Unless you have been living under a rock over the last 12 months, you would have seen a lot of hype surrounding the impending release of Microsoft and 343 Industries new game Halo 4. Some of the hype has included promotional tie-ins with pizza, soft-drinks and snacks. And some has been original content produced to keep players interested until the release.
Back in July, Microsoft released a teaser trailer followed by a full trailer at Comic Con in the US for something called Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn.
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn was a live-action digital series that took fans back to the terrifying beginning of the Human/Covenant war, when the Master Chief inspired a young cadet who would eventually become a leader aboard the UNSC's greatest vessel: the UNSC Infinity.
During the summer months Microsoft released a number of vignettes for FUD. These vignettes very quickly began to set the scene for the full series, which would air over 5 weeks starting at the beginning of October 2012, with the final part airing the week before Halo 4 was released. These 5 parts would air on both the Machinima network and also on the Halo Waypoint website.
The first episode aired and slowly began to introduce us to the cadets at Corbulo Academy, and in particular Cadet Thomas Lasky. Over the course of the five episodes we find out that all is not what is seems, and it's not long before the Covenant invade Corbulo and the cadets are fighting for their lives. And just when everything looks hopeless and all is lost, enter John, also known as Spartan 117 or as we know him better, Master Chief!
I won't reveal anymore, in case there are still people who haven't seen all the parts yet, and if you haven't make sure you do before playing Halo 4 as the game, and the events in Forward Unto Dawn are linked!
Just after the second part aired, Microsoft invited me to a very exclusive and very private screen of the extended cut of the full length Halo 4 Forward Unto Dawn series. I jumped at the chance, not only because I am huge Halo fan, but because I would be able to see all the parts as a single movie, and three weeks before anyone else. Although I have to say it's been a very long three weeks not being able to talk about it!
I was very impressed with both the production value and the story itself - it wasn't just an alien battle story, it was more than that, and it introduced characters we could actually get behind, and there were even a few surprises thrown in. For example, in the second part, during the fight at lunch, the janitor watching the fight is actually Frank O'Connor from 343 Industries - blink though and you might miss him.
Whilst the majority of the story takes place twenty years before the events of Halo 4, the very beginning and the end are actually part of Halo 4, and again, without giving anything away, have a major bearing on the story of Halo 4.
After the screening, which I thoroughly enjoyed, the director Stewart Hendler and British actress Anna Popplewell (who joined us for the screening) held a Q&A session, which you can watch below.
After the Q&A I also had the privilege of interviewing Anna Popplewell. Anna might be recognisable to many as she appeared in The Chronicles Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, where she played Susan.
Here is the interview with Anna.
If you want to watch the extended cut of Halo 4 Forward Unto Dawn you can get it as part of the Halo 4 Limited Edition pack, which is available from midnight on the 6th November.
Have you watched all five parts of Halo 4 Forward Unto Dawn? What did you think of it? Let us know by leaving comment below.