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Microsoft plans ‘Halo’ TV series, game in ’15

– Master Chief is returning to the battlefield next year.

Microsoft announced plans Friday to release the video game sequel “Halo 5: Guardians” for the Xbox One and a “Halo” television series to be produced by Steven Spielberg in fall 2015. The next entry in the sci-fi shooter series starring super-soldier Master Chief will run at 60 frames a second on a new engine created by “Halo” developer 343 Studios.

“ ‘Halo 5: Guardians’ is obviously a big deal for us,” said Frank O’Connor, franchise development director at 343. “It’s the next chapter in the Master Chief saga. It’s also a big deal for us because of the transition to the Xbox One platform. All of the ‘Halo’ games – more or less – have added something to the Xbox ecosystem.”

Bonnie Ross, general manager at 343 Studios, noted that additional plans this year for the “Halo” franchise would be announced June 9 at Microsoft’s presentation at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the largest annual gathering of the gaming industry.

At last year’s E3, Microsoft showed footage featuring a cloaked figure revealed to be Master Chief encountering a bird-like robot in a desert with the words “2014: Your Journey Begins on Xbox One.”

“Halo: Combat Evolved” launched in 2001 on the original Xbox and became a cultural sensation, spawning several sequels, spin-offs, novels and comic books set within the game’s universe.

“Halo 4,” which was released in 2012 for the Xbox 360, smashed entertainment industry records by making $300 million in its opening week.

The Xbox One could use a boost from Master Chief. Microsoft Corp. said last month that sales of its latest console had slowed to 1.2 million in the quarter through March, compared to the 3.9 million it sold during the holiday season. The total of 5.1 million was behind the 7 million in sales of the PlayStation 4 by Sony Corp.

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