Microsoft Inks Game Deal with Peter Jackson

Microsoft announced yesterday that it has entered a partnership with Oscar-winning husband-and-wife team Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh to create the third installment of the Halo Xbox video game franchise, as well as an entirely original game.

Director, writer, and producer Jackson and screenwriter Walsh brought the enormously successful Lord of the Rings trilogy and (more recently) King Kong to movie screens and innumerable DVD players worldwide. Almost a year ago, Microsoft signed Jackson and Walsh as executive producers for a theatrical movie based on the Halo franchise.

“Microsoft has built an amazing living canvas with Xbox 360 and Xbox Live, which allows the storytellers of our time to express themselves in a new medium. They have fundamentally changed how people think about games,” Jackson said in a statement. “My vision, together with Microsoft Game Studios, is to push the boundaries of game development and the future of interactive entertainment. From a movie-maker’s point of view, it is clear to me that the Xbox 360 platform is the stage where storytellers can work their craft in the same way they do today with movies and books but taking it further with interactivity.”

Under the terms of the deal, Jackson and Walsh will collaborate with Microsoft’s Bungie Studios to author two new interactive entertainment series for the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live platforms. The first will be a new series set in the Halo universe, while the second will be an entirely original property specifically designed to bring new audiences to the Xbox platform.

Separately, Microsoft Game Studios has also announced Halo Wars, a new real-time strategy title based on the Halo universe and developed by Ensemble Studios, creators of the Age of Empires franchise, in which players will command human armies as they first engage Covenant forces.