11-9-04 - 1


Halo 2 is out; I haven't seen it yet, but I see Halo 2 as sort a quiet insult to us game developers. Any game company that's half competent should be able to make Halo 2. This is not intended as an insult to Bungie, I have much respect for them, they're one of the best studios around, but basically Halo 2 is not very innovative in terms of gameplay or technology. Sure, some of their tech is fancy, but not in a way that's really important to the quality of the game. Yes, the gameplay is well polished, but it's just a shooter, they don't do anything that hasn't been done many times before. And yet, it's one of the best games of the year, and almost no other game company could make a game as good. This isn't so much because Halo 2 is so good - Halo 2 is the level of quality any game could be - it's because all other games are so *bad*. Bungie gets their priorities right - improve the things that will make the experience better (the networking, the match-making, the basic controls), and not other things. They make time for actual focus ("usability") testing, which almost no other game dev does. On the other hand, I'm not sure how they do it, because all the stories I've heard about development at Bungie sound just as F'ed up as anywhere else - stories of ridiculous gameplay features that they try that don't make it into the shipping game, stories of going off on pointless tangents, only to scramble back to your core gameplay (cut levels) at the last minute and kick out a game.

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old rants