|I. GENERAL QUESTIONS
What exactly is happening?
Bungie is being acquired by Microsoft. Most of the existing staff will relocate to Redmond, Washington, and work under the name Bungie Studios, which will be an independent studio within Microsoft's Games division.
Why is this happening?
For two reasons:
A. Microsoft is offering us the opportunity to lead the way on a next-generation console system. We will not only be one of the premier developers for the platform, but we'll be working directly with the Xbox team, helping to optimize the hardware and software for each other. We'll influence the design of the system; we'll help to ensure that the Xbox is the best platform to code for, and the most impressive console on the block. Such an opportunity does not come often. Bungie has always tried to keep abreast of the industry, if not ahead of it, and next-gen consoles seem like the place to be if you develop games. This deal allows us to get into that market in a big way.
B. The business of publishing entertainment software independently has changed enormously since Bungie started. Bungie was not in immediate danger of going under, but we realized that within a few years we'd need a strong partner if we wanted to keep making games the way we always have. We opted to make what we saw as an inevitable move while we were still in a position of strength, rather than wait for circumstances to force our hand. The ultimate goal is to ensure Bungie continues to exist and continues to produce the high-caliber games for which it is known.
Why do you have to give them ownership of the company? Couldn't you remain independent and still release an Xbox version of the game?
Yes, but we'd still be taking a big risk as a self-publisher, and passing up the opportunity to help sculpt the Xbox. Microsoft wants Bungie for two reasons, only one of which is obvious. The obvious reason is that Microsoft wants to ensure Bungie makes games for the Xbox. The less obvious reason is that Microsoft also wants Bungie's culture and chemistry to influence the way they make and publish games; they will acquire us, but leave us alone and essentially independent in order that we can continue to do what we do best.
Why do you believe Microsoft will leave you alone when there are so many documented examples of Microsoft doing shady things?
We can't justify or rationalize Microsoft's every decision or act, and we're not about to try. We can only speak about our own experience with them.
Part of what Microsoft is buying is Bungie's culture. Bungie doesn't work if it doesn't maintain that culture. If Microsoft starts handing down decisions from on high that are not in the best interest of the game or the people who play it, the people who are actually making the game aren't going to take it very well. Many people will leave if Microsoft doesn't respect our values. Microsoft knows that alienating the developers would be a bad idea. It's in everyone's best interest for them to keep their word. So far, Alex and Jason have had no problems, and they get on so well with the Microsoft folks that they do not expect any. As with all our business decisions, we are not completely unwary, but we are guardedly optimistic.
Why must Bungie relocate to Washington?
In order for this to work we'll need to be closer to the Xbox teams. We've learned by experience how difficult it is to manage a project remotely. Communication and, more importantly, a sense of community, are difficult to promulgate when a team is 2,000 miles away. Moving the teams to Washington is the only way this would work out.
Will Microsoft control the content or direction of Bungie games?
No. The plan is that they'll leave us more or less alone to do what we do, and trust that the results will be worth it. They will be involved on some level at every step of the process, including conceptualization, but they will not shape the development of the games or censor content. Their interactions with us will mostly be on a business level.
Can we get some details about the financial specifics of the deal?
No. Microsoft paid a large sum of money for us; in return they got ownership of the company. That's really all the detail thats relevant.
II. EXISTING TITLES
What happens to the Myth games?
Take Two will get the rights to the Myth games. This includes the intellectual property rights, which means they can develop and publish a Myth III if they so desire. It also means they will publish, distribute and support the existing Myth titles.
What will happen to bungie.net?
This is a tricky one because "bungie.net" means three things: the web portal (www.bungie.net), the existing server that handles the Myth games, and the new server intended to handle future Bungie titles.
The web portal will continue to exist under the watchful eye of Max.
The existing bungie.net servers will continue to exist for the indefinite future. We are bringing the current head of the bungie.net admins along to ensure that bungie.net is maintained to our standards, and he will act as a full member of an online community team to ensure that future iterations of bungie.net are designed with the players in mind.
The new bungie.net game server for future Bungie titles will eventually go live, most likely coinciding with the release of Halo.
One of the most exciting aspects of this deal is the positive impact it will have on bungie.net. Were creating a team dedicated to supporting and enhancing the community around our games, both online and in the real world. This is an opportunity we have not had before and we are thrilled by the prospect. We feel that the Bungie community is only going to become larger and more important, and we now have the ability to support them properly. Bungie.net (in all its incarnations) is only going to get better.
What do I do if I have a technical support issue with the Myth games?
Presently you should continue to send inquiries to Bungies Customer Support team. When this deal is finalized, support duties for the Myth games will be handed off to Take Two. This FAQ will be updated with specific contact info for them as soon as we have it.
What do I do if I have a bungie.net related problem or question, or if I've forgotten my login information for the umpteenth time?
You'll need to contact Bungie's online team, since they are ultimately responsible for maintaining Bungie.net. When the team relocates to Microsoft this FAQ, and the main support page, will be updated with new contact info. Until then, use the traditional route of emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
What about Marathon and Bungies older games?
Bungie retains the rights to the Marathon franchise, and in fact all of their other games with the exceptions of Myth and Oni.
Who do I contact if I have a problem with one of these older games?
