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Bungie Software Bought By Microsoft 243

Cannonball writes: "An article posted by Alta Vista Tech announces the sale of Bungie to Microsoft for an undisclosed sum. Halo will become an X-Box title." There's been rumors about this for the last few days, but here's the confirmation. Bungie makes such fine titles as the Myth series - which I really enjoyed.
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Bungie Software Bought By Microsoft

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  • I could live with playing halflife from a windows machine, on linux servers... I suppose this virtualy rules out stable, easily administratable halo servers. roll on tf2 & halflife 2! *drops smoke grenade*
  • As the typical die-hard Mac user, who went crazy back in the day for all those original Marathon leaks, then the infamous Demo release (which was hacked to extend game play to 20 minutes...the floors of "Mars Needs Women!" littered with your co-workers bodies), I was naturally hit in the gut with this news. "How DARE you Bungie! You sold out! I'm going to stick my Bungie CD's in the microwave and mail the remains, postage due, back to you!" Please. Think back...back to when you first got that Marathon Demo...appearing in the little hallway on the UESC Marathon...that creepy music, the dark, claustrophibic hallways, the mindless Bugs whapping their sticks at you. It was the tingly, creepy game experience of a lifetime, that many have not felt since, even with Marathon 2 and certainly not Infinity. Marathon is now open-sourced, and Myth (one of the only other Bungie games I ever played) is in the hands of Take-Two. T-T also has the rights to develop two games with the HALO engine (Marathon IV, anyone?). I say good riddance, Bungie. Have fun with XBox, enjoy your new rainy climes. Me, I'm gonna keep playing network M2 (still the best), and don my "They're everwhere!!" T-shirt.
  • On bungie's Microsoft Acquisition FAQ [], the claim to have the freedom to choose what platforms they develop titles for, except:

    Does this freedom to choose the platforms you will develop for mean we can expect Bungie titles on (for example) PlayStation2, Dreamcast, or Dolphin?

    No more than you can expect to see Final Fantasy X on the Dreamcast or Sonic the Hedgehog on the PS2.

  • Sure Windows CE runs on there, but so do 2 other Operating systems.

    And now that people have figured out how to get CDR's to boot, i'm sure it won't be long before linux is running on them.

    Thats the beauty of open hardware. And nothing is being assimilated.

    Unreal and many other beautiful games use DX7, but doesn't mean they have been assimilated :)

  • I don't think anyone needs to do any "parroting." Look at the history that is well documented throughout the industry. Do you hear from *any* of the companies MS has enveloped? I haven't...
  • Hmmm... if you believe that, then I have some farmland in Sonora that I'd like to sell you.

    Mr. Billy Gates has a long history of doing things the way HE says, else you can go to hell. He's a power-hungry sourpuss, and also he's been known to disregard contracts previously.

    So, with that in mind, can you truly believe that Bungie will remain autonomous? I doubt it, very much so.


  • FYI, interfaces closely tied to the real world like MS Bob had been around since IIRC IBM prototypes from the late 70's early 80's. Also the PDA UI General Magic put out just before Bob came out was remarkably similar. I don't think that MS actually came up with the idea for Bob either. That's both sad and frightening.
  • this sounds similar to the issue between music artists and RIAA, only instead of fame, the RIAA takes the money.

  • That kind of depends on what you consider successful. While Descent was never as popular as Doom or Quake and didn't make as much money, I'd still say it was successful. Just not as successful as the id games.

    That leaves Descent as the first successful FPS with a real 3D world.

    ...eeeh, hang on. Make that the first successful FPS with a real, texture mapped, 3D world. Elite and such fit the first definition.

  • You make the concept of looking up and down in a game seem trivial - ever try walking around IRL without looking up or down? It certainly made the game much more interesting just with that addition.

    Not to mention the fact that DOOM was pretty boring - I mean Marathon was the first FPS I played that kept me awake trying and trying to finish just one more level. Not just for the satisfaction of finishing, but I really wanted to find out what was going to happen story-wise. Creepy game!


    long live durandal.

  • Ha ha ha!! Good one! not. Where did you read those Many Slashdot commenters say "it'll last forever" comments? All I read on the thread was tons and tons of lambasting. Even I thought it was downright shameful, I mean, if you don't like something --which, curiously, is free-- then you simply don't use / do / read / have it.

    But we'll see how long it lasts.


  • No, no, no.

    What he was referring to was EA Sports' habit of only doing small incremental updates. The NHL series in particular gets rave reviews year in and year out yet with every iteration I haven't seen justification of dropping another $50 every year. Triple Play 2001, anyone? Thought not.

    Remember MS buying Access Software? Links LS 2000 (The first under the Microsoft banner) got hammered by a bunch of reviewers for not being enough of an upgrade. The original poster is worried about the same thing here.

    Oh, and anyone who thinks that inventing new sports is a dumb idea obviously has never played Rocket Jockey. [] Inventing a new sport just takes actual skill, something sorely lacking in the computer gaming industry.

  • The Quake 3 engine is a state of the art engine.
    The problem with the Marathon 2 engine is that is was over 1 year old by the time the new game came out. They were competing against games like quake and it might have been in their best interest to improve the engine. Of course, you are right about gameplay and plot. These were two of strong points of the whole series.

    The thing that I was angry about was that my Macintosh was starting to lose out to my friends' openGL PCs in the game market.
  • I was filling in for the spelling nazi for a while, but it is too nitpicky and annoying.

    Besides, this is our friend clith's first post ever. I think he deserves a break. His lame homepage is filled with boring news (not flamebait, this is factual).
  • Marathon, on the other hand, was fully 3D.

    Almost. I was an avid Marathon map maker when it first came out, and while I'll give you that Marathon was lighyears ahead of DOOM at the time (those debates w/ the PC folk were great back then), Marathon had it's quirks, they were just hidden a lot better.

    The biggest problem was that you couldn't have a room with two opening in a wall showing on top of each other. Meaning, you couldn't have a doorway on the ground level, and then a doorway directly above it on the second level. You could program it just fine into your map, but once you turned to look at it *BARF* the machine would crash. It took me a while just to figure out that this was the problem, as it would crash as soon as it got one frame of that on screen. There were other minor quirks, but you get the idea.

