Archive for the ‘Bungie Sightings’ category

What’s old is new again

April 29th, 2010

Wow. Pretty amazing. 10 years ago MS acquired Bungie and the Bungie fan community was in an uproar. Bungie is over! They're sellouts! MS doesn't care about Bungie or its fans. Bungie can't hope to win against the monolithic entity known as MS!

Fast forward several years later, mega-franchise Halo under their belts, maneuvering out of MS unscathed, promising new IP on the horizon... so what do they do?

Get into bed with Activision?

Folks are really in an uproar over this if you check out HBO's forum and I'm sure others out there. But I'm really having a hard time feeling worried about this. Mainly because I'm aware of the history here and if you have a small-time dev get sucked into the monster that is MS - who then in turn become a AAA dev, keeping their culture intact (which everyone said was nigh impossible within the MS machine), creating a whole new generation of fans, and single-handedly transform a nascent console into the mega platform it is today - I'd have to say Bungie is owed a gimme here and must know what they're getting into.

Yes, Activision has a bad rap (MS had what? Puppies and unicorns?), their troubles with IW is not a good sign, and in general they are seen as predatory greedy fucks that don't give a shit about the customer and just want to milk you of your money.

But if I was a betting man, I'd say Bungie expressly worked out a deal where all of the above is taken into consideration. They done it before, they're probably going to do it again. About the one thing I've learned over these past 10 years or so is that lawyerly-acumen matters a great deal, and whoever Bungie has working for them - if they're from the same arm that helped them draft their deal with MS - has got plenty of smarts. I'll even go a little further and say SOMEONE inside of Activision sees this as a way of righting a meandering ship. So of course they're going to be willing to adopt a new attitude going into this new partnership.

Does this mean I think this is a slam-dunk for Bungie? No, of course not. Nothing is ever a given in the world of capitalism and industry. Activision is a pure gaming company, publicly traded. MS is public as well, but their gaming division is not what most investors look at when assessing the health of the company as a whole. Activision is completely reliant on the health of their gaming endeavors to spur investor confidence. Their ongoing current issues are a bit of an albatross around their neck right now, and hopefully they can work it out and put their best face forward. But if things continue to go sour for them it can make them desperate - and that could mean a bad situation w/ Bungie.

But Activision can also, hopefully, understand exactly what I and others in our little universe understand - DON'T FUCK WITH BUNGIE. Leave them alone to do what they do best - and don't try to squeeze folks of every single $$ - at least no more than what MS has done in the past!

Do all the above and more than likely Activision can win a trifecta: a great title that wins accolades in the press and customers generating great PR, a healthy bottom-line, and a loyal fanbase that sees you backing a winner.

P.S. Take a journey with me BACK IN TIME.

New Game

August 8th, 2008

The few hundred Bungie employees must be doing something to kill time up there in the Studio. What can it be?

Halo 4? Pathways 2? Perhaps Ling-Ling's jar finally broke and they're hard at work on the famed Gnop sequel?

Phoenix, resurrected? Minotaur, reconstructed? Myth or Oni, re-acquired?

Something entirely new, a pristine page in the big book of Bungie, ready to be filled with gaming goodness?

What can it be?

Alex to Keynote at Vancouver International Game Summit

January 15th, 2007

Excited much? If any faithful readers will happen to be in the Vancouver area Friday, May 4, get yerself over to this conference and let us know what The Man has to say!

Alex to Keynote at Vancouver International Game Summit

January 15th, 2007
Excited much? If any faithful readers will happen to be in the Vancouver area Friday, May 4, get yerself over to this conference and let us know what The Man has to say!...

The Bungie Acronym Compendium

April 25th, 2006
JNAMSTFY. DMUKYA. ABTFIPASO5. These cryptic identifiers have entertained, enightened, frustrated, and confounded Bungie fans since the early days in Chicago. Found on nearly every game and soundtrack created or licensed by Bungie, a surprising number of these enigmatic acronyms remain unsolved....

The Bungie Acronym Compendium

April 25th, 2006
JNAMSTFY. DMUKYA. ABTFIPASO5. These cryptic identifiers have entertained, enightened, frustrated, and confounded Bungie fans since the early days in Chicago. Found on nearly every game and soundtrack created or licensed by Bungie, a surprising number of these enigmatic acronyms remain unsolved....

Bye bye game debris

March 11th, 2006
If you check out the latest Bungie Weekly Update (I link to the b.org copy as it loads so clean and fast) you'll find an interesting tidbit that may spell doom to future 'prizes' in the next Bungie game. Noguchi has been "making a pony." Since he always speaks in metaphor I was annoyed, until he explained that he literally called a new tool/command, xsync-pony - which basically speeds up the "propping" of a build of the game to a clean Xbox 360 devkit, by eliminating code and objects that you do not need to run the current build. Which...

Oh boy

February 28th, 2006
Believe it or not, Mr. Seropian is actually working on a new reality TV show for FOX broadcasting! I'm very very interested to see how this gets pulled off....

