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Ok, you have to be kidding me. Supposedly this is nothing more than an outlandishly freak coincidence, but according to the developer blog of Ensemble's Bruce Shelley, the internal codename used for the Halo Wars project is Phoenix-- the same codename used for a scuttled project at Bungie a few years ago that was rumored to be a strategy game of some kind, perhaps a fantasy game in the vein of Myth.


Several sites, including current one-Wu-wonder HBO, pointed out an article on Halo 2 in Entertainment Weekly. Some of those sites also pointed out some things which, while not outright inaccuracies, certainly seem to skew their perception of the game through a film industry lens.


According to a rumor site called GameDreamZ, members of FASA and the Oni team have resurrected the project known as Phoenix, which was abandoned bu Bungie, retitled it Shadowrun, and will release it as a launch title for the Xbox 2, which is supposedly codenamed "Xenon".


As Phoenix is as yet not officially announced, no release date has been set.

Rumor has it Phoenix will be released before Halo 2.

UPDATE: Since Phoenix has been cancelled, obviously it won't ever be released, and no release date was ever officially announced or even hinted at. The same is true of the as-yet unnamed replacement project that the Phoenix team is working on as of this writing.


It is unknown at this time whether Phoenix uses the Halo engine, a modified Halo engine, or something entirely different. It is widely believed that it is either the Halo engine or something based on it.


After the cancellation of Phoenix, Matt Soell at Bungie was asked whether Phoenix used the Halo engine.

He replied:

The original basis was the Halo engine, but like Halo (which began as an evolution of the Myth engine) there were significant differences between Phoenix's engine and the original code.


In the interests of posterity, we've added news of Phoenix's cancellation to our Phoenix FAQ.


Rumors circulated in various forums, and an individual claimed to have been told by an anonymous Bungie employee via AIM instant message that Phoenix had been cancelled and an announcement would shortly be made.

Matt Soell responded both to email inquiries from Rampancy as well as with this forum post at HBO:


Probably not. Matt Soell posted in response to a similar question in HBO's forum and replied:

If it never got to a point where we felt comfortable announcing it, the chances are slim that I would want to discuss it in any depth now.


Bungie's own Matt Soell was kind enough to exchange a few words with Rampancy recently about the cancellation of the mysterious Project Phoenix.

Rampancy: How far in the development process did Phoenix get?

Matt: This is a tough question to answer. As with the early stages of Halo's development, we investigated and discarded a lot of ideas, which took a long time. We were still a long way from beta.

Rampancy:Was Phoenix its own engine, or based on Halo?