Microsoft's recently announced Halo Channel, a destination for fans to soak up everything and anything Halo-related, has one key hook that might get you to watch its programming: Interacting with shows like the Ridley Scott-produced Halo: Nightfall will unlock in-game rewards in Halo 5: Guardians and Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
343 Industries executive producer Kiki Wolfkill said at Gamescom this week that the Halo Channel is designed to focus on interactivity with shows like Halo: Nightfall and other upcoming programming.
"When you get to the end of a show it will show you all the things you've unlocked and experienced," Wolfkill said, "and another key part of that is rewarding you for the things you've done in the channel and ecosystem. So, Halo: Nightfall for instance will have unlocks in The Master Chief Collection and in the Halo 5 beta that will carry into Halo 5 and vice versa.
"What we really want to do is create this really seamless ecosystem that allows you to experience different things together and be rewarded for that."
Wolfkill said players will be able to interact with shows like Nightfall and Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, as well as dive deeper into Halo lore with the channel's built-in encyclopedia of people, places and things. Wolfkill spoke of "secondary story arcs" as another means of interactivity that would connect shows, comics, books and games.
"Interactivity on top of the shows is something that's really important for us," she said. "We have to be really deliberate in how we think about that and about what kind of interactivity is really appropriate to the show that you're watching. For something like Forward Unto Dawn, which is very story driven, we want all the interactive features to be about enhancing your immersion and enhancing your understanding of the story, not pulling you out of it."
The Halo Channel will continually air a stream of Halo-related content, including already available original shows from Microsoft and Rooster Teeth, live streams from Twitch and a weekly update from 343 Industries called The Bulletin. Wolfkill says the channel will, over time, tailor its programming to your viewing habits.
"We will always curate a stream so that it almost feels like a traditional television network," she said, "but also has video on demand underneath it so you can always choose what you want to watch, when you want to watch it and create your own queue, your own playlist."
The ultimate goal, Wolfkill said, is "to create something that felt like a premium network, something that felt like HBO from a production value quality and perspective, but also bring in different types of programming and change what the idea of programming could mean."
The Halo Channel will be available as a free download for Xbox One, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices starting Nov. 11.