Interview: "Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn" Producers on Working with the Master Chief

Interview: "Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn" Producers on Working with the Master Chief

The first two episodes seem to have this slow build-up, and it feels like it's leading somewhere big. What is that payoff going to be like?

Feldman: Well, at the risk of creating a spoiler—what people do know, certainly, from the trailers and what we've said about the show, is that because this is the introduction of the Human-Covenant conflict, you can expect to see that introduction in all its action glory. So we can promise that there's going to be  great action. And of course—this is no surprise, it's been announced in the trailers—that Master Chief will be absolutely front-and-center. And we think fans—old fans and new fans—are going to get a real kick out of seeing Chief in all his action glory as well.

Do you think that this is sort of a test-run to see whether a live-action Halo feature film would work? And would you want to work on that film?

Feldman: Well, to answer the second part very quickly first, yes. Emphatically.

Antonini: Absolutely.

Feldman: Emphatically yes. Yeah, I mean, it's like, you're just working with such incredibly knowledgable people at [Halo developers 343 Industries]. You know, I always say that when I see  Seattle pop up on my caller ID, I'll answer it very, very quickly. In terms of what this project means in the larger whole, that's ultimately up to 343. All we can say is they really deserve a hell of a lot of credit for deciding the quality was going to be the scale at which they wanted this project judged, and they put the resources behind it, not just in terms of the ability to make it, but also themselves. We had a 343 individual on-set every day. This was very much a true collaboration, and their goal was to make something great, and deliver it right to where the fans live: online. So who knows? The sky is the limit for them. The fact that they could really pretty much choose whatever venue they want, and they chose to go this route—and a lot of credit goes to them for that.

Antonini: I think one of the amazing things about the team at 343 is how much they respect their fans. And you know—this is my personal opinion—but I think if the fans react positively and watch the show and love the show and talk back to 343 and support the idea of continuing to move forward, that they'll do everything in their power to keep giving them great entertainment experiences. But it's really—it was wonderful to watch that relationship and to even watch—you know, when [Halo franchise development director Frank O'Connor] appears in episode 2, and to watch all the comments, how much it really means to the Halo fan world, that Frank is in that episode, and enjoying it and a part of it—it's really an inspiring group of fans that they have. And I think the'll continue to be inspired by them and create great stuff for them.

Speaking of the production value, the setting, the choreography of that fight, the futuristic UI stuff of their computers—it's all fantastic. Was it fun getting to implement all of that stuff in that futuristic setting?

Feldman: Yeah, it was. You know, one of the things—it was really fun to think about how to convey the world of Halo, which is so visually dynamic and quite beautiful, in a live action setting in a way that could sustain over 90 minutes, which is longer than any of the commercials, of course. And, you know, one of the things that Lydia and I take very seriously is the kind of being between CG and practical effects, and made a beautiful set, and our production designer, Kasra Farahani, knocked it out of the park, along with our CG team, and really the entire crew. And we take that blend of approaches very seriously. And the great thing, too, is: remember, there's ten years of Halo, you know, design to pull from. So if this was complete, you know, a completely brand new IP, it would be that much more daunting. For us, there was ten years' worth of design to pull from. You know, we had a wonderful head start that made us feel like this was possible.

What do you think about how successful it's been?

Antonini: It's incredible to see a video on Youtube that has, like, 30,000 likes and only 600 dislikes. I mean, who gets that lucky? It's pretty fortunate. I mean, I barely even remember to "like" videos that I watch on Youtube. So, that people are this passionate and excited is great. I mean, my absolute favorite thing to do is actually read the comments and see what people are picking up on, what they appreciated. If they picked up on all the little details that we knitted into the story and into the visuals. And by and large they do. It's really fun to see all that work pay off. And we had an incredible team of craftsmen on this movie, and they did an incredible job. And to see that so passionately praised online is pretty awesome.

Tags: halo-4, halo-4-forward-unto-dawn, 343-industries, microsoft, halo
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