First original XBox series will start with documentary on Atari and fabled 'E.T.' game

By Daniel S Levine,

The first original XBox feature from Microsoft will center on video games, but won’t be boasting about the company’s own successes. Rather, the first film will focus on Atari and one of the most notorious video games of all time, E.T.: The Video Game.

The film will be also be the first production from Lightbox, a company created by Oscar winning documentary filmmaker Simon Chinn (Man on a Wire, Searching for Sugar Man). According to the LA Times, Chinn founded the company with his cousin, Emmy winner Jonathan Chinn (American High, The Real L Word: Los Angeles).

“Our collaboration with Xbox offers an unparalleled opportunity to make a unique series of films around the extraordinary events and characters that have given rise to the digital age,” Chinn said in a statement.

The failure of Atari’s E.T. game to cash in on the success of Steven Spielberg’s film is one of the most legendary and infamous tales in the video game world. Atari supposedly sold so little copies that they ended up with millions sitting in a pile, which they then buried in the New Mexico desert, according to legend.

“When Simon and Jonathan Chinn approached me about this story, I knew it would be something important and fascinating,” director Zak Penn said, reports The Wall Street Journal. “I wasn’t expecting to be handed the opportunity to uncover one of the most controversial mysteries of gaming lore.”

Microsoft has been looking to add original programming to XBox Live for months now. Back in May, it was reported that Spielberg would co-produce a series based on the Halo games.

The E.T. documentary will start filming next month and should be available on Xbox One and Xbox 360 next year.

image: YouTube clip


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