It seems that when 343 Industries decides that it’s time to discuss their next Halo project, they don’t hold anything back. Besides releasing set photos and cast shots of the upcoming live-action web series Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, story details confirm that the saga predates the previous games by three decades.

The minds behind both Halo 4 and the series have long been referring to the fact that the story of the next game began with the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn long before the Master Chief ended up marooned on the vessel at the close of Halo 3. What many might not have expected is just how long before the last game the story would be taking place.

According to Kevin Grace, 343’s Franchise Manager, the series follows the students of Corbula Academy, a military school for the upper-crust of humanity’s families roughly thirty years before Halo: Combat Evolved. The goal of the school is not just to train the students to fight against the colonial Insurrectionists – a battle fought long before the arrival of the Covenant – but to buy into the moral reasons behind fighting the rebel organization.

Halo 4 Forward Unto Dawn Lasky

The story follows Cadet Thomas Lasky, played by Tom Green (Dance Academy), a young man with the potential to lead those around him, but is not willing to accept the black-and-white nature of the war he’s being asked to one day lead. The younger audience will be happy to know that Lasky shares a budding romance with Cadet Chyler Silva, played by Anna Popplewell (The Chronicles of Narnia) before deciding to leave the school.

Of course, that’s when the Covenant and, more importantly, the armored goliath known as Master Chief arrives on the scene. To get an idea of the carnage that will ultimately lead to, and the cast of up-and-coming young men and women who populate the Academy, feast your eyes on the new gallery of set photos. Did we mention there’s a real life Master Chief?

Thirty years younger than the original Halo game means that Steve Downes’ famous voice wouldn’t quite fit. As a result, the suit of armor – and external speakers – will be embodied by Daniel Cudmore, having previously lent his size and strength to the role of Colossus in both X-2 and X-Men: Last Stand. Fans would no doubt have loved to have a say in the very first live-action casting of Master Chief, but it’s clear Microsoft isn’t taking this project lightly.

From the reports on Forward Unto Dawn so far, a few things are becoming increasingly clear. While it is still unclear what a group of children have to do with the Forerunner Shield World the Chief and Cortana crash-land on, Thomas Lasky is a name fans should get familiar with. Thirty years before the Halo trilogy means the young Cadet would be old enough and, if inspired by the Chief’s example as much as he could be, qualified enough to have become a high-ranking member of the UNSC. What that means for gameplay is unclear, but damn interesting regardless.

With the project being directed by Stewart Hendler (Sorority Row), and scribed by a few former writers of Smallville and Spartacus, the potential is there for the team to come up with a fresh mix of military combat and honest adolescent experience. We won’t know until more of the series is shown, but it’s hard not to be optimistic from what we’ve seen already.

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn will be released via Halo Waypoint and Machinima starting October 5, leading up to the launch of Halo 4 on November 6, 2012.

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Source: Halo Waypoint