Bungie In 2008: Reflecting On Halo 3, Moving Beyond
June 2, 2008 Page 6 of 11
You hear that echoed by John Riccitiello now. I don't know if any of you guys caught what he said at DICE, but he basically said that EA's failure had been to try to manage outward to the studios they acquired, and their success had been when the studio's culture flowed inward to them.
Maxis and Black Box were success stories, and Westwood and Origin were failures of the EA way, and their new organizational metaphor is a city-state system. They're not going to tell BioWare what to do. Well, I don't think that they could, but... they could, but you and I both know that's not going to work. And they know too now, hopefully.
MZ: In a way... well, I'm not the right guy to answer the question. I have worked at other studios, and honestly, just as just a guy in the trenches making art, the culture at Bungie... there's a little voice in the back of my mind that's like, "Hey, it's just us now." But the fundamental culture was there when I started with Microsoft, and it didn't change in a significant way.
And I never felt, even when we were on the main games campus before we got our own building, and we were eating at the cafeteria... I didn't feel like they were running our lives. In fact, I worked for a studio where, even though we were off in our own building in our own city, and the next office was halfway across the country, I still felt like there was more heavy-handed publisher-down first-party management than I felt sitting in Redmond.
And who knows? I'm in the trenches just making art, but there could be all sorts of shielding going on in the management levels, but at the end of the day, I can't imagine the relationship was completely antagonistic, because both parties are enjoying the success.
Bungie drove the success of the Xbox platform at a very basic level very early on, and certainly I'm not trying to insinuate there was some sort of fight. It's just interesting to me. I mean, you've got to know that everyone tries to speculate why the hell Microsoft would let Bungie go, and why Bungie would want to go, but I'm not expecting you to answer that.
BJ: We sort of have. Why we wanted to go, I think Mike already touched on when he talked about the team. We really wanted to empower ourselves and control our own destiny and really feel like whatever next big thing we made, that we were all in it together.
Whether we make or break, we own it, and we control it, which I think is important for Bungie to get back to where the company started, culturally, and I think its reinvigorated the team and given us new perspectives.
On the Microsoft side, they still have a great partner in Bungie, and a great relationship. We have a team now that's reinvigorated and also made great games for their platforms. It really was a win-win. It doesn't seem like it really adds up to people, but both groups got what they wanted out of the deal. We're happy that Microsoft allowed this arrangement to happen. It really is a mutually beneficial arrangement.
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