First Bungie acquisition chat, Part II

Q&A with Bungie's Max Hoberman

by Ferrex (Dead)

Regdren =PN=: My question is: will Bungie still be able to toy with its fans? We all know about Letters to the Webmaster. Will Microsoft allow that sort of thing? And will Bungie play games with us like those Covenant quotes when Halo was announced?
      yeroen: Ferrex: Yes, that's correct.
      yeroen: Yep, we've retained the Webmaster for that very purpose. Actually, isn't that the fans toying with the Webmaster?
      yeroen: What Covenant quotes? ;-)
Regdren =PN=: I'd say that Bungie likes to keep the fans on edge with crypitc stuff. A lot of fans seem to like that.
      yeroen: We just like to make it as clear as possible for you all.
      yeroen: We shall continue to do just that.
Merkinjata (n: How long is the Bungie store going to stay open? And will we still going to be able to buy all the cool memorabelia we can get now?
      yeroen: I don't know the long term plans for the store. I don't think it's been decided yet. I'd say stock up now, while the goods are good. Buy now!
      yeroen: <--Chucky: yeroen gets a percentage of store profits you know...
      yeroen: <--yeroen.
Cannibal Harr: A question for the bungie guys:
Cannibal Harr: (It's long but important I think, thx very much if you can get it in there!)
Cannibal Harr:
Cannibal Harr: There is no question that what is commonly referred to as the mod community can help make or break a game. Without question, Unreal Tournament, Myth 2, the Quake series, Halflife, etc are very much fueled by map and mod makers. A great deal of cool and innovative stuff is done in this community. It is generally regarded to be a great thing for a game to get such a following like this
Cannibal Harr: Do you feel not having a simultaneous release for MacOS, Windows, and the X-Box could jeopardize this community? I've always felt much more willing to support a product that supports me. Case in point: Windows and Mac users are going to be much more willing to pay for a copy of Halo if the release date is on par with the X-Box, which frankly, is geared at a different market. Agree/Disagree?
Cannibal Harr: that was from Matt
Cannibal Harr: not Soell, I would hope =)
      yeroen: Not having a simultaneous release can't help. However, there are a number of games with successful communities that weren't released simultaneously. It's probably more important that MacOS/Win release simultaneously.
      yeroen: As for willingness to pay based on release date: I think, if a game is good enough, people will buy it even if it's released separately.
     Noctavis: Has Bungie spoken with Apple (or specifically - Steve Jobs) on the issue of the Bungie Studios acquisition, and if so what did they/he say?
      yeroen: I know Tamte spoke with a number of people from Apple. I don't know what they said.
iFreewill - H: my turn
iFreewill - H: Your new policy of reaching out the the fan-base... in that new 'bungie-spirit' of open-communications, will we be seeing more communiques from you? When can we expect to see these results. The fear is that, like the 'Letter to the fans', it will come too late in the day, so to speak, and without enough 'meat'.
      yeroen: Our new policy isn't really new, it's an extension of a policy we've always had, but haven't been able to fully implement. If you want an idea of the kind of things we're thinking about check out the www.bungie.net portal web site.
      yeroen: Chucky is mumbling something about the XBox's unified memory. We'll ignore him.
Manus Celer D: Distant asks:In past games produced by bungie, version updates have played a large role. How will the xbox handle this? How will this be handled on the xbox?
      yeroen: I don't really know the specifics. I'd take a guess, however, that Xbox software should be extremely stable.
Merkinjata (n: Dawang asks Are Microsoft lawyers sitting there with you watching what you say?
Ferrex ( bus : heh
*** Merkinjata (now accepting Qs) liked that one
Meg : Pallor: =)
      yeroen: They won't shock us if I answer correctly.
      yeroen: Ow!
Merkinjata (n: Unknown asks Will the way Bungie packs their software, logos, etc, be changed? Would it say Microsoft instead of Bungie?
Cannibal Harr: heh
      yeroen: All Bungie products will be Bungie branded. However, we're no longer directly responsible for the packaging, though we intend to keep a hand in the pot.
Cannibal Harr: Doesn't it seem that people will NOT buy a $300 or $400 console just to play one game, and if it comes out for X-Box only, people just won't play it?