    Still, Marathon had to be one of the best games ever when it was introduced.
  • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Monday June 19, 2000 @06:00AM (#993109)
    Marathon wasn't 3D; you could not create a true bridge (much less an object unconnected to any other wall), most people call it 2.5D, in that height was simulated with Z-coords from the polys. I'd even call it 2.5+D; you had the ability to overlap polys in the same X-Y space unlike Doom, thus allowing one to create 'floors' at various heights. You could even have these polys overlap at the same Z space, to allow effects where you could have players think they are in the same spot but were actually in separate parts of the map (they won't see each other, however, save by radar positioning. One of the network maps that came with the first Marathon was 5-D space that used this aspect well.)
  • Ok, I'll bite:

    1. Whatever
    2. Some of us would rather have the coolest toys than wage a jihad against Microsoft.
    3. It's interesting that you just said that the intended audience would never buy a Microsoft because of religious preferences, but here you make the opposite argument that the intended audience (including yourself, apparently) already plays games on a Microsoft platform.
    4. And Sony had nothing to do with Sega or Nintendo. Games sell consoles, not names.

    with humpy love,
  • Does this mean Microsoft is turning into another Electronic Arts company, where they cant make they're own games so they buy other company's to make the games for them?
  • I don't think Microsoft realizes they are buying a game company. My guess is they figured with "Bungie" software installed, whenever Windows goes down it'll come back up. If only that were the case.....
  • Bungie was bought by Microsoft but they sold their Trademarks Oni and Myth to Take2 Interactive. Take2 are owning Gathering of Developers (GOD) so GOD will work on new games from this two lines now.

    Halo might not come to linux but Mac is not completely out of the question. Microsoft does support Macintosh quite well. There is Office, drivers for the Hardware and some games. If it is easy to port Halo to the Mac (because they are halfway there allready?) then it will happen. Halo 2 though - I think not!

    the press release with info about take 2 can be found here []
  • Normally I would find this an absolutely paranoid remark, but according to
    ZDNet [] Microsoft paid about $40 mln for bungie, which is (in my opinion) a bargain for a developper that

    A) Produced several known titles already

    B) has a large enough infrastructure to be producing two 3d shooters of which one is promissing to be the hit of the year.

    If I was selling out to MS I'd at least make it worthwhile for my soon to be assimilated employees. :P

    Anyone with a little more financial perspective care to disagree ?

  • "Xbox is the first non-sucky architecture for a console"

    Well, they would say that now, wouldn't they... But seriously, Microsoft hasn't got the rights to Myth, Take2 software get to keep that along with Oni, so it doesn't look like the doom and gloom predicted by the nay-sayers here.

    Well, at least it looks like the X-Box will have some games for it when it finally arrives. That's always the main sticking point for consoles - the initial games generally suck, going more for flashy graphics and effects rather than solid gameplay. Maybe Microsoft are trying to buck that trend by getting hold of someone to produce some playable games, something Bungie seem to do very well.

    Jon E. Erikson
  • We don't know that it's xbox-only yet.

    We only have that logical suspicion.

    I want to know who's leaving and who's staying..that'll help us get a better picture.
  • Actually, There were no plans to update the Myth series after Chimera, on any platform. Who knows, Take 2 interactive, now owners of Oni and Myth could find another development studio to continue on the series past what Jason Jones and Alex Seropian felt was the end of the series, but such a sequel would seem unlikely as the cross platform tools Bungie made are probably in house software.
  • by Halo1 ( 136547 ) on Monday June 19, 2000 @04:46AM (#993118)

    ... it isn't the end of the world (or Bungie for that matter). Read this [] interview for clarification. Then you'll know that
    • Bungie remains autonomous inside Microsoft
    • The decision on which platforms to develop for remains completely with Bungie
    • the deal with microsoft was signed on a parchment made of human skin with the blood of a virgin goat (well, they're not sure whether the goat was actually virgin, but that's just a small nit)

  • I too was really looking forward to both Halo and Oni... not to mention the possibility of a Myth III.

    After Myth 2, the Warcraft/Starcraft type RTS just seemed so flat and non-immersive to me. That was a great game engine with a lot of future potential.

    And an anime action game with such good 3D... bitchin.

    But alas... as they say... all good things...

    It's just too excruciatingly bad that Bungiee had to end this way... assimilated and destroyed by the collective.

    Rest in peace Bungie. You will be missed.

    Resistance is NOT futile!!!

    I am not a drone.
    Remove the collective if

  • Rumours abound that this buyout demonstrates M$'s concerns about a potential lack of third party support for the X-Box. But where is the justification for this concern? Most games developers appear optimistic about the X-Box as a platform, especially with it's nVidia GPU. So are M$ worried, or is this just idle speculation?
  • I also doubt the ownership of Bungie will decrease the quality of their products. Microsoft's games division often puts out some good stuff like the Age of Empires series and the Close Combat series

    you do realize that "Microsoft's games division" had nothing to do with the creation of the Close Combat series, yes?

    CC1 and CC2 (not sure about 3) were created by a company called Atomic Games, which is not a division of Microsoft, but rather an separate company. once the finished product existed, Microsoft bought the rights and distributed the game. so if you have a gratifying mental image of a bunch of coders in Seattle working hard to make good real-time WWII tactical combat games, it's a fantasy.

  • Close Combat I and II (distributed by MS) were cross platform, Close Combat III dropped the Mac. I believe the company was assimilated after already starting the original's Mac version.

    Bungie could be the next to follow this route. I remember the developers saying the Mac market was too small, they really wanted to, but, sniff, it just wasn't possible.

    "I, of course, had my suspicions", Peter Bazooka by the Dead Milkmen

  • Myth and Oni are apparently safe in the hands of Take2, whether or not they're linux friendly is debateable. I would image they have no love for Mono-Macrosoft. I see an opportunity. Does anyone want to fly the flag of open source development to Take2??
  • > Now, When a kid thinks X he'll think Microsoft
    > first, and then have to be explained exactly
    > what X really is.

