Bungie and Activision are splitsvillle, daddy-o


I’m (re)kicking the hornet’s nest here, but can someone explain why Halo was so good? Because I find it pretty meh. Ok I played it on PC, and I simply have no patience for shooters on controllers. The regenerating shield thing is the ONE gameplay mechanic that was adopted by the rest of the shooter industry, that may be a point in favour of Halo. (IMO in other context it is just lazy design, like in pseudo realistic shooter like CoD. You hit by a bullet and you can just WALK IT OFF???)

I played Marathon and agree that it is great, but then it doesn’t mean much because it was 20 years ago. Why do people think Bungie is still Bungie they remember 10-20 years ago instead of a completely different beast, like id software right now is a completely different beast than id software 10-20 years ago?


As far as I can tell, the big selling point of Halo is that it figured out how to do shooters on a gamepad. (Well, that and the shields and two-weapon limit were big genre influences, the latter of which I roundly despise.) Which, if you want that, is a big deal. I don’t, at all, but it clearly was very successful.


So they’re saving Destiny by making it a mobile game?


Loved that game. Where’s my Blackthorne reboot? Oh wait, wrong giant game dev starting with “B” and merged with Activision.


Well, it was also a 4 game, 12 expansion deal in the original contract.

Yeah, Bungie always owned the IP, too. They had a lot of leverage coming out of their relationship with MS.

NetEase just invested 100M last year in Bungie. That makes way more sense now.

My read is Activision was pretty happy to get out of funding further Destiny games when they weren’t seeing the kind of returns they want from a product they never owned.


I’ve been playing shooters since Wolfensgein came on floppy disks, and Halo was exceptional.

Bungie nailed the combat loop. Each little firefight could play out different each time you play, depending on your tactics, and the AI response. Speaking of which, the AI was pretty darn good, giving each Covenenant species a distinct “personality” in combat, coupled with the voice-acting, which enhanced that feeling. (There’s a reason why they record dozens upon dozens of different lines for each enemy).

Gameplay also reduced the weapons to two-at-a-time, when most shooters to that point were like Doom in that every weapon in your arsenal is always on hand. Having two weapons means your constantly having to make choices about what to carry, what that further determines what tactics you’ll adopt for any encounter.

The “open world” nature of some of the levels also got away from the rigid corridor feel of many shooters. Oh, and the vehicle and infantry gameplay was damn near cutting-edge and totally seamless (again helped by the presence of friendly AI who not only gunned for you, but also provided fun commentary along the way).

And just when you’re really settling in to the covenenant, they introduce the flood, and the combat loop goes to a whole new level as now the Covies and Flood will battle one-another while you’re running around causing havoc.

Then there’s the finale, which had no boss battle but an insane driving sequence that was absolutely hilarious and thrilling the first time you played.

Layer on Bungie’s sense of univer-building and character (the latter almost totally provided by Cortana as chief barely speaks). And it’s easily a Hall of Fame game.

And that’s not even mentioning the multiplayer, which allows split-screen co-op and LAN parties. Both of which were social and fun as hell, and there’s a reason guys will post photos of old-school Halo LAN parties to reddit all the time. Hanging out with your best friends all night eating pizza and playing Halo remains a seminal moment for many.


Which massively, massively reduces what tactics you’ll adopt for any encounter, IMO. I fucking hate the two-weapon limit.


I don’t mind the two weapon limit that much, it made me try weapons I probably never would have used, and to figure out what weapons were best for a particular situation and plan ahead.


I found it has the opposite effect, all but demanding I stick to the generic weapons with regularly available ammo.


Well that’s the thing though, you can’t expect to find ammo for all weapons in all levels, you didn’t swap out weapons when you ran out?


Sure. To something else that’s reliably available. In Halo, you can pretty reliably keep up an assault rifle and a plasma rifle or pistol. Which is fucking boring, but it gets the job done, and means you’re not tying up your incredibly limited inventory with something fun but which will be used twice and then never again because there’s never ammo for it.