Cannibal Harr: that was from Noah
      yeroen: From what I've heard on the forums people are buying new $2K machines and $300 video cards in anticipation of Halo. Think of this as a discount ;-)
     Noctavis: What is the atmosphere like in Bungie's offices today? How are you all reacting to the fans' reactions?
      yeroen: It's cool, a little breezy. I think it's the AC. :-)
      yeroen: Honestly though, it's hard on us to hear so many people upset. At the same time there's been a lot of positive response, which we're happy about.
Cannibal Harr: Darth Maul asks...
      yeroen: Almost everyone has been following the forums and talking about it. Believe it or not, we really do care about all of you.
Cannibal Harr: Will you guys be working with Valve software at all?
Cannibal Harr:
Cannibal Harr: Darth Maul ~TMBM~
      yeroen: Not that I know of.
      yeroen: Who are they again? ;-)
Merkinjata (n: Panamon wants to know if you guys will still have semi-public beta tests or (and I added this part) if MS will take over /all/ of your QA.
      yeroen: We don't have a whole lot of QA. Mostly QA is beta and internal testing. This will obviously change, though I don't know all the specifics, nor do I know the plans for external beta testing.
iFreewill - H: ok my turn
iFreewill - H: Chia asks: Now that Microsoft has given you guys a load-a-dough, will you be able to buy more pizza at the fan gatherings?
Ferrex ( bus : heh
Merkinjata (n: lol
      yeroen: Absolutely. A pizza at every desk.
Merkinjata (n: A lot of people want to know how the Microsoft anti-trust trial will affect Bungie. Any comments?
      yeroen: I don't really have an opinion on this. If the company gets divided we'll be in the non-os half.
Manus Celer D: What does Bungie plan for their humor now? In the past mind control lasers, world domination, and The Man were amusing, now in the context of Microsoft they are frightening. Does Bungie plan to develop new, humorous jokes since the old ones dont work anymore?
      yeroen: They were supposed to be frightening before. Damn.
         Xzzy: And when is the lawsuit against rampancy.net going to be opened for giving you carpal tunnel in one sitting?
CH full queue: Does Bungie realize that by moving to the Redmond MS campus they are making things very hard for us who were making plans to blow it up. Now we have to find out which building you're in and make sure not to demolish that one. and you say you love your fans...=)
      yeroen: We show our love by giving you new challenges. You'll have to adapt.
CH full queue: in seriousness, though...
CH full queue: Dozer asks
CH full queue: will the games be released simutaneously?
      yeroen: Dozer: Read our FAQ.
Merkinjata (n: Nik Frost Manak wants to know (question paraphrased) if it's going to be harder to use copyrighted material from your games for websites, publications, etc. because MS tends to not look upon such things so favorably. For example, will we just be able to ask you guys before using something?
      yeroen: I don't anticipate any changes here. We're completely responsible for our interaction with our community.
Merkinjata (n: Yes, but doesn't MS own the material in question?
      yeroen: <--Chucky: irresponsible even.
      yeroen: <--yeroen.
Manus Celer D: From Woden:Bungie didn't deny the MS buyout, now that they aren't denying that Halo is XBox only, what are we supposed to think?
      yeroen: I don't think I can deny that one, Merk. All I can say is that the whole reason my job exists is because they believe we're the best people to interact with the community.
CH full queue: Hmm, that last console one makes me want to ask:
CH full queue:
CH full queue: Does Bungie feel the console market is similar to the PC and Mac gamer market? Is Microsoft/Bungie's goal to convert PC and Mac gamers to an X-Box console, or is the seemingly more obvious the case (different target markets)?
CH full queue:
CH full queue: Big questions guys: Future of gaming over the next 5 years, console or PC?
      yeroen: We've always remained tight lipped about internal issues. However, in the MS case we were unable to respond for legal reasons. We've responded to the Xbox issue, it's just not the answer everyone wants to hear: it's still undecided.
Merkinjata (n: Entrail is wondering: how will The Soul adjust to being moved to an even eviler place, rulled by the devil??
Ferrex ( bus : poor Soul
CH full queue: heh
      yeroen: I think that Bungie's current position has given an indication of its view on the console vs. PC issue. Console will be big, regardless of how successful
      yeroen: PCs are.
iFreewill - H: Mythifier asks...
iFreewill - H:
iFreewill - H: Anything the fans can do to help you feel at home in Redmond? Small gifts from Chicago? Good ol chicago style Pizza?
iFreewill - H: ah, sorry
*** Merkinjata (not accepting Qs) slaps people for going out of turn
      yeroen: We don't really care what the Soul thinks. It's being punished.
      yeroen: :)
      yeroen: Sweet, thanks Freewill! Jalapeno, or stuffed Spinach.