    Exactly - and it is a marketing coup by MS. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if Exchange got renamed eXchange RSN.
  • Why does microsoft continue to buy companies, someone should explain the benifits of hiring and paying companies, rather than absorbing and destroying them.

    I think it's called "Freedom To Innovate" or something like that.

  • I can't believe this crap! Why doesn't somebody send these people to prison! I'm not upset that Microsoft is quashing one of the best Mac gaming companies out there, I'm pissed that Microsoft is quashing one of the best gaming companies period. Damn, Halo, on XBox? gimmie a fucking break!

    If it ain't broke, fix it 'til it is!
  • In an article posted last Thursday [], MacSlash broke the story about the Bungie MS deal. Later that same day, the site was hacked [] because of the story.

    Today, we're running a story about the deal [], and we'll continue our coverage through the week. So far, the feedback has been very negative and people in the Mac community, are outraged and angry. Jason Jones has basically villified himself and sold out.. Stop by MacSlash [] to get more Mac News and add your voice to the mix.


  • "Halo is a funny game. The "no gameplay" trailers have gotten fanboys drooling, but the reasons why are elusive. Halo isn't particularly high poly--a barren landscape with no landmarks--and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot to shout about, except a distinctive art style (reflective black soliders running"
    If you look at Bungie's Job Page [] you will see they are still hiring people primarily for the Oni and Halo projects. I would think if you are at a point where you are still recruiting team members, then you are far, far, from completing the project. I wonder how Bungie can keep a straight face while posting vaporous release dates AND job postings for the same projects at the same time.
  • Bungie/Microsoft still retain the Marathon property rights. Let's see how hackneyed an effort Marathon IV will be after a few years under Microsoft employ (should the project even be allowed to happen.. "Duh, whut's Merathen? Ah, silly Mac users. Forget that Mr. Seropian. We've got a great idea lined up for you Bungie boys: Barbie Dream House Designer 2003!")
  • No matter who you are, how big your company is, or how talented your staff is, you can always benefit inlearning from the skills of others.

    Bungie built one of the most successful games of the past few years in Myth. MS built nothing worth noting. If I wanted to get myself deeper into the games market (especially imy longterm goal was to develop a better relationship with young computer users), I could either take a page out of somone else's book and try to copy their efforts (business models, programming strategies, focus groups, etc.), or I could buy them and put their knowledge to work for me directly. Of course in doing this I would try and get one of the most successful comapnies I could find, while keeping the size of the company to a minimum. This seems to be what MS is doing.

    Expanding markets with new products is never easy. This sounds like a decent strategy to me. As far as the Bungie developers being immediately sapped of their motivation by this purchase, I don't think that will happen. Firstly, MS employees have a reputation for being quite zealous in their loyalty to the company. For all we might like to believe, it doesn't sound like a bad place to work. Secondly, who ever did fantastic work on a game by being motivated by something other that it being incredibly cool to get paid to develop a great game? This part certainly won't change, especially if Bungie is staying roughly autonomous withing the management structure.

    A little more than $.02. Inflation happens.
  • To any future linux versions of Myth
  • sfoalex- dude, lay off the caffeine.
  • The stories seem to emphasize that Bungie will keep it's autonomy. But if you read them a little closer, you get a different picture. Bungie claims it will still be free to make it's own platform decisions. BUT they "have the responsibility to make smart business decisions," meaning comply with Microsofts biz plan. The other quote that jumped out at me was "It's obviously going to be unlikely that our future titles will be developed for the PS2" That really doesn't sound like it's their decision now does it?

    What will happen:
    The Bungie guys will be absorbed into the rest of Microsoft and eventually they'll get tired of not being able to make their own decisions. They'll end up leaving and going their own separate ways, and the world will be a little worse for the whole process.
    Take2 may try to find another developer but without the Bungie guys doing it, it won't be the same and will fail.

    Old story--MS buys a company, makes more people rich, but destroys something good in the process.


  • by SOMMS ( 202277 )
  • Marathon was an improvement on DOOM, but it was still just 2.5D. It used ceilings, floors, smoke, and mirrors to imitate full 3D, but it wasn't. Quake was the first successful FPS with a real 3D world.
  • One thing I haven't seen in all this discussion of Bungie's future is any mention of Bungie's developers. Where are _they_ going? Video games do not prominently display development credits as a rule, yet the people who develop the games are far more important to the final outcome than the name of the company. What is going to happen to the talent behind Oni, Halo, Myth and Marathon? IMHO, that's the really hot "property" here, not the Bungie name.

    I'll bet / with my Net / I can get / those things yet.
  • They have jumped Bungie, and as everyone knows, a Bungie Jump feels thrilling at the time, but ends up wrecking the spine and brain stem. The same will happen here. It'll be a thrilling ride, for Bungie, for a little while... they may not even feel the damage at first... but their fate really is sealed...
  • so much for being split by DoJ. will microsoft be sued again in 10 years, because of monopoly in the pc games market?

    [i just woke up ...]
  • What I am worried about is not mac versions.. MS has done some mac software. What I am more worried about is that people like Loki won't be allowed to port bungie's games to ,linux any more...

  • Yup. X-off Halo...
  • send them condoms filled with food. Kill two birds with one condom.
  • Apparently, Microsoft thinks buying into "Bungie" will help them "bounce" back after the government puts the smack down!
  • Bungie doesn't have to port Halo to the Mac, they alsways do simultanous development on at least Mac and Windows of their titles.

  • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Monday June 19, 2000 @04:50AM (#993144)
    I read this article and the one at carefully, and while it suggests that Halo may only be X-box only, I really can't see that happening. MS is trying to aim the Xbox at people that can't afford a full home computer, and thus compete with the game consoles like Dreamcast which come with limited internet access. The way I'm reading it, but obviously may not be right, is that Halo will be release first for the Xbox to allow it to be one of the first games you can get for it (possiblibly even shipping it), but at some point after the Xbox release, you'll see the PC and Mac (and Linux, maybe) releases. Especially with Halo's huge kudos at E3, *NOT* releasing this for PC platforms would be stupid. However, the article does use the word "proprietary" in here, so it may be that Halo is completely gone for the PC, which would really suck.
  • Umm, ok, that's really wierd.
    Bungie, the one game company i had been aware of that would prioritize the mac version _ahead_ of the windows version.

