Can you say, “Hail to the (Master) Chief?”

As part of the promotional materials for Xbox 360 sci-fi shooter Halo 4, Microsoft and 343 Industries have made an episodic, live-action digital series and are putting all of it up on the InterWebs, right on the Machinima Prime YouTube page.

The first episode of the digital series – entitled “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” (can someone translate that into Malay for me? Just for kicks) – has already gone live. Here, take a gander below.

Future episodes will be uploaded to Machinima Prime every Friday. If you like the series enough, make sure to pre-order a limited edition copy of Halo 4, which comes with an extended 90-minute-long version of the Forward Unto Dawn along with making-of featurettes.

Although this isn’t quite the live-action Halo movie that Peter Jackson was supposed to have produced, Forward Unto Dawn is still a worthwhile endeavour from Halo 4 developer 343 Industries. One that certainly inspires confidence in the troops – those brave men (and women) who shall rally (online) for a common cause (to frag the hell out of the Forerunners) come November 6, when the game finally drops.

In case you’re interested to find out who the folks behind Forward Unto Dawn are:

“Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” tells an exciting story of heroism and sacrifice on a scale never before seen in the “Halo” universe, taking fans back to the beginning of the human and Covenant war, and leading into the events of “Halo 4.” Set against the backdrop of a United Nations Space Command (UNSC) military academy, “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” follows a group of cadets who are training to be the next generation of soldiers in the UNSC’s ongoing war with insurrectionists in the outer colonial planets. Among these cadets, Thomas Lasky struggles with his doubts about the war, and with the burden of expectations he may not be able to carry. As Lasky comes to terms with his potential as a military leader, the terrifying alien alliance known as the Covenant arrives and turns his world upside down. Inspired by the Master Chief, he must decide what it means to be a hero. “Halo” fans who experience Lasky’s thrilling origin story in “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” will be rewarded with special insights into the story of “Halo 4” and the “Halo Infinity Multiplayer” experience. The story will unfold weekly through a series of five episodes, setting the stage for the worldwide launch of “Halo 4” on Nov. 6.

Directed by Stewart Hendler (“H+,” “Sorority Row”), written by Todd Helbing and Aaron Helbing (“Smallville,” “Spartacus”) and backed by a top-tier production team, including Executive Producers Lydia Antonini and Josh Feldman, former Warner Bros. and Playtone executives, respectively, “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” features a diverse cast of established and up-and-coming Hollywood talent, including Tom Green (“Dance Academy”) as Thomas Lasky, Anna Popplewell (The Chronicles of Narnia) as Chyler Silva, Daniel Cudmore (X2X-Men: The Last StandThe Twilight Saga) as the Master Chief, Ayelet Zurer (Angels & DemonsMunich) as Mehaffey, Mike Dopud (Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol) as General Black, Enisha Brewster (Footloose) as April Orenski, Masam Holden (“Grey’s Anatomy,” Elizabethtown) as Michael “Sully” Sullivan, Osric Chau (“2012”) as JJ Chen, Iain Belcher (“Supernatural”) as Vickers, and Kat De Lieva as Dimah.

“Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” is produced in association with Emmy®-winning production company Herzog & Company/HCO (Gettysburg and the forthcoming Killing Lincoln). Continuing its involvement with the “Halo” franchise, Legacy Effects (The Hunger GamesThe AvengersAvatar) is creating specialized costumes and armor, and visual effects are being created by Toronto-based Arc Productions bringing the Halo universe to life with fidelity never before seen.  Emmy-winner John Sullivan (“The Pacific”) is serving as the Visual Effects Supervisor for the production.


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