Microsoft Pushing Bungie For September H3 Release

Ahh, the luxury of being an independent developer and publisher. The luxury to redesign every level in your game at the last minute, while you tell fans you're just "printing boxes" because you wanted to make the game... well, fun, instead of just done.

Those days are over for Bungie Studios, and have been since their 2000 buyout by Microsoft. The company that doesn't give release dates has become the one that has them dictated to them.

Halo 1? An Xbox launch title. Shipped when it was done? It might have been done when it shipped, but there was certainly no wriggle room there. That title needed to launch with the console, and if it had been delayed three or even six months, who is to say there would ever have been a Halo 2 or an Xbox 360?

Halo 2 was the biggest release for the original Xbox, and it came in that console's swan song shopping season, the 2004 holidays. With the 360 coming a year later, Halo 2 either had to come out then, or morph into a 360 launch title.

Now, on the heels of remarks by Shane Kim at Microsoft that they are not pressuring Bungie for any specific release, and that if the game were done a bit earlier in the year than the previous two titles-- say, September instead of November-- well, then Microsoft would magnanimously let them do that, and wouldn't that be great for the 360 to get a head start on the holiday 2007 season, now that the other next-gen consoles are out?

Now from Douglass Perry at IGN comes two anonymous, independent sources who claim that Microsoft is, in fact, pushing Bungie for a September release of Halo 3.

Of course, one has to doubt the veracity, or at least accuracy, of IGN when that same article contains this pearl:

With both games, Microsoft's strategy was to give Bungie as much time as possible to hone and polish their title before reaching QA and the finalization process.

Mr. Perry, you have to be kidding me. Halo 1 was not only developed, but ported to the Xbox on a tight schedule in order to make the launch. Halo 2 had three levels cut so it could ship on the date that Peter Moore tattooed on his arm. You call that "giving Bungie as much time as possible"? Are you insane?



For Microsoft to push Bungie to release Halo 3 early, explains why the majority of MS software is crap.

AT this point in time I hold no hope for HALO 3, especially Multiplayer.

A very interesting factor...the factor of "sufficient time." It seems to me that rather than Bungie having enough time or not enough is not a simple matter. While Microsoft would want them to have a reasonable window for release, and they want as much time as possible to finish it, there is much to be considered. One has to consider how they have done things in the past, such as their relatively haphazard means of self-organization that helped lead them to cut the development time off the past two games, and the consequences of those actions. Given what they have said in the wake of Halo 2's development, it seems that they have revamped their organization and efficiency, so they can develop Halo 3 properly. Regardless, Microsoft shouldn't even mention a September release date, for that is an absolute impossibility, for a November release, and probably a late November release is the only possible outcome if Bungie is to polish the game enough to make it what it needs to be, without going beyond a reasonable development cycle.

maybe they already had the game finished and now thev'e got a better deal on a realease date to have it come out sooner I don't know.