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Bungie: New Project To Be 'Even Better And Bigger' Than  Halo
Bungie: New Project To Be 'Even Better And Bigger' Than Halo Exclusive
April 30, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander

Bungie has widely stated its intention to build a "universe" with the new project at the core of its ten-year exclusive Activision deal. Certainly, the team's experienced at this -- Halo became an enormous franchise with multiple installments, a set of novels and even a board game.

But not only does Bungie hope to reprise the scale of that performance, it aims to top it. "We're in a really strong position with, I think, a lot of really good plans," design director Joe Staten tells Gamasutra.

"This is an opportunity for us to try to do it all again, but even better and bigger this time," he adds.

Halo was born as a launch title for the original Xbox, Microsoft's yet-untested first steps into the console market, and yet its world proliferated beyond Bungie's original expectations on the back of that game.

So Bungie has high aims for what it can accomplish with a property conceived on a grand scale from the get-go. "We weren't focused on just signing a deal to ship a game," Staten says of the new agreement with Activision. "It's really about signing a deal for a long term partnership, to create any gaming expereience that makes sense in this universe."

"If we look back 10 years ago, we only wish we had this kind of foresight," he adds, reflecting on Halo's launch. "At that time, we were terrified about shipping a single title for launch for a new platform on time. To be honest, we weren't thinking too much beyond that."

"But we're in a radically different position now. As someone who was part of the team that shipped Halo 1, I'm really excited."

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Merc Hoffner
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I'm pleased to know that this industry leading studio has decided to work on better and bigger things rather than smaller and inferior ones. This insight has been useful and inspiring.

Leo Gura
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Let me guess, Halo 4?

Emmell Seasmith
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Silly people, the writing's been on the wall for over two years - Marathon: Beginnings

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This is really old news. Bungie said the same thing, literally, two years ago on their website and in countless interviews, mainly with EGM, Game Pro, and IGN.

Caleb Evans
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That's because the IP has been floating around for almost 3 years. If not more. After breaking from Microsoft they wanted to end the Halo series with a bang before moving on to their next universe. Which resulted in Reach. When Reach production started a few senior members directed their focus to the new IP. As far as their deal with Activision is concerned, Bungie had been talking with them for 9 months to a year before signing. Additionally, before the Infinity Ward mess. Execs from both Bungie and Activision said that the deal had nothing to do with Infinity Ward. Furthermore, Bungie recently trademarked Marathon and Bungie Aerospace.

Logan Foster
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Good on the Bungie team to get themselves such a lucrative deal from a studio that is looking to recover from the loss of Infinity Ward. However I think gamers will only be excited really when they see the end result of this effort (which will be 2 maybe 3 games).

Ryan Schaefer
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That's a tall order to fill; there isn't much out there that's bigger than Halo. Well, I guess if anyone can do it, it's these guys; I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

Trent Polack
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Jonathan Gilmore
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I see, it will be bigger and better than Halo, but will it be more badass?

Bryan OHara
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Talk about high expectations..

Michael Mucci
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Wonder if they'll keep hyping this up over the next few years as they actually dev this game so upon it's release it will fail to meet expectations and only disappoint...(enter example here). You know they're plenty out there...

Terry Matthes
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Doesn't this seem like an obvious statement to anyone else? I mean really, what else would they say about their next product? Statements like these just seem a little empty, especially since no one knows anything about their next product.

ken sato
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Well it is always good took take a critical look at any press release!

But the detail about creating a world is a good thumb nail estimate in the sense of scope, even if it is a redesign of former Bungie titles, is a considerable investment in time, design, and performance expectations. (Code, not just dramatic.)

This may entail multi-team development of not just production units (Halo unit, marathon unit, and/or whatever.) but also cross departmental teams to leverage the common technology of online, peripherals, video codec, audio, etc.

So, once again (and with my apologies), run a thought experiment of 'what would I do...'

You've just told the press that you're going to brand and create worlds. So how would you do it? You might have some of Bungie's talent behind you, but you might not so what are the key positions? How do you do the best to meet expectations, ensure control on costs or even be able to give accurate estimates, and ask yourself...what do you WANT to work on knowing that WHATEVER you do is going to be high profile and have high expectations.

Oh yeah, "Pimps at Sea"? Hmm...that means I must of missed Pimps at A and Bee. Dang, another sequel with a prequel...

Russell LaValle
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Halo was born as a launch title for the original Xbox?

The actual history is that Halo was born as a Mac & PC game. Bungie was then purchased by Microsoft so that they could have an A-List game for the XBox launch.

ken sato
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I don't think discussion about where Halo or quality issues are relevant. My apologies if I sound disrespectful but the point is "What if Bungie proposes awesome?" and what will that cost?

As Activision, regardless of whether you perceive it as the Snidely Whiplash or Dudley Do Wright, still is THE largest third party publisher in the industry. How is this going to affect budgets across the studios it owns? Will this limit the external publishing or out source priorities per project and SKU? How will this affect other titles within the Activision / Vivendi / Sierra franchises?

While Activision Blizzard is a ginormous (wow! No spelling error! Ginormous is now a word?!?!) entity it's resource to risk allocation is still business oriented. If Call of Duty were the only franchise of note and IW the only studio it owned, I could see the emphasis.

But go over ALL of the franchises under the Activision Blizzard umbrella and realize how much emphasis this is going to place on the industry as a whole and what effects it will have. Where will the jobs be in 3-6 months? Where do you want to work and what on? What trends will produce opportunity?

Merc Hoffner
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@ Terry

I was going for sarcasm, but I guess a bit too muted and was drowned out by genuine positivity and anti-cinisism. The fans are prevalent indeed.

Matt Cascio
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I'll admit that not all the Halo games were the best thing ever, but they are still amazing games that play well. But above all else, Bungie does know how to craft a meaningful and fun universe. If these guys are now aiming for that right out of the gate, as opposed to the Halo universe which just sort of fell in their lap, I think we're looking at the beginnings of something really special.

I don't know about you guys, but I'm excited. Plus, this will be a huge test for Bungie, to prove to the industry after these last 10 years that they can produce something awesome that doesn't have the Halo brand slapped on it.

ken sato
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Check job postings. It's nearly doubled the engineering, design, art, and QA from 2-3 months ago.