Gamers eager for Halo 4, the first franchise title since Bungie handed the reins to 343 Industries, won't have to wait until the game's November 6 release date to see the return of Master Chief. Hollywood news site Variety reports today that live-action Web series Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn will premiere exclusively on Machinima and Halo Waypoint in the weeks leading up to Halo 4's debut this fall.
The new video series represents the "largest investment" Microsoft has ever committed itself to in the live-action space, according to the report. Forward Unto Dawn will comprise five 15-minute episodes, released over a four-week period.
Episodes will focus on an original story concerning the series' iconic hero, Master Chief, and how he helped inspire a fledgling UNSC soldier to work his way through the program, and eventually command the UNSC Infinity spacecraft.
No director or actors have been named for Forward Unto Dawn, but more information is being readied for San Diego Comic-Con 2012 this July.
Forward Unto Dawn is not Microsoft's first dabble in live-action content surrounding the Halo brand. Previously, the firm commissioned Neil Blomkamp (District 9) and Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) to create several live-action shorts and commercials for Halo properties.
Though Forward Unto Dawn specifics are not yet being discussed, new Halo developer 343 Industries' director of franchise business management Matt McCloskey said the aim of Forward Unto Dawn was "to make Halo accessible for people who haven't played the games."
Forward Unto Dawn represents the "next step" for Microsoft and the Halo franchise, which could eventually bring Master Chief to the big screen, according to the report. A Halo film was originally planned, with Blomkamp attached to direct and Lord of the Rings filmmaker Peter Jackson set to produce. This project was later canceled, with Blomkamp and Jackson creating District 9 instead.