Xbox shows off lineup of original TV shows

Microsoft reveals more information on its upcoming original programming, including the Halo series and a reality series from Aussie Paul de Gelder.

When Microsoft launched the Xbox One, it made a big deal about the prospect of original TV series being made specifically for the console.

(Credit: Microsoft)

They even trooped Steven Spielberg on to the stage to talk about the upcoming Halo series, along with developer 343 Industries saying it was working on "exclusive interactive Xbox One content". It was all a little mystifying.

Now, 11 months later, Microsoft has revealed a little more information about the really quite extensive list of shows it's working on. And it's not just Xbox One either — the Xbox Originals, as they've been styled, will be available on Xbox One, Xbox 360 and "other Microsoft devices".

Microsoft has divided the shows into two categories: Committed Projects and Projects in Development. We'd assume that means that you shouldn't necessarily get your hopes up for the shows still to be developed.

Committed shows

Halo: Still live-action, still has Speilberg as executive producer, still being made with Amblin Television and 343 Industries.

Every Street United: Two soccer players, Thierry Henry and Edgar Davids, head to eight different countries to find the "most gifted and undiscovered street stars". Eight half hour episodes, culminating in a one hour finale where the eight stars play a 4 versus 4 game in Rio. This is set to air in June.

Bonnaroo: The 13th Bonnaroo music festival runs from 13 June to 15 June and you'll be able to see it via this "app", which, according to Microsoft, is the only place that you'll get all of the interactive features. Although its not yet clear what those are.

Signal to Noise: This is the working title for six film documentaries being made around the rather broad topic of modern technology. The series is being produced by Simon Chinn and Jonathon Chinn who have two Oscars and an Emmy between them.

The first instalment is Atari: Game Over which looks at the excavation of the millions of unsold copies of the ET video game, consigned to the land fill of history back in 1983. It's directed by Zak Penn.

Humans: This is a UK production of a Swedish show called Real Humans where a family buy a refurbished robotic servant called a 'synth' and discover that "sharing life with a machine has far-reaching and chilling consequences". Casting doesn't actually begin until May 2014, so the production of the eight hour-long episodes may take some time.

Halo Digital Feature: This is being made by 343 Industries and Scott Free productions, with Ridley Scott as executive producer. And there's not much more information.

Projects in development

Deadlands: Based on the weird western pen-and-paper RPG of the same name.

Extraordinary Believers: A stop-motion show being done by the Robot Chicken team.

Fearless: The working title for a reality series starring Paul de Gelder "on an adrenaline-fuelled quest to aid individuals who risk their lives to make the world a better place".

Gun Machine: Based on the hard-boiled detective novel from Warren Ellis.

Winterworld: Based on Chuck Dixon's the graphic novel of the same name.

Untitled JASH Project: JASH is a comedy collective founded by Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, Tim and Eric, and Reggie Watts. Each episode will have a different comedian curating a show "featuring new and unsung talent, in various video formats". If you ask us, this sounds dangerously like a clip riff show. Or even a YouTube party.

Microsoft is also hyping the interactive features of the Xbox Originals. According to the media release "every Xbox Original will offer interactive capabilities, as well as unique interactive features customised on a per-show basis".

While it's not clear entirely what this will mean for every show, we did get a hint recently from Paul de Gelder himself.

You may remember that de Gelder ran a boot camp for the launch of Elysium in a bold attempt to kill a number of journalists. We bumped into him at a different event where he talked a little about shooting Fearless.

While most of the conversation was off the record, he did talk about having a heart-rate monitor hooked up to him at one point. When the show would air on the Xbox One, the idea that the rumble triggers on the controller would beat in time with his heart, letting the watcher get a sense of his level of fear and excitement in the given scenario.

Whether or not that's super compelling interactive content depends on the taste of the viewer, but for our money it's a lot more novel and interesting that just having a twitter feed run down the side of the screen...

 

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