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Bungie, they aren't corporate... are they?

This past week's news on Halo 3 and all the upcoming goodies we'll be treated to in the next year makes my inner fanboy squeal with excitement. A new commercial, new Halo 2 maps, and an open beta for Halo 3 multiplayer, that's just nifty. But I can't help but feel a little ... how do I say this ... uneasy about how the Halo franchise is being handled. I'm not referring to Bungie themselves, because they have yet to let us down, but the corporate machine backing Halo. I just don't know, pre-rendered Halo 3 commercial (Bungie doesn't do pre-rendering), new maps for Halo 2 that must be purchased and only on the 360, Halo Wars being licensed off to a different studio ... blah, blah, blah. Maybe I'm just a little paranoid, maybe I'm just a little stressed tonight, but is Microsoft possibly playing the puppet-master card with Bungie just a little too much? I'll revisit this topic some other time I guess ... maybe I can talk to Frankie and he can calm my nerves. Frankie, if you're reading this, please comfort me ... please?

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Reader Comments

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1. On a scale of things I'm not worried about, this is near the bottom with the least of my worries.

I look at Microsoft extending the Halo property, much like George Lucas extends the Stars Wars properties. Countless design studios have created Star Wars games under the guidance of LucasArts. For the most part, many of them are pretty good.

I think Microsoft is attempting the same thing.

Posted at 10:28PM on Nov 18th 2006 by nick

2. I get the same feeling. Reading Frankie's big update post, I had the sneaking impression that Bungie wishes they could release the new H2 maps for the old Xbox, but it's not up to them.

I also think that we're being pacified with the new maps and the Halo 3 beta. I bet Bungie and Microsoft had a production meeting, and MS said "WHAT? You need HOW much more time??" and they agreed upon this course of action.

But the good news is, Microsoft is (likely) staying out of Bungie's creative hair on the project, and is (likely) not pressuring them on a release date. They could've forced a Halo release for the 360, or to compete with PS3. I still have faith that Bungie is in charge of the project.

Posted at 10:32PM on Nov 18th 2006 by J.R.

3. they have no time for silly halo rts , there to busy knocking out Halo MMO , ohh and halo3 obv .

Posted at 10:33PM on Nov 18th 2006 by veto

4. I always got the sense that Bungie was forced by MS to curtail the ending of Halo 2 to pave the way for Halo 3. I remember reading an interview posted a year or so before Halo 2's release where a Bungie employee said that they were going to leave the franchise alone for a while after Halo 2's release. Other pre-release info led me to believe the same thing; Bungie was planning to create something new for the 360. Also, in the documentary included with the CE, Bungie talks about a drastic shift/setback during the development of the game.

What happened? Was it really in the cards to awkwardly end Halo 2 at the very beginning of the second act all along? (poorly done no matter how you spin it. Good cliffhangers still have a 3 act story) Or did MS intervene?

Posted at 11:27PM on Nov 18th 2006 by Luke

5. They have complete over their series of games. They only do what they trust will be good. So far, Halo PC was good, Halo 2 Vista will be good. They made sure the movie would be good(If it is going to be made)

It's AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW RIGHT guys

Posted at 12:11AM on Nov 19th 2006 by Darko

6. Pre-rendered commercials: See Halo Wars.

Halo Wars being outsourced? Do you really think the same game design for a RTS can take place within Bungie who's bread and butter is an entirely different genre? Ensemble has never put out a bad RTS and Halo Wars will be great. Sure they have major corporate backing but so did Gears of War. Microsoft is still in this business to make money but they also know the driving force behind making money is having companies make great games. With that corporate backing think of the extra R&D dollars that Bungie is getting in order to do everything they could possibly want to do with the franchise. More power to them.

Here's my concern. They back Bungie so much that they don't pay enough attention to [insert crazy video game title] start up company that's small and only has the money & time to put a small game on the arcade and only after 1.5 years of work can they even finish an absolute gem of a game (Small Arms).

Back the big guys but don't forget those startup companies that may be nothing more than a couple of high-school kids with a dream. In case you haven't noticed those kids know their games inside and out and are going to be the next Bungie or Epic.

Posted at 12:14AM on Nov 19th 2006 by Eisen4

7. Eisen4, you've never heard of Myth or Myth II? Bungie has made RTS games before.

http://www.bungie.net/Games/Myth/page.aspx?section=FAQInfo&subsection=FAQs&page=1

Nick

Posted at 2:00AM on Nov 19th 2006 by Nick

8. I think putting Ensemble on Halo Wars was a great move. Besides, I believe I read it was Ensemble who approached Bungie with the idea, the project hasn't been wrestled away from them.

