetal Alchemist,” “Ghost in the Shell,” “Dragon Ball” and more.

“The opportunity to work with talents such as Shinji Aramaki, Mamoru Oshii and others from some of the greatest anime studios is a very rare opportunity for Microsoft,” said Frank O’Connor, “Halo” franchise development director and provider of story and creative direction for 343 Industries. “We’ve seen the world through Master Chief’s eyes, and we’ve experienced facets of the universe through a variety of literary prisms, but now we get to watch new tales unfold in really rich, visually dynamic ways. I think anime fans and ‘Halo’ fans alike are in for a real treat.”

Set hundreds of years in the future, the “Halo” series of games and novels chronicle mankind’s struggles against an alien collective known as the Covenant. The Covenant is scouring the universe for relics it believes will lead it to a new life and is destroying civilizations and planets that stand in its way. The most prolific hero from the fiction is a super soldier or Spartan known as Master Chief, who is the main protagonist in the original trilogy of Xbox and Xbox 360 “Halo” titles. In the trilogy, Master Chief discovers that the Covenant is intent on activating a series of mysterious ring worlds known as “Halos,” which would ultimately exterminate life throughout the universe. He becomes mankind’s champion in a race against an unrelenting enemy in its most desperate hour. Through The New York Times best-selling novels, comics and additional Xbox 360 games such as “Halo Wars” and the upcoming “Halo 3: ODST,” the universe has grown and tales of other heroes have emerged.

“‘Halo’ and its characters are a very natural fit for anime,” said Aramaki, creative director for the “Halo Legends” project. “As a fan of the ‘Halo’ universe, it is an honor to work with Microsoft and my very talented peers from other studios to create this collection.”

Studios involved in the “Halo Legends” project include Bones Inc., Casio Entertainment Inc., Production I.G, STUDIO4 Degrees C and Toei Animation.

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