Variety reports that Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson is teaming with Microsoft to create Wingnut Interactive. The new company will produce at least two projects featuring videogame and interactive media components, starting with a spinoff of Halo which Jackson is executive producing with his partner Fran Walsh.
The deal was revealed at X06, a Microsoft videogame conference taking place in Barcelona. Variety says the deal is part of a broader strategy by Microsoft to expand its audience beyond the core game player demographic that makes up most of the Xbox audience. "We're looking for Peter to help us create interactive entertainment that will expand our audience into the mainstream," Microsoft Game Studios general manager Shane Kim told Variety.
The Kiwi film director's presence was apparently a big surprise, as was the Wingnut deal. Variety quoted him as saying the Halo project would be "not quite a game, not quite a film". Let's hope the results are a fusion of the best elements, not an attempt that ends up falling between two stools.