Did Stubbs make an appearance?

October 23rd, 2005
Caught this on Slashdot. Apparently there's a 'grassroots' Zombie Lurch that has been occurring annually for the last few years, in different cities. Madison, WI (A lovely city by the way, I attended a LAN there a few years back) is this year's 'victim' of the zombie horde. You can check out a bunch of the pics here, here and here, and I must say, it looks exactly like certain scenes in Stubbs. Quite charming actually. :) One could imagine someone in that crowd is a Stubbs fan, but I didn't spot anyone trying to corner his look. Too bad....

Stubbs reviews are starting to appear

October 15th, 2005
1UP, the site that was hosting Alex's 'blog' about Stubbs development, has officially reviewed the game. It's basically a rave review for a fresh 'strategy/action' hybrid game that will debut for us mere mortals in just a few days. The highlights they note are really all that we've come to expect from Bungie/Wideload... an attention to detail beyond just actual gameplay. There is wit aplenty, and the mantra, coined by Jaime back during the development of Halo 2, of '30 seconds of gameplay repeated over and over' (often misunderstood by some as an excuse for level repetition) is fully embraced...

Stubbs reviews are starting to appear

October 15th, 2005

1UP, the site that was hosting Alex's 'blog' about Stubbs development, has officially reviewed the game. It's basically a rave review for a fresh 'strategy/action' hybrid game that will debut for us mere mortals in just a few days.

The highlights they note are really all that we've come to expect from Bungie/Wideload... an attention to detail beyond just actual gameplay. There is wit aplenty, and the mantra, coined by Jaime back during the development of Halo 2, of '30 seconds of gameplay repeated over and over' (often misunderstood by some as an excuse for level repetition) is fully embraced in Stubbs.

Those of you planning to purchase the Xbox version of the game when it debuts this Monday, the 17th, feel free to email me a pic of you holding the game or posing it in some creative (non-filthy of course!) manner, I'll post the pic here if it's funny/compelling enough.

Once I get mine, I'll be sure to write a review. Halo 1 and 2 have spoiled me and my itch for the fabled First Person Shooter genre. I wonder how quickly I'll forget all that as I play a game that's Third Person and not quite a shooter. It's my one concern based on previous looks at the game.

UPDATE: Another thumbs-up review, this time from the folks at Gaming Horizon.

Soell sings his heart out

October 7th, 2005
Read about Matt Soell and his current faves in music, books, tv, and games over at Gamasutra. It's an interesting read if you think a game is influenced by what the authors are currently into. Matt has always given his group an extra dose of irony and a twist of counter-culture (he's not the only one of course) so it's interesting to see what he considers worth consuming as a member of our pop culture. And hey, no glasses? What, you trying to go legit or something Matt? :) Thanks to a heads up by Roger Wilco at the HBO...

Stubbs is stubb-elicious

August 12th, 2005
I had the pleasure of visiting Wideload recently and was impressed with their progress on the game. It's coming along really well and the hints of multiple-platform simul-release seems like a sure thing. And if not simul, then near-simul. But the most important bit of info I gleaned from these talented folks is that they're having alot of fun, are full of ideas (that they would not tell me, of course) and feel real good about the future. This portends great things, methinks....

Stubbs is stubb-elicious

August 12th, 2005

I had the pleasure of visiting Wideload recently and was impressed with their progress on the game. It's coming along really well and the hints of multiple-platform simul-release seems like a sure thing. And if not simul, then near-simul. But the most important bit of info I gleaned from these talented folks is that they're having alot of fun, are full of ideas (that they would not tell me, of course) and feel real good about the future. This portends great things, methinks.

Here's an interesting NEW trivia question. I'll give anyone with a paypal account $5 if they get close to what I think is the answer to the following question:

"Stubbs the Zombie is based on a previous Bungie engine. In the history of Bungie (and now Wideload) technical sequels, what sets this game apart from past attempts?"

I'll give you a hint. My answer is sarcastic and smarmy.

Bungie Bails Boring Building Block!

March 23rd, 2005
It seems that Bungie is moving out of their Microsoft offices and into a hundred-year-old hardware store in nearby Kirkland. According to the article: "The team is running out of space and is relocating to maintain team camaraderie that they've had since moving from Chicago."...

Get the Stuff on the Stiff

February 4th, 2005

Once again it's time to drag our old friend Stubbs the Zombie out from behind the curtain to see how he's decomposing. Not only have we got a Q&A with Alex Seropian on Wideload's upcoming game, but three tasty, delicious, new screenshots for you as well. Dig in!

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What?s the plot of the game?

The game follows the exploits of Stubbs, a Zombie, as he embarks on a quest for true love and brutal revenge in Punchbowl, Pennsylvania, a city of the future built in the 1950s.

How did you come up with this idea?

It was a collaborative effort by our small internal prototyping team. We started with a bunch of ideas and spent some time developing the most promising ones. Ultimately the team picked Stubbs the Zombie as the game that would become Wideload's first project.