    _Why_ did MS choose _bungie_, of all companies? Yes, Halo and Oni look like they will be maybe two of the best games ever made, but still, MS could have just _liscensed_ those to port them to xbox, the way Loki or whoever ported Myth to linux did. And it says this way, they dont even get Oni..??

    Seems awfully suspicious, just as the mac and linux begins getting some decent support in terms of games, microsoft finds the most crossplatformly open-minded company out there and buys it. I mean, the only reasons i can think of that MS would choose _them_ to buy would be.. well, really really paranoid conspiracy-theorist, to say the least.

    Which brings me to the question: What about directx? Because buying Bungie would kind of imply MS is abandoning Directx.
    Unless, of course, Bungies games start _using_ directx.. in which case we'll know that my most absurdly paranoid assumptions in the previous paragraph were completely right.

    I know one thing though, MS isn't taking this whole breakup thing very seriously if they're still buying companies-- esp. since it seems to me if you're going to split OS from Apps, a game console hardware developer would sound a lot like OS and a game developer would sound a lot like Apps..
  • by British ( 51765 )
    If I was making a home gaming console, I'd try to shoot for licensing of all the classic games I could get ahold of. Imagine the fun potential of MAME on the X-Box, with over 500 games to choose from, many being totally obscure arcade titles that never really saw light of day.
  • In typical topical fashion, Penny Arcade [] has a comic [] about this today...

    So, is this for real? Penny Arcade says it just in the rumour stage right now...
  • It's possible, but I think the last thing that Mikrosovt wants to do during the decision period of their Federal break-up case, is to look like they're trying to monopolize the gaming industry too! On top of that, id strikes me as being a somewhat anti-MS company, and I doubt they'd sell out. At least not for under 100 million, stock options, and a Ferrari each...oh wait, Carmack already has 5 :)

  • IIRC, Descent wasn't even fully 3d (although as close as possible): you could not build a map that had a floating block disconnected from everything in it.

    Quake is definitely the first true 3d game, in that you could have bridges, floating blocks, etc. I've tried enough map making in HL to know that floating blocks are quite possible which I misjudge the height of an object :D

    I would still say though that there's a bit more to go to get 3D complete; Quake, HL, Unreal all are based on a free x-y movement with limited Z movement because of gravity. For 90% of the games out there, sure, this makes sense, but what if I really wanted to make a Matrix- like game, walking sideways on a wall? Or create a map based of Escher's designs? That Z dimension is still optimized away, to make the games faster, sure, but now that CPU and video boards of today can definitely meet the challenge, someone should add the completely free x-y-z type of movement for enclosed map games (In games like Homeworld, the free x-y-z is already there, but it's not in enclosed areas which make line of sight calculations harder.

  • And being in typical Penny Arcade fashion, I'll bet its amazingly un-funny and stupid.

    --reads strip--

    Yup, its completely un-funny and stupid.

    Double J. Strictly for the . . .
  • Even if they really, truly left the creative liberties of their development studios alone, doesn't it seem a little wrong to have only one source for all software? Does that sound like a market to you? (oh, but there will be other developers. They can be as successful as... Looking Glass!)

    Really. Look at Looking Glass. Look at the reasons Bungie has given, specifically their sense of where things are heading for _any_ independent developer- Bungie are not small time and if they were seeing that much trouble, the industry is DEAD and just hasn't fallen over yet. THINK.

  • Microsoft won't acknowledge Linux as a viable platform for anything until a year after the Supreme Court gets done with the antitrust case - assuming they uphold the breakup. As for Mac Office and Mac IE, monopolizing office productivity suites and the Web is even more important than maintaining their desktop OS monopoly.

    If you recall all the way back to 1997, the only reason Microsoft developed Office 98 for the Mac at all is because Apple forced them into it. Apple caught Microsoft doing something blatently illegal, and rather than take them to court (long drawn out legal process where nobody wins), they signed an agreement requiring Microsoft to continue to develop and support Office and IE on the Mac (as well as a bunch of other things, like paying Apple gobs of money, buying $250 million of non-voting shares of AAPL, signing a patent licensing agreement, etc. etc.).

    As you also may or may not recall, Microsoft has already dropped development of IE/Mac. If the appeals courts overturn the breakup (I don't expect it but Microsoft definitely has something up their sleeve), I wouldn't be surprised if they drop Office too.

    And of course, lest there be any confusion, porting Carbon apps (such as Office and IE - well, Office isn't even Carbonized yet but it will be eventually) from Mac OS X to other versions of UNIX just isn't going to happen. Yeah, the core is BSD, but on top of that it's a Mac.


  • Clearly, games are part of the operating system! Would you consider Windows complete without Minesweeper or Solitaire? I didn't think so.

    Seriously, I think this is a direct attack on Sony, who Microsoft is really worried about. They don't really give a damn about the Mac versions and maybe care a little about Linux. Read Cringely's article on the X-Box: "A Shot Across the Bow". []

  • If John Carmack doesn't want to work for MS (and I don't think he does), then there is no point in MS buying id. Yes, they'll get Adrian and Kevin, but without JC there is no id. Every other "hot-shot" is gone.
  • The funniest thing about this comment is that it's been moderated insightful. "Funny", maybe, but insightful? With 12 billion dollars in the bank, it doesn't take more than 100 million or so to convince any small business owner that they're better off cashing out. Especially because (as another poster mentioned above) Microsoft keeps its gaming acquisitions as autonomous entities, and just takes over QA testing, win32 compliance, and marketing. It's a great deal for all involved.
  • In the US, Bungie is singular. In almost every other country in the world, Bungie are plural. If you want to flame someone for grammar, at least get it right.
  • IF this is the same Take2 that releases stuff on the Playstation, then we're screwed. They're releasing a line of "budget" games for the PSX, where to them budget means "Bollocks to this, it doesn't crash, ship it. So what if it's crap." I've not seen one good thing said about their current titles.

