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New Halo anime films on the way

They'll be released early next year.

Microsoft is working on a series of seven short anime films titled Halo Legends.

According to the LA Times, the films are being produced by Japanese studios Bones, Casio Entertainment, Production I.G., Studio4 C and Toei Animation. Shinji Aramaki, director of Appleseed and Appleseed Ex Machina, has been appointed as creative director on the project.

Aramaki will direct one of the shorts himself. It will focus on the history of the Spartans. "I liked that this would be an anthology of human stories told from different characters' perspectives," he said.

Studio4 C's film, which has the working title Origins, will be presented in two parts of 15 minutes each and will tell the whole story of the Halo universe. Toei's short will take a humorous look at some of the series' characters.

Microsoft has allowed the studios creative freedom when it comes to the visual style of the films but 343 Industries, the company's Halo division, is approving storylines and helping out with the details.

"Depending on the studio we did everything from writing the stories to feeding them with characters and scenarios they could explore," said Frank O'Connor, creative director at 343.

"I think the core Halo fans will recognise key moments from the universe never shown in the game. They're moments where people wanted more depth. That's where this fits."

The Halo Legends films will launch on Xbox Live this autumn. Microsoft will then team up with Warner Bros. for a release on DVD, Blu-ray and "other digital platforms" in early 2010.