An Xbox Fan’s Ode to Bungie

The yr 2022 – to be henceforth often known as The Yr The place The whole lot Acquired Consolidated – is just a month previous and already the online game {industry} has seen three major acquisitions totaling $85 billion. The newest of these sees first-person shooter powerhouse Bungie becoming a member of Sony and PlayStation Studios in a $3.6 billion transfer. And whereas each Bungie and Sony say that the studio will proceed to be a multiplatform developer, that will solely find yourself proving true for Destiny, which continues to get pleasure from a thriving neighborhood and long-term assist. Bungie has other projects within the works, and at the same time as Bungie says these will stay multiplatform video games, now that Bungie is with Sony, that might change eventually.

No matter whether or not it does or doesn’t, although, this transfer marks, in spirit not less than, the tip of an period for Xbox followers. Bungie has joined PlayStation, which is the online game equal of Purple Sox nice Wade Boggs signing with the Yankees. And as an Xbox fan who has lined the Microsoft console beat for practically 20 years, I need to look again at what Bungie has meant for the Xbox platform and neighborhood.

Each Bungie Sport Ever Reviewed by IGN

Fairly merely, Xbox in all probability wouldn’t be right here right now, buying Bethesda and dozens of other studios whereas celebrating its twentieth anniversary, if it wasn’t for Bungie. Because the current six-part Xbox documentary Energy On particulars, Microsoft’s entry into the house console market was a tough, costly, and mentally taxing endeavor during which success was not assured whereas up towards entrenched powerhouses Nintendo and Sony. The unconnected consoles of the flip of the century wanted ‘killer apps’ to deliver folks into their ecosystems, and if it wasn’t for Bungie’s industry-changing shooter Halo: Fight Advanced (and sure, there isn’t any hyperbole within the time period “industry-changing” right here), the Xbox won’t have offered sufficient items to proceed justifying its existence in its first yr – significantly when Microsoft was dropping cash on each console offered simply to try to acquire a foothold within the market. With respect to Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee, nothing outdoors of Halo within the first yr was going to persuade folks to drop $300 on the massive black field, or its hulking controller.

Xbox in all probability wouldn’t be right here right now if it wasn’t for Bungie.

Halo put Xbox on the map. Thousands and thousands of split-screen co-op classes had been began, 1000’s of Halo multiplayer LAN events had been hosted, numerous Covenant had been slain. And thru all that, relationships had been cast and strengthened. Halo mattered, and so the Xbox mattered.

Halo 2 took all of it to an entire new degree by leveraging Xbox Dwell – the broadband-only on-line gaming service that launched a yr after Halo 1 and the console itself did – in a method that had by no means been seen within the console house or, heck, even the PC house, during which looking server lists to search out multiplayer matches was the norm of the day. Halo 2 turned multiplayer lobbies into digital couches the place you would hang around with your mates and sport with all of them night time lengthy with out ever being separated. It was a revelation, and when mixed with Halo 2’s new mechanics – hi there, automobile boarding and weapon dual-wielding – and memorable complement of maps, it made Xbox the place for multiplayer gaming on consoles. All of the sudden a complete new world of multiplayer had opened up in the lounge. Two-player co-op, one-on-one preventing video games, and four-player same-screen brawls had been complemented by 4v4 Slayer matches and 16-player Huge Workforce Battles. This was a step change for console multiplayer gaming, and it began on Xbox due to Bungie.

It took years for the competitors to catch up, each on Xbox and on different consoles. And by the point that they had, Bungie had helped propel a second console, the Xbox 360, to stratospheric success with Halo 3 – a sport whose “End the Battle” tagline and trilogy-completing story helped make its launch a second that rippled all through all of popular culture. And that’s to say nothing of Halo 3: ODST, a riveting spinoff that is still beloved by Xbox followers right now, and Halo: Attain, Bungie’s full-circle goodbye to the franchise they’d constructed.

And so I’m left to mirror. If Bungie chooses to launch future video games on Xbox, as they insist they may, that might after all be nice. However even when they don’t, then it’s been one hell of a journey. And for PlayStation followers, get pleasure from it, as a result of I think Bungie’s just getting started.

Ryan McCaffrey is IGN’s govt editor of previews and host of each IGN’s weekly Xbox present, Podcast Unlocked, in addition to our month-to-month(-ish) interview present, IGN Unfiltered. He is a North Jersey man, so it is “Taylor ham,” not “pork roll.” Debate it with him on Twitter at @DMC_Ryan.

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