    Slashdot is populated by quite a few jackasses.

  • What does this mean to the future of the online gaming service, Bungienet? Can we expect to log in soon and see "Microsoft Bungienet". God, this is the most depressing gaming news I've heard... Well, ever I think.:(

    Slashdot is populated by quite a few jackasses.

  • This message will probably rehash a little of what has been said in other comments, but I will try to be more complete to make up for it. Most of the people in this discussion have pointed out that Bungie is nothing compared to its contemporaries in terms of gameplay, game engine design, etc. This is a little true and a little not true. Yes, the Marathon engine was essentially the same as the Doom engine. However, there were a few significant improvements that the Marathon engine had. The physics model was much more complete -- height was a consideration, explosions could actually knock you into the air, you had to look up and down, etc. Also, the Marathon maps had the cool ability to do '5D space' where two rooms could occupy the same space at the same time and yet be distinct rooms. This made for some very cool and incredibly frustrating levels.

    But the most important difference between Bungie and most of its competitors is this: Bungie actually cares about plot. As someone else said, Doom was go-kill-all-find-exit-next-level, whereas the Marathon series had an intricate storyline with twists, turns, deceptions, and all kinds of mysteries. Just consider The Marathon Story Page. [] For like five years Hamish Sinclair has been compiling his and others' observations about the Marathon storyline and trying to puzzle together all of the secrets, plot pieces, and inside jokes that Bungie has worked into the Marathon games.

    Bungie's attention to plot depth and detail is not just part of the Marathon series. Since Pathways into Darkness, [] which was, I think, Bungie's first single player game, the company has loaded all of their games with so much plot that you'd have to draw a chart just to keep your head straight. Their dedication to plot also played into the Myth series and doubtless will play a large role in Halo.

    The real difference between Bungie and other games is not innovations in game engines (though they have had a few of those) but absorbing and enthralling plot lines in their games. Once you start playing a Bungie game it's hard to stop.

  • Presumably, if they have the rights to those games, they'll need the tools to maintain them.
  • gee, microsoft puchases the one game developer who was historically sympathetic to the mac platform. what a shock. i wonder whom microsoft will try to buy next

    I actually know the answer to that question. M$ is in the process of buying a hot strategy game company. This is another aspect of the M$ philosophy -- buy 3rd party developers to choke off support for other platforms.

    The company I know about is already Windows-only and uses DirectPlay, so their impact on Mac/Linux is minor. But Bungie is a big huge loss to the cross-platform game world.

    By the way, in the unlikely event that the M$ breakup goest through, which half would get DirectX & friends?

  • To make things worse.. they used OpenGL for the 3D work.
    I thin they are going to switch to the bloody M$ crap for 3D.
    That's not very good.

  • Microsoft buys Bungie, both claim acquiree remains "autonomous". Many Slashdot commenters ask "how long will that last".

    VA Linux buys Slashdot, both claim acquiree remains "autonomous". Many Slashdot commenters say "it'll last forever".

    What's the difference?
    Compaq dropping MAILWorks?
  • X: I think of unix. I think of startx. I think of Xfree86. I think that it should be running X. BUT NO!!!! Microsoft is using what would be good name for a Linux game console. What does Microsoft have to do with X? Is this box going to run an Xserver on top of DOS? I don't think so. Use Xwindows not Xbox. Maybe it is like SQL. When I say SQL people think Microsoft SQL server. They are associated with the name. What a great marketing machine they are. Now, When a kid thinks X he'll think Microsoft first, and then have to be explained exactly what X really is.
  • The saddest part about all this is how Bungie thinks they can really stay the same, while owned by Microsoft... it's just like when a popular indie artist with a loyal cadre of fans signs with a major label. "Don't worry," they say, "We'll still do everything the way we always have, our Corporate Owners promised not to tell us how to do things. We'll stay true..." Of course, we all know what happens after that.
  • by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Monday June 19, 2000 @06:22AM (#993193) Homepage Journal
    Bungie are too dedicated, too well known for having goodwill with their customers to have done this for the supplied reasons. Think about it- what would have stopped them from developing for X-Box as independents? NOTHING. It is NORMAL for a game company to maybe ship for a new console, perhaps even be cajoled by the console vendor. We are expected to believe that Bungie savaged their reputation and betrayed a _huge_ fanbase who are among the most dedicated fans in the industry, absolutely backstabbed them, all for the chance to develop for a console that they could have developed for- nay, that they could have been paid OFF to develop for ANYWAY.

    It doesn't wash. We're not hearing the whole story.

    So, since the 'carrot' is utterly, transparently inadequate as an explanation for what's going on (Halo, the Steve Jobs feature presentation of Macworld, being seized and turned into an X-Box only title), what might there be as far as the 'stick'?

    We don't have to look very far. Bungie is well known for being paranoid about distribution. Its early struggles with distributors were agonising- IIRC there's a funny rant on the subject at This company, more than almost any other, was _painfully_ aware of its delicate lifeline with the distributors.

    All Microsoft would have had to do was threaten to have Bungie blacklisted with ALL the distributors and Bungie would have to agree to any terms. "Don't carry Bungie or we'll pull Office". No distributor would risk offending Microsoft, no distributor would carry Bungie, Bungie would be dead- it's that simple. This is the most likely 'stick'- making it easy to understand these shocking and very obvious results.

    Yes this is illegal as fuck, and exactly the behaviour MS has just been found guilty of in court. Your point?

    The fact that Microsoft is running amok and trying to do as much damage as it can as fast as it can is hardly surprising. It's just a little startling how _obvious_ they're willing to be with it, knowing they can move faster than the courts.

    The most interesting point is this: Bungie is pretty much a top-tier developer. If they can be _seized_ in this manner and assigned to X-Box only, no developer is safe, and no market really exists- it's just a play-market. The question people should be asking themselves at this point is: who will be next? Will Id be seized and "Doom" be made an X-Box only title?

  • Another Reason that microsoft may be buying out game developers, is:

    1) make sure they aren't easily able to port there games to other platforms aka Linux,so anything made by the company can only be played on Microsoft specific hardware/Software i.e Xbox or Win2000/ME. (Therefore possibly less reason for people to swap OS).

