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Meet the new face of 'Halo'

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Mike Colter plays Agent Jameson Locke, and he's ready to take on Master Chief

Halo is, as ever, a force to be reckoned with. Tomorrow, Xbox One owners will be invited to play Halo: The Master Chief Collection, a compilation game that pulls together and, in places, remasters a series that saw its first release in 2001. It's easily gaming's biggest sci-fi saga, dragging us across the galaxy and back in an ongoing war that blends political theater with Aliens-style military action.

Mike Colter represents the next phase in the 'Halo' franchise

That the series' aesthetic owes so much to the Alien series may be one reason why 343 Industries tapped Ridley Scott to executive produce Halo: Nightfall, a five-part digital feature that puts us back on a ruined fragment of the original Halo ring from Halo: Combat Evolved. But instead of Master Chief, the series stars Agent Jameson Locke, a soldier tasked with stopping a Covenant insurgency. He's played by actor Mike Colter, and he'll go on to be a playable character in next year's Halo 5: Guardians. Colter represents the next phase in the franchise, and his is the series' newest face. In his words, this "is a huge deal."

"Well, the good thing about it is that I don’t have anybody to follow behind, because basically there’s no other person," he told me. "This is my face. This is it!"

Nightfall isn't the first successful attempt to bring the series into the real world — 2012's Forward Unto Dawn accomplish that already. This time around, though, things have gotten a bit more ambitious, with the action in Nightfall connecting to the game world and even to the eventual Halo television series. Colter, for his part, admitted that he isn't even a gamer, but was attracted to the series because of its scale.

"What appealed to me about the project was that they’re approaching it from a cinematic standpoint, and then following the film character into the game world. For me as an actor that was what was appealing. Ultimately, you don’t get asked to play these kind of characters very often. At least I don’t!"

"Ultimately, you don’t get asked to play these kind of characters very often."

Colter describes Locke as a "pragmatist," the kind of man who would die for the mission's sake, and he's the beating heart of this new series. Whether or not the entire effort was successful remains to be seen. The Verge watched Chapter One of the Nightfall last week and came away pretty unimpressed. But there are four more parts to turn things around, and, even at its best, the series could never really be accused of making the most sense. At this point, Colter's enthusiasm might be enough to give it a second chance.