In a recent interview with Variety’s Cut-Scene blog, Bungie CEO Harold Ryan revealed that Bungie had several different non-Halo games in pre-production while under Microsoft Games Studios. These games were then ”set aside,” as the monolith publisher demanded more Halo resources from Bungie.
We were always in pre-production and concepting future titles while developing current ones. With a small break, the studio was always moving onto one or two new games when shipping another. We had several internal game pitches that went to playable game prototypes that were non-“Halo” games and non-first person shooters. They either weren’t compelling enough or the monster that was “Halo” needed all the resources, so they were set aside.
Ryan then goes on to say that Microsoft only saw Bungie’s continual Halo success translate into dollars, while Bungie saw Halo as “the baby of the studio.” In fact, as Ryan points out, “it certainly wasn’t our goal to make two more versions [of Halo.]” In another question he explains that the pressure to make more sequels was one of the key reasons why Bungie decided to seek its independence.
[One] reason was the pressure to stick with Halo. We can still make “Halo” games and we still are working on “Halo” games. But there is more latitude for us to put our focus on other IP, other universes, other things. We wanted to get that push back where we could feel we’re going to really lay it on the line and push to come up with the next best thing in entertainment. It feels better to do that as an indie.
With all the news swirling around of late since Microsoft pulled Bungie’s Halo reveal at E3, you have to wonder if those old wounds were substantially reopened. Ryan beat around the bush a little in the interview, but the way he presents the contrast what Microsoft and Bungie saw in Halo reeks of ill feelings. Hopefully whenever the trailer is finally revealed, everyone will shake hands and play nice again.