What's up next in the Halo universe?

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After finishing the intensely satisfying Halo 3 :ODST, I'm wondering what's next for the highly successful Halo franchise, which has helped make Xbox 360 itself a success over many years.

It was hard to fault this latest addition, even without Master Chief. There was a credible replacement, Orbital Drop Shock Trooper (Rookie), who uses similar tactics and weapons and there were the usual strong campaign and intense battles, plus a great set of multiplayer options. Excellent weapon range and strong enemy AI add to the conclusion that Halo is an enduring franchise that continues to please. And I rated it 9 out of 10.



I'm pleased Halo seems far from over but what of the idea of a movie? Would it work?



I guess the answer is: only if it is done right. If Halo fans come out of the theatre saying it far underwhelmed their expectations, it could damage the franchise.



So far, games translated to movies have not usually worked at all, although ironically sophisticated big budget games are now looking more and more like movies especially with extensive cut scenes, cinematic graphics and rich specially composed orchestral soundtracks.



So far the plan for Peter Jackson to make a Halo movie has come to naught but in recent weeks there has been online speculation that gaming fan Steven Spielberg may be in talks to direct a Halo movie.



There were also online whispers of some sort of Japanese animation Halo series.



Even if all that is mere speculation or wishful thinking, game studios have not given up the idea of turning good game ideas into movies, which will further promote the actual gaming franchise.



Variety reported this week that 20th Century Fox has teamed up with EA to turn Will Wright's Spore game into an animated creature feature with the help of Ice Age's Chris Wedge and the writers of Disney's forthcoming movie The Princess and The Frog.



Again, there are two schools of thought as to whether this could work. Spore doesn't really have a strong storyline as such and was developed as an open-ended exploration that was novel because it included sharing your customised content with other players online.



Variety said this comes as other big screen versions lie in the pipeline for EA's The Sims, Army of Two, Dante's Inferno, and Mass Effect. Dead Space was completed.



On movie review site Rottentomatoes, last year's Max Payne movie adaption earned a dismal 18 per cent rating with one critic summing it up as a "total fail." The review from Australia's Film Ink site mourned that there simply has yet to be a decent film adapted from a video game.



"Why studios persist is a testament to the lobotomised throngs who encourage them by paying to see this type of gleet. Muddled, badly written and totally uninvolving, Max Payne is a misfire from its opening shot."



First attempts were wipeouts. Even for seasoned fans of the game, the 1995 Mortal Kombat managed only a rating of only 24 per cent and the 2002 Resident Evil movie scored 34 per cent with reviewers dismissing the concept of adapting movies from popular video games as being "flawed."



The consensus on Silent Hill (2006) was: "Visually impressive, but as with many video game adaptations, it's plagued by inane dialogue, a muddled plot, and an overlong runtime."



And sadly, one of the most loved games of all time, Doom, was doomed as a movie. Critic Cole Smithey wrote: Doom "is further evidence that movies should not be made as a byproduct of a video game" and then quoted leading US movie Roger Ebert critic as saying: "Doom is like some kid came over and is using your computer and won't let you play."



That 2005 effort earned a Rotten Tomatoes overall rating of only 20 per cent and like most of the above, you'll see the DVD floating around the cheap bins at DVD and DVD hire stores.



So maybe it's best not to mess with such an awesome story as Halo. I'll cancel the movie wish and await news of the next episode in the Halo game series.

Source: NZ Herald

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