Halo Anime Announced Alongside New 'Waypoint' Information Hub for Xbox Live

By Chris Faylor, Jul 23, 2009 10:33am PDT Microsoft today announced "Halo Legends," a collection of short films produced by various Japanese animation houses, including those responsible for Ghost in the Shell, Blood: The Last Vampire, Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist and Dragon Ball.

Similar in concept to The Animatrix or Batman: Gotham Knight, each short will explore "different times, themes and characters" in the universe, with each sporting a distinct visual style. Microsoft Game Studios will be producing the series through its just-revealed 343 Industries division, which is dedicated entirely to the successful Halo franchise.

Microsoft also announced a Xbox Live "destination" called "Halo Waypoint," said to be a new information hub that will provide fans with related news, activities, behind-the-scenes videos, screenshots, podcasts, and so forth along with "a career system and player rankings tied to both in-game and out-of-game accomplishments related to Halo."

"A preview of select Halo Legends" will first be available through Halo Waypoint this fall, before Warner Bros. brings the release to stores at an as-yet-unknown date.

The Los Angeles Times was able to get some details on the various shorts:

Studio4 C's project, tentatively called "Origins," is a two-parter that's about 30 minutes long in total and tells the entire 100,000 year history of the Halo universe. Another, from Toei, is the only one outside of the official canon and pokes fun at some of the game's characters.

Meanwhile, Microsoft offered up some background info on the involved studios:

  • Bones. Founded in 1998, Bones has become one of the top animation studios in Japan in less than a decade. The studio is best known for its incredible body of work on mega-hit franchises such as "Cowboy Bebop: The Movie," "Fullmetal Alchemist," "Sword of the Stranger" and "Eureka Seven."
  • Casio Entertainment. Casio Entertainment was founded in 2004 and is renowned for its visual effects work on the movie "Dai Nipponjin" ("Big Man of Japan"), which was officially invited to the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and nominated for Best Visual Effects at the 2008 Asian Film Awards. Casio Entertainment is also known for its computer-generated animation support work on several top Japanese video games.
  • Production I.G. Production I.G has produced a number of acclaimed feature films, original video animation, TV shows and video games. For their storytelling and quality of animation, "Ghost in the Shell," "Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade" and "Blood: The Last Vampire" have earned critical accolades in Japan and all around the world. "Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence," directed by Mamoru Oshii in 2004, was the first Japanese animation feature ever to compete for the Palme d'Or at the Festival de Cannes.
  • STUDIO4 C. STUDIO4 C is one of the top animation studios in Japan. Founded by the industry veteran Eiko Tanaka and acclaimed animation artist Koji Morimoto, it has become globally known for its uncanny ability to marry the spirit of high art with mainstream anime aesthetic. STUDIO4 C is known for works including "The Animatrix," "Tekkonkinkreet" and "Batman: Gotham Knight."
  • Toei Animation. Toei Animation, established in 1956, is the oldest animation studio in Japan. Toei has produced the largest number of global hit TV anime series for kids, such as "Dragon Ball," "Digimon," "Sailor Moon," "One Piece" and many more.
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    12 Threads | 34 Comments

    • Here's my theory. You know how Microsoft has been closing down studios like Ensemble because it didn't fit into their new strategic plan whatever that may be? I think this 343 Industries and efforts like this Halo Animatrix are the first results of those reallocated dollars. One thing about Sony's large exclusive line up this year made me aware of how many studios they have under their belt (probably accrued from the PS2 glory days). I think Microsoft is now in the stages of building up a similar portfolio to support the 360. I think come late 2010 or 2011 you are going to be seeing and hearing about a lot more 360 exclusives. People talk about Sony's lineup this year. I think the tables will be turned in a couple years.