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View Full Version : Labor of love or labor of loot?


ArugulaZ
01-18-2008, 03:40 AM
http://kotaku.com/346207/super-mario-fusion-a-happy-marriage-of-halo-and-mario

Seeing this video got me thinking about the place of Halo in video game history. Now there's no question that the game has made its mark on our hobby. However, Halo has always reminded me of the film Shrek, in that it feels manufactured and artificial. While Super Mario Bros. was developed by a team of creative minds, Halo gives you the distinct feeling that it was born in the board room; the product of corporate executives and marketing specialists.

I can just imagine Bill Gates approaching the design team at Bungie and saying, "Look, we need to have a game that will instantly be associated with the Xbox brand... maybe one of those first-person shooters that are really popular with PC gamers. Be sure to give it a shiny look to show off the power of the system, and keep the storyline gritty. You know, make it mature enough to draw in our target audience, but not so controversial or deep that it scares away our teen demographic."

I don't know... maybe I'm way off base on this, but that's the vibe I get from the series. As well-designed as the Halo games may be, they've always had a distinct aftertaste of strategic marketing that makes them harder to enjoy... much like the typical Dreamworks animated film.

Zeroneight
01-18-2008, 04:16 AM
But Halo was initially developed for Mac/Windows, before Microsoft acquired Bungie. Also, it was originally an RTS.

And:

(...)Bungie was still considered a Macintosh publisher by many, as it produced several titles for the Apple platform first, or exclusively. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bungie_Studios#History)

Being a Mac game developer is nothing if not a labor of love.

Of course, Bungie has certainly changed since those days, but I think it's still got heart. Go to bungie.net (http://www.bungie.net/) and read some of Frankie's posts if you find the actual games distasteful.

BEAT
01-18-2008, 04:40 AM
I never really got that vibe from Halo. And if you think about it, Mario games probably suffer from an equal amount of boardroom bickering, arguments over profitability, etc.

Really, both of them are labors of loot, that received no small amount of love from their development teams.

mopinks
01-18-2008, 04:54 AM
I think Beat utilized a very good comparison.

Makkara
01-18-2008, 06:07 AM
I think Halo feels very much like a labor of love. Halo 2 a little less so, and Halo 3 less still. I guess as the series' popularity and importance increased, Bungie's willingness to innovate and take risks decreased, but the original Halo (and the whole setting) really seems like something designed with genuine care. If the games seem a bit cookie-cutter now, it's only because everyone else has been mimicking them for years.

Sven
01-18-2008, 07:20 AM
The original Halo was derivative (Doom meets Rama meets Aliens covers about 95% of the "mythology"), but I wouldn't say it was corporately-mandated or anything like that. Just about every action game goes through the "make it gritty, but not too gritty" type of discussion, as if you want to get big sales you need to appeal to a broad audience.

Well, as broad an audience as can be expected when talking about FPS games.

Kolbe
01-18-2008, 07:31 AM
Yeah, I also think the original Halo was more a labor of love than anything else. And while the rest of them feels less "independent", so to speak, they are made with care too. I can sense that in the little details, such as the terminals and stuff like that. Bungie really put some effort in creating something special, I believe.

Radical Ans
01-18-2008, 08:10 AM
I'd say the Halos are more Ringworld (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ringworld) than they are Rama

Parish
01-18-2008, 08:34 AM
Uh, yeah, this theory would hold far more water if Halo hadn't been in a development for a year or two before Bungie was acquired by Microsoft. More correctly, someone on the Xbox team saw Halo and said, "Hey, this could be a slick franchise irrevocably associated with the Xbox. Let's buy it."

SDMX
01-18-2008, 05:46 PM
More correctly, someone on the Xbox team saw Halo and said, "Hey, this could be a slick franchise irrevocably associated with the Xbox. Let's buy it."

Yeah, at Macworld '99.

ArugulaZ
01-18-2008, 07:21 PM
Wasn't the game originally envisioned as a real-time strategy game, only to be changed into a first-person shooter when Microsoft acquired Bungie?

SDMX
01-18-2008, 07:40 PM
Wasn't the game originally envisioned as a real-time strategy game, only to be changed into a first-person shooter when Microsoft acquired Bungie?

This was a much earlier build. What they debuted at Macworld was essentially what everyone saw at E3 2000, just a little uglier.