Whereas in a game that doesn’t practice this particular abomination of design, you can switch to whatever part of your arsenal is best suited to the tactical situation.


I just didn’t find any particular weapon that dominated all others to such a degree that I needed to carry only that. I liked that ballistic weapons weren’t very useful against shielded covenant enemies, but great against the flood. Now I can imagine you saying if you carried all weapons you’d just swap out as need arose. Sure, that’s one way. But when I say a two weapon limitation forced me to use weapons I might not normally I’m thinking of stuff like the needler, which could find creative use when needed. Taking what was available and making it work helped make the game feel improvisational.


I think forcing the player to take what was available and make it work could potentially be interesting design, but I disagree that Halo does that. It profligately provides weapons that are generically useful if mediocre under virtually all circumstances, and does very little to make anything else viable outside of specific scenarios where it basically hands you the associated weapon. And then consider that virtually no one that cargo-culted the two weapon limit from Bungie had anything like as good a low level mechanical design, and you end up with a mechanic that’s mostly just annoyingly restrictive and deprecates the usefulness of special case weaponry.

I think for that sort of thing to really accomplish the desired effect, you’d need to regularly provide access to a variety of gear with extremely limited, nonreplenishable uses and very meaningful distinctions in terms of benefits and drawbacks.


I always wondered about that. About whether it was possible to stick to the generic human weapons. I always kept changing to the most commonly held enemy weapons. So if I was in an area with a lot of plasma rifles/carbines, I’d switch to those. If I was given a human sniper rifle, I’d try to stretch those bullets as long as I could before giving that up. Of course, there were the very limited ammo weapons in the game too. The covenant sniper rifle was very limited in energy/ammo. Same with rocket launcher. Same with the needler. Though it was great when you were an area with a lot of needler ammo because then it became awesome to just keep picking up more of that. When later in the game I was in the forerunner area, I’d pick up those beam weapons.

But throughout the game, I did notice those downed marines where they’d have the assault rifle. I did always wonder, were those there in case a player was determined to play through the game with an assault rifle? I did pick one up occasionally, if I’d picked up the wrong combination of weapons sometimes. Like if I was out of shotgun ammo, and my other gun was a rocket launcher. Or if I had an alien sniper rifle on me, then an assault rifle was a good switch since that gun had such limited ammo.

But it’s interesting that you say it was actually possible to play through the game with a generic human loadout. I think next time I play through Halo I’ll give that a try.

I’m surprised that you found the assault rifle effective though. The weapon spread was wide enough that it was only really effective at short range and kind of iffy at medium range. Now, Halo 2 onward screwed up the balance quite a bit when they introduced the human battle rifle. That thing was accurate as hell, and there was no reason to ever give that up if you could keep finding ammo for it.


Yes, when I said that none of the guns had a clear advantage I was definitely thinking of the first Halo. After that, there was never a reason to put down a battle rifle.


That was a pretty good write-up of Halo’s strengths and innovations, @Woolen_Horde, but the other thing it did that was new was grenades. You always had them on hand, tied to your left trigger button, and ammo for them was relatively plentiful. They weren’t overpowered, but they were a necessary tactic for getting the job done. Every other shooter to that point restricted their use by low ammo and the need to switch to them in your weapon slot to use them. It was a huge paradigm shift.

That game just did so much right.


I didn’t say that you could play through the game with a generic human loadout. I said that you could generally keep an assault rifle supplied as long as you were running a plasma weapon in the other slot (and switching back and forth, of course). There are a lot of downed marines and dropships. In a pinch you could even, you know…resupply…off previously living marines.

And I never really had any incentive to try anything that wasn’t getting dropped every five seconds, because it wasn’t supported with ammo.


Holy hell ya weirdos. Halo 1 & 2 absolutely earned their places in the pantheon, and I say that as someone who scoffed like a Frenchman at a Queboicois dinner menu at the idea of gamepad shooters.



Damn I checked and I don’t think Bungie owns the rights to Myth. It’s never going to happen. :(