    2) A lot of the companies have very talaented people in, so they could be trying to get them to work closely with the Directx team(ahem..undisclosed ahem... API's) to get a advantage over other game devolpers,or to help devlop new functionality to the API.

    I personnaly think they will try to sign more game developers soon to try and help give the Xbox, a better chance of not flopping.

  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Monday June 19, 2000 @05:02AM (#993199)
    Bungie is a funny company. Their early stuff was unremarkable (pre-Marathon), as is true of most companies. Then Marathon came along, which for all intents and purposes was a DOOM clone. Mac people *hate* this, because Marathon hit the Mac before DOOM was ported, though it was released after DOOM was out for the PC. And they're quick to point out certain features, like the ability to look up and look down). But it's still very much like DOOM, and even Jason Jones has said that they were heavily influenced by that game.

    Myth was good. Bungie needed to go off in another direction and this was it. Myth II was more of the same, but it was marred by a severe installation bug that could trash your hard drive.

    Since then, Oni has been a big disappointment. It was announced, the release was impending, then it disappeared for a year (very little was seen of it between E3 1999 and E3 2000). Now it's a PlayStation 2 game more than a PC game, and it looks, um, really bad. The frame rate at E3 was embarrassingly poor, and the game is looking very dated.

    Halo is a funny game. The "no gameplay" trailers have gotten fanboys drooling, but the reasons why are elusive. Halo isn't particularly high poly--a barren landscape with no landmarks--and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot to shout about, except a distinctive art style (reflective black soliders running under a pink sky). The E3 trailer had all sorts of jumping between scenes that made it obvious that it wasn't actual gameplay. And still there's talk about how it's the ultimate next gen game. Puzzling.

    So Bungie started by cloning the best company around, and they ended up creating the highly innovative and playable Myth, but now they've gone off and become yet another all-hype game company that can't help but disappoint. Could Messiah and Daikatana have done anything but disappoint after all that time? And Myth is on the same road.
  • by tjwhaynes ( 114792 ) on Monday June 19, 2000 @05:04AM (#993203)

    I'm stunned. I've just been over to [] and the amount of invective on the forum is amazing. If Bungie was worried about what effect this announcement would have on their loyal fans, they must be feeling pretty sick at the moment.

    Two long time Bungie fan sites seem to be closed or on the verge of closing - The Mill [] and Marathon Story []. For those not in the know, these were the two linchpin sites for Myth and Marathon fans. While the announcement on The Mill is a little overheated (read the source for the real reason) its understandable given that a lot of long time fans feel as though they have just lost a close friend.

    I also worry about the possibilities of a Linux port. To my knowledge, not one MS branded game has been ported to Linux, and I believe it is now highly unlikely that a Linux version of Halo or any future game from Bungie will appear, mainly because while Bungie has a say on what versions are produced, MS holds the exclusive distribution rights. MS knows that games are one of it's strongest cards, and that many Linux users keep a Windows partition to play the games available. Hey, with Descent 3, Terminus, Quake 3 Arena, Railroad Tycoon and Sim City 3000 and Halo on Linux, I would kiss my Windows partition goodbye.


    Toby Haynes

  • by mblase ( 200735 ) on Monday June 19, 2000 @05:21AM (#993204)
    I *am* a Mac person, and most Mac fans of the game know that Doom had nothing on Marathon. Doom was essentially a "clear the level and shoot everything in sight" game, and nothing more. The Marathon trilogy had a complicated and interesting sci-fi story behind it, complete with semi-insane AI computers and aliens who would either fight against your or for you, depending on which AI was in charge at the moment. The dialogue between the AI's and your character was so intriguing that an entire website was created just to archive it as a single, collected story.

    DOOM was a fun game. Marathon was a *great* game.

  • (grumble... grumble) why can't ms just go away and act like they don't exist(grumble)
  • Doom was essentially a "clear the level and shoot everything in sight" game, and nothing more. The Marathon trilogy had a complicated and interesting sci-fi story behind it, complete with semi-insane AI computers and aliens who would either fight against your or for you, depending on which AI was in charge at the moment. The dialogue between the AI's and your character was so intriguing that an entire website was created just to archive it as a single, collected story.

    Agreed. One of my friends is a die-hard Mac fan, and he brought his G3 and his PowerBook over to my house the other day and we played some net M2. Damn... I haven't played that game since high school. Brought back lots of memories.

    ... and then I stayed up all night for 2 days playing the single player game. That damn game is amazing! I've rarely gotten so immersed in the storyline and gameplay of a game before (especially one with such outdated graphics - the lack of antialiasing is just painful)
  • NOw.. what about a ppc version of halo? I bet they scrap it. Perhaps not, seeing as how it's done..but....

    SO much for hoping for a port anywhere else.

  • Before you /. start ripping M$ apart (woops to late), I suggest you read this interview over on Here is a excerpt:
    Blue's News: Okay, the first thing everyone wants to know...what does this mean for Halo? Will it affect the schedule of the project and will the game still be released on the Mac? Doug Zartman: It's important to understand two things: The decision about what platforms Halo and future Bungie games will be developed for remains in the hands of Bungie Studios, in the hands of the teams developing them. In Halo's case the decision has not been made yet. The development team has a ton of options to consider, and that's what they're doing right now. They may choose to concentrate on one platform, to bring the game to every platform under the sun, or something in between. As of this writing we simply don't know what the answer will be. We cannot promise that a Windows or Mac version of Halo will ship, but we can't rule it out either.
    Also I suggest you read the press release my M$, here is a interesting piece
    Bungie's development staff will become an independent development studio within the Microsoft Game Division, where it will retain its unique character and edgy personality. Microsoft expects the Bungie team to play a key role in the development of content for the Xbox platform, creating the kinds of innovative technology that have defined its character. The team will also continue developing titles such as "Halo," a revolutionary action game recently nominated for four E3 Game Critics awards, including Best of Show.
    Head over to, they seem to have everything covered about this :)
  • No innovation? What about MS-BOB?

    Oh yeah - it went over like a fart in church. Never mind.

