If you don’t know; 343 Industries is a video game developer company spawned by Microsoft to continue the Halo series since Bungie’s departure from creating the series exclusively for Xbox. 343i was put together using former members of Bungie, including a slew of new-hires but Bungie’s die-hard employees believed in their dream to start a new video game series and gladly left under Microsoft’s thumb.
Alex Seropian started creating games for the Mac Operating System in 1990 with his first release Gnop!, a basic Pong clone (it’s even Pong spelled backwards). A year later Alex formed the official name Bungie with the release of Operation: Desert Storm. Since then, they’ve created some well received IPs such as Myth, Minotaur: The Labyrinths of Crete, Oni (my personal non-Halo favorite), Marathon. With 11 games and 10 years of developing videos game under the belt the global phenomenon Halo: Combat Evolved was officially released in 2001 exclusively for Xbox (with a PC / Mac release not too far behind).
Bungie continued to make strives in the Halo series for years. Halo 2 (2004) only became more popular than the original, with Halo 3 (2007) peaking the popularity with the first game of the series hitting the Xbox 360. Besides the original trilogy that is stilled called flawless to this day, Bungie also released 2 spin-off games; Halo: ODST (2009) & Halo: Reach (2010). Halo Reach being more than just a spin-off with it’s own multiplayer become sort of a cult classic even though many people (like me) believe it was the official downfall of the series introducing things like sprinting and jetpacks. Despite the popular opinion that 343i ruined the series with loadouts and modern-izing the classic game, Bungie did most of that before they wiped their hands clean of Halo forever. Yet, there’s a large group of people that claim Reach is “the last good Halo game”.
In 2012 343 Industries officially took over the IP with the release of Halo 4. Although many people thought that the game was actually a great step in the right direction, the popular opinion is that this game is a complete failure (I disagree). I personally loved everything about the official 4th game. So why am I getting ready to blast the company that made my dream come true by continuing my favorite series? Well, a good game developer is so much more than just releasing a beautiful looking piece of art. They also have to stand by it.
It’s been 2 years since the release of Halo 4, and although their support of their game looked promising with 4 beautiful map packs, they’re failing to actually support the people who want to keep loving the series. Even though Xbox’s achievement system is becoming less and less popular over the year there is still a large population that believes it’s the corner stone for “completing” any game. 343 Industries glitched their last handful of achievements on their last map pack, and pretty much don’t seem to care about the now 51 page forum topic, or the handful of petitions popping up begging for them release a patch. Although a lot of people seem to be calling the concerned players “whiners” but in reality, it’s a complete lack of support from people who charged us over $80 for their product. No matter what the issue, it’s a terrible PR move from any company.
Bungie was well known for the activity in their own forums. Until the release of Halo: Reach, it was pretty popularly known that you could go into the forum, bitch about anything, and get a response from someone who actually created the game. Granted, they’d tell you shut up most likely, but if your opinion was valid, they listened. This was a comfortable feeling, especially with something so beloved like the Halo series. It’s a no-brainer why Bungie was great beyond the game itself. A lot of companies release amazing looking games but what makes a great company is the support they provide afterwards.
Even with the soon to be released new IP, Destiny; Bungie has already showed that they’re bringing their love of listening with them while they go cross-platform and open up their fan base to Playstation fans. Granted, they’re obviously jumping on Sony’s excitement to have them aboard and don’t seem to be worried about their Xbox fanbase that has been following them for years, I personally understand their direction. Us Xbox kids already know damn well how awesome Bungie is beyond the game, and we’re already missing them with 343i’s recent antics.
Bungie is taking time to support their new IP with the alpha & beta events, as well as their continued reach on their forums while 343i gave up supporting Halo 4 to work on the Master Chief Collection coming in November. It’s a sad day when you realize your favorite video game series is dying, and I’ve been sitting on that feeling for way too long.