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Playing some Reach Firefight and talking about old Halo games.

Talking about this article:

https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/the-complete-untold-history-of-h...

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UPDATE: New version with fixed audio.

We're playing the next of Bungie's famous games, the Real Time Tactics fantasy wargame, Myth. Set in a mysterious land of cyclical war and destruction, Myth lets you command a ragtag army in a desperate battle against the forces of the Fallen Lords.

Balin leads a group of dwarves against Ghôl invaders into ancestral dwarven lands and destroys a big rock. Once again, Blackstar, with Ooga Booga (and Renwood) race against Narcogen and Renwood. Who will win, and who will die? Watch and find out!

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Blackstar and Narcogen take a look at the latest version of the Xbox One dashboard and wonder what went wrong. Some NSFW language.
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Award cites 'long-term, invaluable and unique contributions'

Over at VentureBeat, Dean Takahashi has written what is probably the best article to date on the resolution of the dispute between former Bungie composer and Audio Director Marty O'Donnell and the developer that fired him last year before the release of their latest game, Destiny. It goes into the background of how the dispute arose and resulted in O'Donnell being fired from his position as Audio Director, and how Bungie also took action to attempt to strip O'Donnell of his then-unvested shares in the developer, even going so far as to reissue shares at a secret board meeting.

What the article mostly leaves out, though, are the grounds on which the arbitrator made the award-- those details are available in the full award document, available at Scribd.

There is a tendency to view the result as a complete victory and vindication for O'Donnell, and there is no doubt that the sequence of events reflects poorly on Bungie management, especially studio president Harold Ryan. However, it is worth looking at the award itself to see what O'Donnell asked for, what he actually got, and why.

What has also gone largely uncommented-upon since O'Donnell's firing is that it presumably also means the end of the creative partnership between O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori, who remains at Bungie and is working on Destiny, while O'Donnell is moving on to found his own game company, Highwire Games, with other ex-Bungie employees. That partnership spanned multiple decades and predated both composers involvement with Bungie, with began with Myth in the mid-90s.

O'Donnell submitted several claims to arbitration, and Bungie submitted its own counter-claims. Most of these either failed, or succeeded without significant consequence.

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How I think Bungie's development history may have led to that empty feeling where Destiny's story should be. In the past this would have been a blog post, but since we're doing mostly videos these days... why not?
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Since Marty O'Donnell just posted a version of the Halo MWNY trailer from 1999, (view it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XL0hrSSUpHw ) I thought I'd splice together a side-by-side comparison of that version and the one from Bungie's own YouTube channel, which I remember as being the version actually shown to the MWNY audience and captured in multiple shakycam videos.

Bungie's version is on the left; Marty O'Donnell's version is on the right.

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Fans of previous Bungie franchises like Halo and Myth were surprised earlier this year by the termination of the employment of composer Martin O'Donnell as the studio's Audio Department director, and the subsequent lawsuit he brought against the studio's president, Harold Ryan, for unpaid vacation and penalties. That lawsuit was recently settled.

What remained unresolved was the musical future of Bungie's newest franchise, Destiny, the soundtrack for which was the product of O'Donnell and longtime collaborator Michael Salvatori. The two worked together at Bungie on the soundtrack for five Halo games, and before joining Bungie also did the soundtrack for Bungie's RTS series, Myth, as Total Audio.

No official statement came either from Bungie or from O'Donnell regarding Salvatori. Fans wondered whether he would remain at Bungie and continue working on Destiny, or would he also depart, perhaps to join O'Donnell on some new project.

Contacted through his official website, his representative Lisa Ramirez responded to our inquiry about Salvatori's plans:

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For years now I've speculated that Bungie became independent from Microsoft in 2007 because the studio wanted to make games that weren't Halo but Microsoft wanted no part of that. This conclusion seemed (to me, anyway) to be strongly supported by the spinoff deal that set Bungie free in exchange (at least in part) for Microsoft keeping the Halo franchise. Any lingering doubts I'd suggest were expunged by Jason Jones in his last interview with Game Informer:

GI: Before Destiny, your team had been working on Halo for a long time. What prompted the move?

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Well, I have to say this comes as somewhat of a shocking surprise. Of course Bungie undergoes turnover like any other organization-- the bigger it is, the more churn it has.

Fan community members I've known have gone to work for Bungie. Some have moved on, others are still there. Some Bungie employees, even founders, moved on when the studio was bought by Microsoft. Some moved on when it became independent. For the most part, Bungie maintains the "Bungie Way" even as old faces leave and new ones arrive.

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Umbra Software, makers of Umbra 3, have put up a blog post about how their middleware is being used for world creation and rendering in Bungie's Destiny. They'll be doing a presentation on it at GDC this year as well.

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Over at Gamasutra, Shay Pierce wrote a piece entitled Game Designers and the Four Tribes of Artists, and then Sara Gross (also at Gamasutra) wrote a piece called Indie Elitism, partially in response. Response to what?

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Activision/Blizzard has posted their official press release. I've archived it here. Near the bottom they put a tidbit for Bungie fans with a penchant for rampant speculation:

Activision reiterated that although Bungie's amazing new world was revealed today, Activision has not included the launch in its 2013 outlook and there should be no speculation or expectation of a different result.

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This image was the first piece of concept art revealed after the first leak in November 2012.

It shows the enemy known as the Fallen. A spider tank trudges through the snow in the distance, and one of the figures appears to be shadowed by what might be a companion drone of some sort.

"Fallen" could also be seen as a reference to Bungie's RTS series, Myth. Myth's first title was Myth: The Fallen Lords.

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Most Bungiefen have been eagerly awaiting official news for the company's next game, referred to internally as Tiger and externally as Destiny, have so far been treated only to long-winded legal contracts and some leaked treatments and concept art. Bungie has started up their Community Theatre series of short videos on YouTube featuring Deej and Raspy (a stuffed tiger, get it?) and promising a reveal of the company's new game within a few weeks.

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A flash drive lost by a third party contractor reveals art and information pertaining to Bungie's new project, Destiny.

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11/27/2012

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