Skip to main content

Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

What did Alien director Ridley Scott actually do for Halo: Nightfall?

"I'm not going to pretend his footprints and fingerprints are all over it..."

One of the first things Microsoft announced about its upcoming Halo: Nightfall mini-series was that it would somehow include the involvement of director Ridley Scott.

Scott's name sounds good in a press release and will no doubt be plastered on the back of the Halo: Master Chief Collection box (a purchase of which will unlock the five-episode feature). But what did he actually do?

The Alien, Blade Runner and Gladiator director is credited as an executive producer - a role that is often nebulous at best. So, during a session showing off the Master Chief Collection at Tokyo Games Show, we asked Microsoft what it had gained from Scott's involvement fee.

"He's there when we're building the story, he's there when we're breaking the script, he's there when we're picking locations, he helps with casting," Halo franchise boss Frank O'Connor told Eurogamer. "I don't want to get into this but he has strong opinions about things - most directors do.

"[Nightfall] is our director Sergio Mimica-Gezzan's vision but Ridley carries a big stake and gets input on things. I'm not going to pretend [Scott's] footprints and fingerprints are all over it but it's a small organisation with a lot of collaborative creatives."

Top of those creatives is a small team made up of O'Connor himself, Scott and Mimica-Gezzan, a director with experience helming episodes of TV shows such as Battlestar Galactica, Heroes and Prison Break.

Putting this team together was fairly straightforward - Microsoft shopped around the Nightfall project to a number of studios but quickly found Scott's own outfit, Scott Free Productions, to be the best fit.

Watch on YouTube

Apart from acquiring Scott's own name, the choice of studio does makes sense. The production company has plenty of experience creating TV mini-series-style projects and, most recently with Prometheus, carries with it some serious sci-fi chops.

"Scott Free Productions, it's easy to think of them as a large organisation," O'Connor explained, "but it's actually quite small. Every knows each other, it's not like a licensing tier where Ridley is disconnected with the day to day operations."

When asked for a example of something specific which Scott had brought to the production, O'Connor pointed to a change in shooting location - and the series' overall story - that Scott directly asked for.

"One of [Scott's] ideas of where we could film it completely changed one aspect of the story which I won't go into," O'Connor concluded. "It sounds a bit weird but he's a huge fan of the environments in terms of how they help tell stories.

"His thoughts on where to film it to make it look alien - and he had a great experience with the last Alien movie in Iceland - actually affected the story quite dramatically."

Nightfall is set to tell a tale set between Halo 4 and Halo 5 starring new character Agent Jameson Locke (played by The Good Wife's Mike Colter), apparently one of Halo 5's key players. The story will also include some sort of link to the upcoming full Halo TV series - that's the one which instead involves Steven Spielberg. We'll try and find out about his involvement next.