    Seriously - one of the advantages of having a boatload of cash is that you can go out and buy all the things you need to keep some innovation alive. But Microsoft hasn't done much original stuff since the first version of Excel (which, ironically, shipped on the Mac first).

    An awful lot of the products and tools they've hung their hats on over the years have been bought, in fact. A much abbreviated list of some of their significant purchases goes like this:

    MS-DOS (purchased, an X86 clone of CP/M)

    PowerPoint (they bought Nashoba Systems, the company behind that, Nutshell, and FileMaker)

    Visio (just bought last fall)

    FrontPage (they bought Vermeer)



    And in gaming, they bought Access Software (the Links people), and they have the publishing deal that got Age of Empires produced.

    Is there anything wrong with that, though? I really don't think so. If a company wants to play in a particular marketplace they can either roll their own, or buy someone who has it ready-made. Cisco has executed that strategy brilliantly, but they get lauded for it because (a) they aren't seen as pure evil, and (b) they have integrated companies pretty seamlessly.

    So purchasing Bungie isn't necessarily bad. If Bungie gets to keep doing what they're doing (so long as it makes money), than there's nothing wrong with the transaction. Microsoft gets guaranteed good content for the X-box when it ships (Bungie is a pretty darn solid gaming company), other platforms continue to get their fair share of software, and everybody makes money. I won't not buy a new Bungie game because it's now Microsoft, but I won't buy it if it sucks, regardless of the publisher. And if they stop producing Mac and Linux games, then they're leaving money on the table. I'm sure the Mac side is profitable, and very possibly the Linux side too.

    - -Josh Turiel
  • Meanwhile, while everyone else is saving up to waiste there money on the PS2 or the XBOX (i don't think the dolphin will be a waiste since after all Nintendo is a gaming company at heart) I am loving my DreamCast

    The PS2 has more raw power

    Proove it :) My DC plays modern games at 60fps and can do everything your "super console" can do.

    The DreamCast is old

    Nope. Just maturing. Don't compare apples to oranges. I'm not buying a PS2 because of i already have DVD player and i can play every title for the PS2 that i want with my DC. The potential of the DC is only coming of age through experience and knowledge. OTH, the PS2 is coming of age by bashing its own overly hyped ego.

    What does this have to do with the X-box

    Nothing. The X-BOX is an X-BOX. It is a PC in disguise. It will be fast, it will be modern, it will have all the bells and whistles of a "PC" but it can't compete with my DreamCast. The XBOX nor PS2 is not a Console boys and girls.

    The DreamCast isn't selling

    What crackpipe have you been smoking out of? 6,000,000 units is selling.

    For anyone who can make up there own mind

    That is something to cherish. If you can make up your own mind, your own opinions and are a true gamer then i bet you will own an N64, a DC and a PSX and will probably upgrade as you go. You like the consoles because of the gaming experience. Its too bad that 75% of the people visiting this website have forgot what it was like to play games. They're to stuckup the ass with uptimes and polygons a second when they forget what the real experience is.

    So my point being. Its good to see the console market thriving, good to see all these "badboys" coming it. But people. Gaming is the console, and Sega is the leader. You go to an arcade and chances are people are lined up at Sega releases, and chances are that will land on your DC. Now what the hell do you see at the arcade running under a PS2? X-BOX? PSX?

  • it isn't the end of the world (or Bungie for that matter). Read this interview for clarification. Then you'll know that

    • Bungie remains autonomous inside Microsoft
    • The decision on which platforms to develop for remains completely with Bungie

    yes - Bungie can choose which platforms to develop for, but MS has exclusive distribution rights to Bungie's future output. So - what odds do you give me for MS licensing and distributing Halo on Linux?


    Toby Haynes

  • Microsoft has its own gaming department, but they realized years ago that it sucked the big one. ( Any one remember Fury3? ).

    Hence they've been buying developers ( & keeping them independent), then releasing games under the "Microsoft" label: in the lame attempt to fool the world that they can do hip & edgy stuff as well as patches for Office.

    I could be wrong, but I think Terminal Reality Inc was the first game company to be bought out by Microsoft, way back in 95....


  • by rob colonna ( 72681 ) on Monday June 19, 2000 @05:35AM (#993245) Homepage
    HALO isn't being *ported* to the Macintosh. The reason Bungie stands out among game developers is that they develop cross-platform from the ground up. That's why it's such a seamless experience from both sides, and why neither platform looks any better than the other. Quake III was the same way; not ported, but developed; that fact alone wins over Mac users for not having to wait an extra month (or, in Blizzard's case, year) for the latest and greatest. Westlake (the major porting company) does brilliant work with things like UT, but it still has to wait for the PC code to be done. It will be truly sad when a Bungie game is filled with Direct3d, DirectPlay, Direct*, and Mark Adams et. al. have to clean that stuff out.
  • by Clith ( 5063 ) <> on Monday June 19, 2000 @04:34AM (#993252) Homepage Journal
    Too bad. They were the premiere developer of Mac gaming titles. At least they got the source code for old games like Marathon out before they were bought..
  • by wanderingwalrus ( 85361 ) on Monday June 19, 2000 @04:35AM (#993264)

    so which Microsoft will own this? It's a worry whichever way it falls but I'm just thinking that if Windows gets Bungie then they could conceiveably cut development to other platforms (like the mac & linux) and focus on offering windows only apps?

    ... which leads me to another point, how on earth are Microsoft's holdings in other companies be divided? Would companies and shares aquired by Microsoft be spilt evenly? or will one half get more of another?

  • by tc ( 93768 ) on Monday June 19, 2000 @04:36AM (#993267)
    Although Microsoft now owns the whole of Bungie, as part of the deal, Take 2 Interactive (who used to own 19.9% of Bungie) have acquired all the rights to Oni and Myth, as well as the rights to build two titles based on the Halo engine.

    Bungie have also been quoted as saying that they will remain autonomous within MS, and may continue to develop titles for non-MS platform (e.g. Mac), although it remains to see how long that lasts. I suspect that Mac titles may be allowed to continue for a little while, but PlayStation 2 titles will be knocked right on the head in favour of X-Box.