How many prototypes did you create before deciding this was the game you were going to make?

We created a couple dozen prototypes. We chose Stubbs the Zombie because of the gameplay potential and the depth of Stubbs as the main character. It helped that we had an opportunity to use the Halo engine and a lot of good ideas for building the game with that technology.

We also liked it because it allowed us to do something new with a somewhat moribund genre. Zombies are popular adversaries because they're easy to make as long as you adhere to the mythology: they're slow, they're dumb, they only attack by biting, etc. We kept the basic idea of a brain-eating dead guy but chose to not limit ourselves to what had been done before. That made it a lot more interesting.

Why did you decide on a retro 50?s theme?

It?s not just retro ? it?s Retro-Futurist! Punchbowl exists in the 1950s, but it's designed to be a model city ? an example of the miracles that await humanity in the year 2000. Some elements of retro-futurism, like flying cars and personal robots, are now seen as amusingly naive; others are surprisingly accurate. Punchbowl incorporates all of these things ? it's connected to the familiar, but it gives our designers a tremendous amount of creative freedom.

Why make the main character a zombie?

When dead men crawl out of their graves and start gobbling the flesh of the living, you have to consider the possibility that everything you thought you knew is worthless. Nothing says "total breakdown of natural law" like zombies, and that sort of imminent chaos is an attractive starting point for a game. Besides, zombies have been painted as the enemy for far too long. We're giving equal time to their side of the story.

What makes the Stubbs character compelling to players?

Stubbs has a lot of really cool abilities that evolve into interesting gameplay dynamics. Stubbs can tear off his own hand and send it into areas he can't reach himself. The hand can also possess other characters, giving you access to their weapons and abilities. It really opens a lot of doors gameplay-wise. Personality-wise, he's a good man who was wronged all his life; only in death does he gain the ability to turn his losing streak around. He's the ultimate underdog, and everyone likes an underdog.

What has been the most challenging part of developing this game?

When you tread new ground, you often have to make up your own rules and hope they work out. We got lucky in that sense that our early design decisions held up quite well as we moved into production.

How does this game take advantage of the Halo engine?

We utilize all the technical majesty of the rendering engine, AI and core game systems, and then we crank them all to eleven.

How are you finding working on the Halo engine for your game?

The Halo engine is phenomenal, and the tools allow us to do some really cool things. The underlying technology is robust enough to power a game that is very different from Halo, and Wideload programmers have added their own special sauce where appropriate (to the graphics and AI systems, for example).

How are you improving upon or changing the Halo engine for the game?

AI is the most labor-intensive work. Getting a horde of zombies to go about their brain-eating business in a rewarding and enjoyable way is a tough task.

What do you think players will most enjoy about the game?

The combination of chaotic action, stealth gameplay, strategic use of Zombie hordes and a healthy dose of dark humor.

What?s the game?s release date?

Summer 2005

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Thanks Alex, and all the fine folks at Wideload. We look forward to an exhilarating summer of hot, decaying flesh and cool, refreshing brains. While the rest of us wait for the release date, eyes twitching and mouth watering, we can at least satiate ourselves with the following:

Get the Stuff on the Stiff

February 4th, 2005
Once again it's time to drag our old friend Stubbs the Zombie out from behind the curtain to see how he's decomposing. Not only have we got a Q&A with Alex Seropian on Wideload's upcoming game, but three tasty, delicious, new screenshots for you as well. Dig in!...

JNAMSFTFY

November 8th, 2004
Longtime Bungie fans will need no introduction or explanation as to the meaning of the letters above, but in case you've come in to this warm hovel from out in the cold, dark wasteland of the "other" game communities, I offer the following. (NOTE: UPDATED 04-03-2006) The comments are now locked, because 343 is a good number and this post needs to be cleaned up and started again at a later date. Check this post for a new start on the acronyms....

My Experience at ESPNZone

November 4th, 2004
As mentioned over at sister site HBO, I was one of the fortunate folks that got picked to play Halo 2 MP over in Times Sq today, at the ESPNZone during one of ESPN's morning shows, Cold Pizza. I heard that over 2000 folks entered the raffle, of which 50 were chosen and a handful of alternates. Maybe it was the requirement that you show up at 7AM during a work day, but astoundingly way less than 50 folks total showed up! Maybe more like 30 or so. Read more of my experiences there, as well as how it segues...

Celebrity Voices

November 3rd, 2004
Joseph Staten mentions in a recent interview over at Gamespy (thanks HBO) the particular challenge he faced when writing lines for distinguished actors who lent their voice talents to the game. He reveals that the alien named "Prophet of Truth", was an especially interesting character to write lines for, knowing the particular nuances the actor would bring to the table. I have a hunch we see this prophet speaking in Halo 2's first TV commercial. And my pop-culture-saturated brain also tells me that the actor that can deliver a line "There are those that said this day would never come"...