Frankly, I'm puzzled by this post, I see no reason for any concern whatsoever. Let's not forget that Bungie IS Microsoft, they're not an independent studio anymore.

Posted at 3:30AM on Nov 19th 2006 by insane_cobra

9. The only move that concerns me is limiting the Halo 2 maps to 360 users.

The beta is going to have late comers buying it anyway, the maps just seem like an added, evil arm twist.

As for Ensemble taking the RTS... well... I'm not too happy about that because I haven't enjoyed an Ensemble game since AoE2, and if they have me sending Marines to build farms, I'm gonna shit a brick. But I've got a feeling that what went down was that Bungie had the general gameplay ideas left over from the original incarnation of Halo, and Microsoft wanted to capitalize on it, so they got Ensemble, a seasoned RTS developer, to flesh out the concepts and build the game. I'd have prefered if Relic was the devshop that got the job, but it's cool to see the Halo as strategy game idea come to fruition.

I haven't heard about this pre-rendered thing... what's that about?

Posted at 4:43AM on Nov 19th 2006 by Danno

10. i could not agree with you more

a video game sequel
a spin off game
a movie
a game that's not a game but sort of like a movie
more maps for a 2.5 year old game

at some point it starts to feel like product whoring, and I'm at that point.

Posted at 9:19AM on Nov 19th 2006 by JRock3x8-2o2p

11. Don't forget the whole you need Vista to play Halo 2 on the PC. And they've ignored the shitty emulation until now, when they can squeeze more money out of Halo 2 players.

Posted at 9:35AM on Nov 19th 2006 by dan s.

12. Youu seee there's these corporations... and they are corporationy you see.. and we must do what we must to stop the corporations from being corporationy!!!

Posted at 11:17AM on Nov 19th 2006 by brad

13. The corporations are EVERYWHERE!!! AAAAHHHHHHH!!!

Posted at 11:19AM on Nov 19th 2006 by brad

14. I like saw this documentary that said that like corporations were evil and stuff because like if they were a person they would be like a psychopath because like all they care about is like making money and stuff. So we need to like join together and like oppose the corporations cuz like making money is the root of all evil and stuff like..yea.

Posted at 11:25AM on Nov 19th 2006 by Fred

15. Someone stop him... he's learned TOO much. The mind control chip in his head must have malfunctioned. Shit. We can't have an 'aware' amongst us. It will disrupt 'the system'. Kill him before it's too late.

Posted at 11:30AM on Nov 19th 2006 by Fred

16. What's this "money" that you speak of? Sounds like a really evil thingamabob.

Posted at 11:48AM on Nov 19th 2006 by insane_cobra

17. Having been a Bungie fan since the Marathon / Pathways into Darkness days, I was truly worried when Microsoft acquired Bungie. But, for the most part, things haven't been bad. Halo and Halo 2 were good games (I'm not a RABID fan, but they're good.) Concerning the prerendered stuff: Gamers can tell the difference. So, if they're trying to pass off CGI as in-game, gamers will call them on it. The "whoring" of the license? Well, that's business. So long as the games don't suffer, who cares, right? Let them license Halo to as much stuff as possible. That's more revenue for Bungie, which equates to higher development budgets and more good games for gamers.

Posted at 1:34PM on Nov 19th 2006 by Forceusr

18. Bungie is still a great studio, but Microsoft's buying them out has certainly hurt their quality... Halo 1 was originally being developed as a Mac title(and almost complete), so when Microsoft bought them out all they had to do was port it to the Xbox. Here's why the single-player in Halo 2 sucked: Bungie's original design team quit after the Microsoft buyout-these were people who knew the direction that Microsoft would take the Halo series in. The new designers came up with crap like Brutes. Bungie has always been a developer focused on the plot and single player campaign; unfourtunately, I fear that their games will never have the same magic that they once did ever again. Just try the Marathon series to see what I mean- Halo's based in their universe, but even it's plot doesn't quite match their excellence.

Posted at 5:08PM on Nov 19th 2006 by Austin

19. I'm not worried because I don't think that Microsoft is sticking their nose in the development of Halo 3, and that's what really matters to me. The commercial doesn't affect the end product, and so that's fine. And with Halo Wars, I feel with all Ensemble's great past work (Age of Empires) they've proven themselves in the RTS arena. I think I actually trust them more with a Halo RTS than Bungie themselves.

Posted at 3:26AM on Nov 20th 2006 by Logan T.

20. I've made the switch, and I'm loving it. Of course, I'll have to check out the new Halo maps when they come out, but for now Gears has my attention.

Posted at 3:31AM on Nov 20th 2006 by Logan T.

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