  • Their early stuff was unremarkable (pre-Marathon), as is true of most companies. Then Marathon came along, which for all intents and purposes was a DOOM clone. Mac people *hate* this, because Marathon hit the Mac before DOOM was ported, though it was released after DOOM was out for the PC.

    I'm not a Mac person, but every time people say the Marathon had nothing over Doom, I feel compelled to correct them.

    Doom was essentially a 2-dimensional game; it didn't have the concept of height. Ever see a level with a walkway above something or a 2-level building? No - the engine couldn't handle anything more than X/Y. The apparent height of things was only rendered to the screen, it wasn't taken into account when calculating hits or intersections. For the matter, ever be standing by a wall and get clawed by one of those fireball guys who appears to be 100 feet above you? That's because the game has no concept of height, and sees that your X/Y coordinates are right next to the monster's X/Y coordinates, and so it starts clawing at you.

    Marathon, on the other hand, was fully 3D. There were levels above levels, you could look up and down (not terribly impressive, but it really adds a lot in terms of engine complexity), you could go underwater (which did little more than turn the screen blue, but it was cool anyway :-) And you can't argue with the fact that the weapons kicked all ass. ID Software didn't get to the complexity level of Marathon 1 until Quake (which was, obviously, much more complex :-)
  • Ok, i'm no Mac person, but i did love Marathon; HOWEVER, this "Marathon is 3D" stuff is just not true. I know: i made quite a few Marathon (and Marathon 2) maps in my days. Yes, Marathon handled 3D better than Doom, but it was still a 2.5D game, like Doom, like Duke Nukem and all the Build engine games. The way you did walkways over rooms was a trick. Granted, this trick worked a bit better in Marathon than, say, Doom, but it was possible in both and done even better in Duke3D. It had to do with putting multiple polygons in the same space so that the game judges which sector you're in by which way you entered it. Then you make the ceiling of one room look like the floor of the other. However, you still couldn't see one room directly above another simotainiously (you'd get a Hall of Mirrors effect), thus, you could only really use 2 dimensions.

    All you Build engine map makers and Marathon Infinity people know what i'm talking about.

    Marathon and its sequels, like all FPS from Doom up until Quake, was, on a technological level, just the Doom engine with a few hacks. On the other hand, Marathon, as a game, was done much better than Doom, which is what made it great, but not the technology.


    PS: I morn for the passing of this great company, and yes, it has passed.
  • by NetCurl ( 54699 ) on Monday June 19, 2000 @04:36AM (#993288)
    not kill off Bungie's identity. This article: page_912_1.html

    over at shows a little light at the end of the tunnel for PC/Mac gamers who liked the independent and creative Bungie.
  • MSFT bought Take2's stake in Bungie, which was only 19.9% of Bungie. MS does not control Bungie by any stretch of the imagination.


  • Er- going out and _seizing_ top tier game developers who are cooperating with your competition (Halo has headlined Macworld and been featured in Steve Jobs keynotes) and making them turn their game X-Box only is, shall we say, a _bit_ over the line? This is precisely the sort of thing MS has been doing that got it _convicted_ of antitrust and sentenced to be broken up, right down to the likelihood that MS strongarmed Bungie into it.
  • The people running Take 2 have their heads on straight. I remember when they refused to allow Derek Smart to milk any more money out of them by releasing BC3000.

    If anyone has the smarts to keep their heads above water versus M$, it would be Take 2.

  • Oh, they probably offered the usual choice. "Either you take this money and become part of Microsoft or we will make sure no title you ever produce will ever work on Windows again. Accidents happen you know, and it would be so tragic if your sequence of API calls happen to make DirectX go Boom.".
  • by Dedman ( 200950 ) on Monday June 19, 2000 @04:42AM (#993333)
    Why does microsoft continue to buy companies, someone should explain the benifits of hiring and paying companies, rather than absorbing and destroying them.

    Surely Microsoft already has it's own gaming department, why buy a dynamic succesfull inventive company just to integrate it with the bogged down, corporate coders of microsoft.

    And another thing, if the programmers of Bungie have been bought out and given near garanteed job security, why the hell would they bother to make any more good games. The chance of the company failing or succeeding on the next project is what makes the smaller companies make such good games.

    Want an example, what about the massive EA-sports, what the hell original games have they created recently??? Just the same old "New Improved Fifa", all they seem to do is update the player names for the latest tournament.

    Rant over
  • Here's the official answer as to "Why, Bungie, WHY!?!?!?", which I grudgingly admit makes good sense. Taken directly from Bungie's acquisition FAQ []:
    Why is this happening?

    For two reasons:

    A. Microsoft is offering us the opportunity to lead the way on a next-generation console system. We will not only be one of the premier developers for the platform, but we'll be working directly with the Xbox team, helping to optimize the hardware and software for each other. We'll influence the design of the system; we'll help to ensure that the Xbox is the best platform to code for, and the most impressive console on the block. Such an opportunity does not come often. Bungie has always tried to keep abreast of the industry, if not ahead of it, and next-gen consoles seem like the place to be if you develop games. This deal allows us to get into that market in a big way.

    B. The business of publishing entertainment software independently has changed enormously since Bungie started. Bungie was not in immediate danger of going under, but we realized that within a few years we'd need a strong partner if we wanted to keep making games the way we always have. We opted to make what we saw as an inevitable move while we were still in a position of strength, rather than wait for circumstances to force our hand. The ultimate goal is to ensure Bungie continues to exist and continues to produce the high-caliber games for which it is known.

  • by Bad Mojo ( 12210 ) on Monday June 19, 2000 @04:42AM (#993335) Homepage
    I have been really looking forward to HALO. Bungie seemed like a group who seriously took their fans opinions to heart. If they decide to release HALO only for the XBox, I'll feel seriously betrayed. Bungie has had a very die hard following of Mac and PC users ever since HALO has been announced and if Bungie suffers for ditching those people in order to get more `say' on how the XBox is created, then so be it.

    Oh well, there are other games coming out. I'm sure someone can fill Bungies shoes in the PC/Mac arena.

    Bad Mojo []

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham