Recursive Stupidity Strikes Gaming Press

If you need any more proof that what goes around, comes around-- usually to end up smacking you in the face when you turn around-- read this story at Joystiq alleging that not making Halo 4 would be stupid. I saw the story linked at HBO. Interestingly enough, the only citation in the Joystiq story for the idea that Bungie has already "disproven" the "rumor" that Halo 3 will be the last game in the Halo series is-- you guessed it-- another HBO post, that one following up on forum speculation that a rumored new non-Halo Bungie title and Eric Nylund's new Microsoft project were one and the same. Nylund has already nicely put the kibosh on this one in his blog; but more to the point, the HBO post that Joystiq cites is the same one debunking the rumor about Nylund and Bungie's new projects.

So a news post at a fansite, citing forum posts at that same fansite, making a speculation based on another gaming site repeating an unsubstantiated rumor and another one citing a vague claim, somehow gets cited as a definitive source for a statement that is in direct opposition to things Bungie has already said more than once, while in the same post discrediting a previous, related rumor-based speculation.

Sometimes I think Hamlet wasn't being ironic enough.

Just in case you've managed to get this far without following me: Bungie has said Halo 3 is it. If they get their way, it will be. They didn't want to make Marathon games forever, they didn't want to make Myth games forever, and now they don't want to make Halo games forever. Halo doesn't need to be, nor should its fans want it to be, the next Final Fantasy. Microsoft will no doubt need Bungie to save its bacon once again, but it will have to be done with new properties; and if everybody is lucky we'll get a glimpse at what one of those might be fairly soon.

However, to assume that Halo must continue for another two or twenty games based on being one of the "top thirty" gaming franchises in history is just... stupid.

Expect to see this on Spong in two weeks, and then on Digg the week later, before finally making the cover of Time Magazine when they name Master Chief the Cyborg of the Year.

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Comments

It seems as silly to me as it does to you... but every time I think we've heard the last of this rumor, someone from Bungie cracks the door again.

You yourself noticed Frankie's introduced ambiguity yesterday... and if you watch the interview in this vid, you'll come away scratching your head about whether Bungie is interested in shutting down the 'another Halo game?' rumor or not. (Well, I did...)

Yes, I did notice that, and I made a point of mentioning it in the thread. Frankie didn't respond to my post in that thread, instead choosing to address something silly in another.

A couple of things occur to me.

This may be an unavoidable consequence of the buyout as Halo becomes increasingly important to the Games division and Microsoft as a whole. As Bungie Studios becomes less and less like what it was pre-buyout, through both expansion and churn, it strikes me that the threads leading back to Bungie's autonomy deal may become thinner and thinner. The day that JJ decides to move on, either to other projects, to employment or entrepreneurship elsewhere, or to spend more time with his family (that's a favorite reason cited in press releases) the last vestiges of Bungie's powers of self-determination may fade away.

Depending on how you look at it, that's either a best-case or worst-case scenario.

Another possibility would be an Id Software-style breakup. There were already indications after Halo 2 that elements of the studio wanted to work on something different than Halo. To the best of everyone's knowledge outside the studio at the moment, there is not currently any other project in active development.

If the thrust of Takahashi's book can be believed, JJ wanted to do a non-Halo project after Halo 1, and instead ended up devoting all of his and all of Bungie's resources to Halo 2 after Phoenix was cancelled.

If the studio is divided between those who want to continue with Halo and those who want to do something else, we may either see Bungie work on more than one project at once (not something that has worked terribly well for them in the past) or see it actually split into separate units. The question there would be, is the "Halo" unit Bungie, or is the other? And if Halo is done by a group other than Bungie, is it really still Halo?

If Bungie remains a one-project studio for the forseeable future, and that project is Halo, the studio might very well lose some people that would like to work on a game that isn't Halo. That seems to be a completely understandable desire.

Recent rumors indicate a future non-Halo project announcement, so perhaps that's the way things are moving; to keep Halo going as long as there are people at Microsoft who want it to and there are enough volunteers within Bungie Studios to work on it, and shunt the others onto a second team to work on other projects. If that were to be the case, the "conclusion" of Halo 3 could be un-done just as Frankie's recent remarks suggest it can; that the story of the Master Chief is closing, but that other stories in the Halo universe could very well form other games or series of games.

Oh, the equivocation.


Rampant for over se7en years.

[quote=narcogen]If the thrust of Takahashi's book can be believed, JJ wanted to do a non-Halo project after Halo 1, and instead ended up devoting all of his and all of Bungie's resources to Halo 2 after Phoenix was cancelled.[/quote]

This is one of the things the book gets wrong (though in fairness to the author I should note that I haven't actually read it in its entirety - just the excerpts you've posted).

Jason went straight from Halo to Halo 2. It wasn't until much later, after Phoenix was cancelled, that he switched his focus to that team and worked on their new project. They didn't put that on hold and draft everyone into the Halo 2 effort until much later.

-Matt

So AFTER Phoenix was cancelled, that team went to work on something ELSE under Jones, before that was later also cancelled and everyone went to work on Halo 2?

And while Phoenix was being worked on, Jones was working on Halo 2, and after the Unknown Project was cancelled, he returned to it?

I just want to be clear here... so there is not one, but at least two cancelled projects between Halo 1 and 2?


Rampant for over se7en years.

I [url=http://forums.bungie.org/halo/archive6.pl?read=152609]mentioned[/url] they were working on something new back in the day.

And who said anything about cancelled? Not I.

-Matt

On that specific note, I've just got to mention that Bungie seems to leave little open ends in a lot of places. I'm sure I read somewhere (might've been HBO, can't remember) that they do that on purpose: you never know what could develop.

Conclusion of the story arc, sure, well and good (if they didn't finish it, we'd get left with another cliffhanger, and who wants that?), but Bungie seems to enjoy yanking the rug out from under us.

All I'm saying is don't discount 'em ... they've probably got a ton of things up their sleeves down in Washington State, and they're laughing away at us. Heck, they laugh at us anyway, but we laugh with them. Such is the life of a fan. It's so much fun, isn't it?

... And who really, honestly doesn't want more Halo?