Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Paramount+
GAMING & ESPORTS MEDIA

‘Halo’ and the State of Video Game Adaptations on TV

Following the launch of the Halo series on Paramount+, Boardroom dives into how video game adaptations have progressed over time.

Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, and Mortal Kombat are some of the most popular video games turned into motion pictures, and Halo is joining the club with its newest series.

Video game adaptions on TV aren’t new, but there’s been an uptick in recent years. Production houses are showing a more significant interest in the longevity of seeing video games on the big screen by creating series.

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Paramount+ released the first episode of the Halo series on March 24. The TV adaptation is inspired by the famous military sci-fi gaming franchise developed by 343 Industries. Up until this point, gamers could only experience Halo via Xbox or PC, but the TV series taps into a whole new audience pool.

Halo is known for its first-person shooter experience and storytelling tidbits mixed with gameplay. The much-anticipated TV series draws from the popular game while also creating new storylines of its own. Viewers familiar with Halo can expect to see many parts of the franchise, including the lead Spartan soldier, Master Chief, the antagonist group, the Covenant, the planet Reach, and the never-ending intergalactic war.

But what’s up with streaming services tapping into video games, anyway? There’s a bigger trend here, so we wanted to break down some of the major moves other media companies are making in the gaming space.

Streaming services and gaming adaptations

Netflix announced the acquisition of another gaming studio last week. The growing subscription streaming and production company bought Texas-based Boss Fight Entertainment. This is the third gaming company Netflix has brought under its wing following its acquisition of Night School and Next Games. Netflix is making its priorities clear: it’s making a big push into the gaming space. Aside from streaming shows and movies, Netflix is on a mission to also offer ad-free games as part of its subscription services.

“This studio’s extensive experience building hit games across genres will help accelerate our ability to provide Netflix members with great games wherever they want to play them,” Netflix’s VP of game studios, Amir Rahimi, said in a statement.

One of Netflix’s most successful video game adaptions is its depiction of The Witcher and its working on a Resident Evil series. The company also launched Netflix Games in November 2021 — its gaming arm building mobile games, with some inspired by its original shows.

God of War, the action-adventure game franchise from PlayStation, could be heading to the big screen soon with a deal with Amazon Prime, Deadline reported earlier this month. This isn’t the only deal Amazon Studios has on the table, though, and the streaming platform has multiple video game adaptions in the works. Amazon is developing two series based on the post-apocalyptic game Fallout and Mass Effect, another military science fiction video game franchise.

Amazon also recently announced a partnership with dj2 Entertainment. The digital content production company will be adapting video game titles under the Amazon Video brand.

Peacock is another streaming platform working on various video game adaptions, including a live-action-comedy adaptation of PlayStation’s Twisted Metal. HBO also inked a deal to develop a live-action adaptation of the post-apocalyptic action-adventure game titled the Last of Us.

Paramount+ is in it for the long haul

Bringing these historical video games to life can’t be cheap.

Circling back to Paramount+, the streaming platform company spent a whopping $90 million to develop the Halo series, showing that the streaming platform is more than invested in ensuring the series is a success. And get this: the Halo series was renewed for a second season before the pilot episode even aired.

Halo takes us into a dazzling world that we believe will enthrall audiences as much with its electrifying visuals as its bold, character-driven storytelling,” David Nevins, Paramount+’s chief content officer of scripted originals, said in an official release. “This second-season pickup reflects the confidence we have in the power of this epic series to attract and engage viewers.”

Paramount didn’t share specific rating numbers from Halo’s opening night, but the company reported that the show set a new global record as the most-watched series in the first 24 hours of release under its brand. Halo’s premiere beat out the Yellowstone prequel 1883, which attracted 4.9 million viewers when it aired in December 2021.

There is so much ground the Halo series could cover and create, so we’ll be watching to see how Paramount+ continues to bring the video game to life. Through a partnership with ViacomCBS and Twitter, there will be weekly after-show watch party discussions where fans can come together to talk about the series, tap into behind-the-scenes highlights, hear from celebrity guests, and more. Every Monday, 343 Industries will be releasing blog posts recapping the previous week’s episodes. Here’s the first edition.

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