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With next generation gaming consoles on the very near horizon, older video game titles are taking the world of comics by storm. At San Diego Comic Con, Dark Horse Comics, a publisher with more than a few video game adaptations in the works, announced an ongoing series based on Bungie’s hit video game title, Halo. It will be called Halo: Escalation, not be confused with Halo: Initiation, which debuts later this month.
Halo: Escalation is an exciting development, in part, because it is a continuation of the events of the wildly popular Halo 4, which was released by the Xbox 360 in the fall of 2012. In it, the UNSC Infinity finds itself in quite the diplomatic mess when a routine escort goes terribly wrong. With a cast of characters that Halo fans are sure to recognize, Halo: Escalation has the makings of a hit. Halo: Initiation, the title that will be out later this month, ties into the less known, Halo: Spartan Assault, which was a game released only for Microsoft Windows and the Windows phone, and which had a much smaller production team than its Xbox 360 counterpart.
The make-up of the creative team will excite those who are fans of science fiction comics. The head writer is Chris Schlerf, the writer of Halo 4. That news was somewhat expected—Dark Horse has a track record of getting the actual writers of games to pen the spin-offs. What is perhaps less expected, and all too appropriate, is who will be handling the art. Omar Francia, who has made a name for himself designing the graphics for Star Wars: Legacy and the comics based on the critically acclaimed Mass Effect series, will take the reigns. It’s safe to say that, in outer space, Francia knows what he’s doing.
The beauty of a game—soon to be comic— like Halo is that there is a literal universe of possible subject matter to explore. Schlerf himself was quoted saying, “There are many, many more stories we want to tell in the Halo universe than we’d ever be able to explore solely through the games.” His claim comes with no surprise; a video game is a massive production. A comic book, on the other hand, is just small enough to give the writer all the freedom they could ever want.
Halo: Escalation is slated for release on December 11th of this year. With Halo: Initiation coming out next month, the game franchise seems bent on expanding wider and wider into all mediums. Let’s hope it reads as well as it plays.