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

What are some of the details that you're particularly proud of?

Feldman: Oh man, I love that question. Well, I think one of the things that I think is incredibly emotional, and has so much storytelling built into it—and this is something that's not from the canon, but is just the design of the dorm rooms themselves. You mentioned the UI interfaces. And beyond that, you know, so there's that great digital UI interface. But then carved into stone above the beds are all of the mottos and, you know, positive messages from UNSC. So it's like these cadets are constantly getting a reinforcement of, you know, the expectations that are placed on them. And I think that's the level of detail that you'd be hard-pressed to find in other quote "blend" series. But then beyond that, it was really fun to learn about the insurrectionists. Because again, that's not something that was made up for this projects. Insurrectionists have a direct connection tho the mythology. And it was interesting, because —there may have been, and forgive me if I'm forgetting some aspect of the mythology, but there may have been one or two simple visuals of what the insurrectionists look like. But as far as I know, there really was never anything that defined what they, you know, what they look like. That was a situation in which we had to come up with what the insurrectionists looked like, even though they had been very present in the novels, for example. So that was really cool. That felt like an awesome responsibility—to actually add a visual touch to the canon.

Antonini: You know, one of the ones that I was noticing in the comments recently—that I wasn't sure if people would actually catch—that there are a couple of little Covenant clues in some of the static that has been caught and noticed, which I think—it's just really wonderful that people are paying that much attention. Because they're pretty hard to find. So that was really special. Because honestly, I was like, will anyone really figure this out? Are they really that—and the answer was yes, absolutely.

Halo fans are particularly good at picking that stuff out. Moving on—with The Hunger Games doing so well, and the Ender's Game movie in the works, do you think this is sort of an ideal time to have this kind of story come out? With the young people in these dire situations?

Feldman: Well, I think any time you have a storyline with impressionable adolescents that are on the verge of adulthood, you have a story that's relatable. So I think you can look at lots of examples—not just in recent blockbuster movies, but in literature and in novels, for a very long time, of main characters that fit the format of what you're describing. That's the great thing about Forward Unto Dawn—is that, like any great story about adolescents, there's a relatable, emotional, compelling through line, and then on top of it you have the great science fiction mythology and action of Halo. And you have something that works in dual ways—it's emotional, it's compelling, but it's also all of the fun that you expect from Halo.

Were you worried at all about the taboo that surrounds video game movie projects?

Antonini: Not really. I mean, after doing—for me after doing Mortal Kombat and seeing how fun it was to explore, and explore in a way that you could put it right out there for the fans, I think if anything it's much more exhilarating than anything. I mean, making a movie and having to go through the process of making a big movie with a big budget and on and on has—you know, there's just a lot more pressure. But we really—after Josh's earlier point about quality—we had such great partners in 343, they just—really the mandate was tell the best story that you can, don't worry about anything else. Cast the best actors you can find, don't worry if they're big names or not big names or whatever. And because we had that license to just do something that was great, it was just fun.

Feldman: I was just going to say, you know, I've been somehow really lucky to have great mentors and people like Tom and Gary from Playtone, and you know, the—that was the mandate of how they run Playtone. And that was: you have to be true to the story you're telling. So, you know, are you always aware of who and what's come before, in terms of the genre landscape? Sure. But you know, if you're true to the story, and you're true to the quality of the story, then that ends up being the roadmap which you follow to completion.

I recognized some of the actors, and others were unknown to me, but everyone seemed really solid.

Feldman: Everybody came and brought their A-game. They brought their A-game, and we were just—we couldn't be happier.

Thanks to both of you!

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