|[3:00 PM] Game News: Bungie FAQ Sets Microsoft Record Straight
by Cory Harrison
In this weeks game news:
What has been perceived as a devastating blow to the Macintosh gaming community was officially announced yesterday following a period of intense speculation in the online game media. Bungie Software, the developers of the popular Marathon series, and the successful crossplatform titles Myth: The Fallen Lords, and Myth2: Soulblighter, has been acquired by Microsoft. While Bungie representatives say that they will maintain control of decision making while under the Microsoft umbrella, it is unclear whether or not Macintosh development will continue.
Here is the official word from Bungie, taken from their FAQ:
What happens to Oni?
Oni will be finished by the Bungie West team in their San Jose office and tested by Bungie's QA manager and his team. The game will then be published, distributed and supported by Gathering of Developers for Mac and Windows, and by Rockstar Games for the PlayStation2. It will ship for PC, Mac and the PlayStation2. After the game ships, the Oni team will relocate to Seattle to join the rest of the Bungie staff and start work on their next project.
What happens to Halo?
What happens to the existing PC/Mac versions of Halo?
It's important to understand two things: this decision is left to Bungie's development teams, and in Halo's case it 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. Nor is there any reason to at this point.
What about Linux?
If we do a Linux version, we would probably contract someone outside the company to port and distribute the game, much as we did with Myth II.
The lack of any true commitment at this point to a Mac version of Halo is disappointing to say the least. Buying an X-box definitely isn't going to be a big priority for any computer gamer who holds console games in low regard
Perhaps even more interesting is the FAQ's candid and open manner in addressing the issues of "Microsoft's Evil Empire" and how Bungie now fits in. Bungie execs clearly have their finger on the pulse of what the gaming community in general, and the Mac gaming community in particular, feels about this deal.
Now that you're moving from the mean streets of Chicago to the much wussier Seattle area, what are the chances that Bungie will lose its soul and attitude and become a bunch of Dockers-clad latte sippers who only talk about stock prices and mortgage rates?
We have retained the Bungie Webmaster to ensure that the requisite levels of surrealism, bile, hostility and sheer gall are maintained to our satisfaction. Also, dyed-in-the-wool Chicagoan Matt Soell will be along to constantly complain about the lack of decent pizza, the ubiquitous hills, the ridiculous coffee lingo and the jarring lack of gunfire in Seattle's ambient soundscape. The two of them should keep the rest of us in line should we start to lose our attitude.
Would you like to listen to a rambling tirade that condemns this decision and includes words like "traitors," "sellouts," "whores" and a great deal of profanity?
No. Please keep it to yourself. If your mind is made up to hate this decision and by extension the people who made it, there is little we can do to make you feel better.
Don't you feel that this is a betrayal of everything you stand for?
Not at all. There's a tendency among some people to assume Bungie shares certain beliefs, stances or ideologies with them because Bungie has never said anything to the contrary. Back in the days when Bungie was a Mac-only company, some people chose to believe that Bungie deliberately ignored the PC market because we shared their bias against Windows. When Bungie announced a port of Marathon 2 for Windows 95, these people complained that Bungie had betrayed its audience and its principles. But a bias or preference for or against any one particular platform has never been one of our principles.
Bungie stands for one thing and that is to make great games. This move is not an act of betrayal; if anything, it makes us confident that we won't have to compromise our principles in the future.
You can read the entire FAQ, and find more information, at the Bungie web site.
The Mac Observer Spin: What we particularly admire is the way that Bugie is dealing with their fans's attitude towards Microsoft itself. They have so far been facing the issue without trying to make their downplay their new owners' past. For instancs, the question "Would you like to listen to a rambling tirade that condemns this decision and includes words like "traitors," "sellouts," "whores" and a great deal of profanity?" That's gutsy in our opinion, though we are dissapointed in Bungie fans who use those terms in the first place.
While none of us are all that excited about this business deal it is clear that the Bungie people themselves think they are going to be able to make better products. As we said yesterday, Bungie has earned a little trust from Mac users. We may end up never seeing any more Mac titles from the company, but until we see that happening, let's give them a chance.
That said, note that http://halo.bungie.com still says Halo is "Coming soon for Windows and Mac OS." Minute details on their Web site are probably the last thing on their minds right now, but we choose to take that as a hopeful sign. :-)