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Fan filmmakers beat Bad Robot to the punch with Half-Life: The Freeman Chronicles miniseries

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In one of the more incredible announcements in gaming and film over the last few months, Bad Robot and Valve are working together. Valve is making at least one game alongside J.J. Abrams beloved production company and Bad Robot is, in turn, looking at making movies out of Valve’s beloved video game series Portal and Half-Life. For fans of 21st century science fiction, it’s a match made in heaven, but it’s also a source of profound frustration. Abrams’ group is efficient, turning around movies like Cloverfield within a year of their being funded by a studio. Valve, on the other hand, is not exactly speedy. More than five years after releasing Half-Life 2: Episode 2’s cliffhanger ending, Valve has been reticent to even admit Half-Life 3 is in production. Fans hungry for that Bad Robot-produced Half-Life movie may be waiting for a long time. Lucky for them someone’s making their own Half-Life miniseries called The Freeman Chronicles.

Bernhard Forcher and Ian James Duncan made a name for themselves at the end of 2012 with “Enter the Freeman,” a short film (below) adapting Valve’s famous shooting game into a live-action movie complete with crowbar and fancy hazard suit for lead character Gordon Freeman. Now the two filmmakers are looking to expand their short into a six-episode miniseries called Half-Life: The Freeman Chronicles.

An Indiegogo campaign is looking to raise $75,000 for the production of the series. “We are confident we can get it done for $70,000 (Indiegogo takes $5,000)—that’s $11,667 an episode,” said the creators, “That’s not a lot for 40 minutes of a realistic live-action Freeman story. Action movies in Hollywood cost millions. We are going to make a 40 minute action movie for 70K.”

In an unusual turn, Duncan and Forcher have also left parts of their story unwritten so that fans who raise funds for the series can decide what they want to happen. “We have a core story that involved Gordon Freeman as our protagonist and the Commander of the HECU unit as the main antagonist. It first right in between Gordon reaching the surface and heading to the Lambda complex,” said the team, “In addition to being the financiers of the series, you, the fans, will get to help us choose between possible story scenarios!” The team will hold voting rounds to determine where the story goes. While choose your own adventure filmmaking tends not to be the most exciting—after all, you know what’s going to happen—it’s an interesting nod at Half-Life’s interactive roots.

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