Ferrex ( bus : Distant asks: hypotheticaly, what would have to happen to prevent bungie from developing games for the Macintosh platform. Specificly, Halo, and generaly, anything.
iFreewill - H: yum!
      yeroen: We'll make our decisions about what platform to develop for like we always have. If there's a strong business case for a particular platform, and the team wants to, we'll develop for that platform.
Merkinjata (n: People seem to be concerned about how you're going to create an online community around a console. Could you possibly give us some insight into how that's going to work?
      yeroen: That's still a big question, but I consider it one of the biggest challenges for the online team...
      yeroen: The goal is to give the community a central gathering place, a place where they can communicate, and give them ways to contribute to the community. This applies to every platform.
CH full queue: I'd like to ask what Bungie's stance on copyrighted material is as of the acquisition. While Bungie has been been lenient with fans and such about using copyrighted stuff on websites, newsletters, etc. as long as it's not for profit, Microsoft has been a troll about this issue on numerous occasions, which scares me since I'm still planning to do the non-profit Halothon Magazine at a later date and don't want to pay for a lawyer to screen every issue.
Merkinjata (n: CH, I asked that
Merkinjata (n: =)
CH full queue: missed it, sorry
     Noctavis: How do you look at Bungie's future, once the X-Box has become a year or more old?
      yeroen: As for the copyright issue, I'll have to look into it. I fully intend to do everything in my power to avoid any sort of problem.
      yeroen: I'm not sure how to answer that, Noct. If we've achieved our goals we'll be in a position to develop multiple great titles simultaneously, and have a lot of fun doing it.
CH full queue: If someone wanted to come work for Bungie on their next game hit after Halo, would they be employed by Bungie or MS?
      yeroen: Microsoft, within the Bungie Studio.
     Noctavis: Aye Max... I'm glad to see that Bungie appears to (for now) be keeping its options open
Merkinjata (n: Unknown wants to know What's going to happen to Jim Ruiz?
      yeroen: That's our goal, Noct. We were as scared as many of you about Microsoft's influence. However, we have a lot of faith in Alex and Jason... they've been good to us, and they share the same goals. Their confidence gives us confidence.
      yeroen: I believe Jim is staying here in Chicago for personal reasons.
CH full queue: There are a lot of people (including myself) that wouldn't buy anything coming from MS only because we don't want to help fund a company that would have everyone use Windows. Halo piracy could be a bigger problem now that Bungie's been assimilated. Will there be a bungie.net for Halo, with only one l/p per serial #? -Erik
Ferrex ( bus : Apologies to everyone, but Max is already an hour late for the chat session on b.net, so we're going to have to stop taking questions and finish what we have
Merkinjata (n: 6 more questions in the queue btw
Regdren =PN=: From Mumbles: Will we have to change the copyright notice attached to all Myth mods now that Take Two owns the rights to Myth?
      yeroen: We haven't yet decided the specifics of multiplayer Halo. There are a lot of new issues to factor in. Obviously, we don't want anyone stealing something we've put a lot of blood and sweat into, so whatever happens we'll do our best to give you reasons not to. Also, Chucky hopes that the whole court case will settle the whole Windows issue.
      yeroen: Thanks Ferrex. Matt is holding down the fort, but you're right, I should go help him out. One last question?
     Noctavis: Anonymous: do former bungie employees now have the option to quit, and if they do, why don't they?
iFreewill - H: we're picking up some shuffled papers, excuse us :)
Merkinjata (n: heh
      yeroen: I think you're asking about employment contracts here. Everyone has the option to quit if they don't like the way things are going.
Ferrex ( bus : We'd like to thank Max and Chucky for suffering through our server problems to answer these questions, as well as everyone who joined us for it.
     Noctavis: Max> Everyone, including yourself, Alex and Jason?
Ferrex ( bus : now quick, get out of here before the chat privs are turned back on ;) and we'll see you on b.net
      yeroen: Thanks for coming everyone, we appreciate your interest in our continued success.
iFreewill - H: I'd like to say that I'll post up the questions that i received for maybe Max to review at a later date
     Noctavis: Heh
      yeroen: And we appreciate all of the hard work you've put in to building this community.
     Noctavis: Thanks for being here guys (to Max and Chucky)
      yeroen: Hasta la vista, baby.
iFreewill - H: yeroen, go help Matt, he's drowning :)

Originally posted June 19, 2000
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