Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Bungie’


Creative director Marcus Lehto of Bungie Studios thoughts on Halo Wars

Picked up on a interview with Bungie’s creative director Marcus Lehto today which looks back at Bungie during the Halo years and the future of the studio going forward. The interview does touch on Halo Wars and the studios thoughts about Ensemble working on the title. –

Looking back, were you happy with Microsoft’s decision to make Halo Wars? What did you think of the game, and its reception? What’s your stance on Halo spin-offs in general?

For Halo Wars I can say that we weren’t involved with it at all, but at the time we figured – and it’s still true – that if anyone would want to take a stab at a Halo RTS, Ensemble had the pedigree and talent to do it.

Ultimately, all of us were happy with how it turned out; they would have been hard pressed to do a better job at an RTS on console. Certainly elements like the cinematics – how they enriched different parts of the universe – as fans it was really cool to see that.

Would you have liked Microsoft to come to you? We’re surprised you weren’t involved with Halo Wars at all…

Well, we didn’t have any room in our schedule anyway. We had a pretty rigorous schedule to get Halo 3 out of the door, so I think Bungie has a pedigree for making those types of games, but not to the extent Ensemble did. It made a lot more sense. We were focused on getting bullets on pixels, giving people a tight, fun, action packed world, It was the right fit.

It is clear that Bungie were very pleased to have Ensemble work on Halo Wars and felt safe the studio would do a good job with the Halo IP. Halo Wars turned out to be a great game and as Marcus says they would have indeed been hard pressed to do a better job for an RTS based console.

The full interview can be found below which also contains some interesting questions and answers about Bungie’s past, present and future plans.


Bungie CEO: “Ensemble didn’t build a game with a community that carried it”


Some interesting remarks from Harold Ryan the CEO of Bungie who in an interview with Brier Dudley at the Seattle times said:

Q: It’s interesting how you’re mentioning Bungie like that. Are you now trying to raise the profile of the studio? Is this a step toward additional games beyond Halo and saying hey, we’re not just ‘Halo, we’re Bungie’?

A: Yeah, definitely. When you go back to the divestiture from Microsoft, that was when we started paying more attention to the Bungie brand. It means something – there’s now an existing game, Halo Wars, that wasn’t built by Bungie. There’s a big difference in the success – in sales, in the review numbers of the title. The Ensemble guys (who made Halo Wars) are great guys, they did a great job with what they did, but I don’t think they made a Bungie game. They didn’t build a game with a community that carried it.

It seems somewhat a harsh comment seeing as the Halo Wars community website has been online long before the titles launch and was lead by a fantastic community team at Ensemble Studios. One might like to point out that the community was damaged due to the Microsoft decision to close the studio. Obviously, any community will suffer when a company is closed. Today the community is lead by a sole community manager, Duncan “Aloysius” Stanley and Robot Entertainment has recently held a developers play night with the fans and a feedback thread asking for fan feedback on Title Update 3 fixes.

 Seattle Times article:


Halo Wars artists blog – how to make Halo look like Halo… without Bungie!


Paul Slusser talks today about how the artists at Ensemble tackled the prospect of creating art for an existing IP. The blog notes that it was not a simple copy and paste from Bungies art files and that Ensemble had to put alot of work in from scratch designing art models for units and buildings. A good read, you can find an extract and link to the blog below:

First thing we always do is start gathering as much reference material as we can find; downloading screenshots from the internet, getting marketing material from Microsoft, and the most obvious one, asking Bungie for all their art files. That last one seems like a no brainer right? After all we are both part of Microsoft and they own everything, right? Nope. As it turns out it’s really hard to get in contact with someone at another studio to provide assistance, when that company was behind schedule on their latest installment of Halo AND we had no idea about the negotiations they were having with Microsoft about becoming an independent studio again. It didn’t take long to realize that our concept department would be on their own in figuring out this art style.

The UNSC and Forerunner had to maintain the same geometry angles throughout their structures and vehicles while the Covenant had to maintain the same curvy organic look in theirs. The UNSC vehicles and Spartan armor all had a similar green metallic look that we tried to emulate with our materials. Using a similar Army green with a broad, gold, specular highlight worked really well for our camera distance and sun angle.