Inquiries should be directed to Bungies Customer Support team for the time being. Microsoft's tech support will eventually be equipped with information from Bungie's existing support team and should be able to answer most questions. Contact info will be listed here as it becomes available.
Why exactly are Take Two getting the rights to the Myth games and Oni? Don't you care about those games and their fans?
We do, but Take Two wasn't about to hand over their 19.9% of Bungie to someone else without getting something good out of the deal. We like the folks at Take Two - we've had a great relationship with them, start to finish - and we think they'll do a good job of maintaining and supporting those games.
III. FUTURE TITLES
What happens to Oni?
Oni will be finished by the Bungie West team in their San Jose office and tested by Bungie's QA manager and his team. The game will then be published, distributed and supported by Gathering of Developers for Mac and Windows, and by Rockstar Games for the PlayStation2. It will ship for PC, Mac and the PlayStation2. After the game ships, the Oni team will relocate to Seattle to join the rest of the Bungie staff and start work on their next project.
What happens to Halo?
Halo development will continue.
What happens to the existing PC/Mac versions of Halo?
It's important to understand two things: this decision is left to Bungie's development teams, and in Halo's case it has not been made yet. The development team has a ton of options to consider, and thats what theyre doing right now. They may choose to concentrate on one platform, to bring the game to every platform under the sun, or something in between. As of this writing we simply dont know what the answer will be. We cannot promise that a Windows or Mac version of Halo will ship, but we can't rule it out either. Nor is there any reason to at this point.
What about the PlayStation2 version of Halo?
We had considered doing one at some point, but this new development changes that.
Does Bungie actually get to choose what platforms they will develop for?
Yes. That decision will be made by the development team, just as it is now, and is based not only on financial concerns but also on which platform(s) the team feels are best for the game in question. For example, we might very well develop a game that was not a good fit for a console due to the complexity of its control scheme; in that case we would have the freedom to develop and publish PC and Mac versions.
Does this freedom to choose the platforms you will develop for mean we can expect Bungie titles on (for example) PlayStation2, Dreamcast, or Dolphin?
No more than you can expect to see Final Fantasy X on the Dreamcast or Sonic the Hedgehog on the PS2.
What about Linux?
If we do a Linux version, we would probably contract someone outside the company to port and distribute the game, much as we did with Myth II.
IV. EVERYTHING ELSE
Is Bungie still going to be allowed to make violent, bloody games?
The content of our games, as noted earlier, is still up to us. We will still make the sort of games we enjoy playing. We have never espoused violence for its own sake, and you'll never see us descend to the level of other game makers who use it solely for shock value. If you look at the games we have made in the past you'll have a good idea of the sort of games we're likely to make in the future.
What happens to the Bungie Store?
The Bungie Store will most likely become part of Microsofts existing online store.
What happens to Bungie's publishing department, the folks who did the boxes and PR and trade shows and all that?
Microsoft has an established publishing department. Many of Bungies publishing staff are interviewing with Microsoft for positions within this group. Others are unable to make the move out to Redmond, and will be moving on to some other company. They are our friends, and we wish them well.
What if I'm on Bungie's mailing list and don't want Microsoft to have access to my personal information?
What happens to Bungie's hint line?
All the content on the hint line is presently specific to the Myth games, so we may hand that off to Take Two if they want it. Otherwise it (and future Bungie hint line scripts) will probably be integrated into Microsoft's existing hint line (assuming, of course, that one actually exists).
Why did Microsoft force the Mill to shut down?
They didn't. Randall Shaw, who runs the Mill, shut it down of his own volition, and made up the bit about Microsoft for reasons only he can explain.
Will you charge people for product updates?
Product updates will remain freely downloadable over the internet. People who do not have internet access may need to pay a small fee to cover the cost of mailing an update disk.
Will you charge people for technical support?
Microsofts existing support policy provides unlimited, no-fee technical support for all their games, including Bungie games.
Will you charge people for playing Bungie games online?
Obviously free internet play is where its at, and weve demonstrated a commitment to that with the bungie.net game servers. We have no plans to charge people to play our games online.
Now that you're moving from the mean streets of Chicago to the much wussier Seattle area, what are the chances that Bungie will lose its soul and attitude and become a bunch of Dockers-clad latte sippers who only talk about stock prices and mortgage rates?
We have retained the Bungie Webmaster to ensure that the requisite levels of surrealism, bile, hostility and sheer gall are maintained to our satisfaction. Also, dyed-in-the-wool Chicagoan Matt Soell will be along to constantly complain about the lack of decent pizza, the ubiquitous hills, the ridiculous coffee lingo and the jarring lack of gunfire in Seattle's ambient soundscape. The two of them should keep the rest of us in line should we start to lose our attitude.
Would you like to listen to a rambling tirade that condemns this decision and includes words like "traitors," "sellouts," "whores" and a great deal of profanity?
No. Please keep it to yourself. If your mind is made up to hate this decision and by extension the people who made it, there is little we can do to make you feel better.
Don't you feel that this is a betrayal of everything you stand for?
Not at all. There's a tendency among some people to assume Bungie shares certain beliefs, stances or ideologies with them because Bungie has never said anything to the contrary. Back in the days when Bungie was a Mac-only company, some people chose to believe that Bungie deliberately ignored the PC market because we shared their bias against Windows. When Bungie announced a port of Marathon 2 for Windows 95, these people complained that Bungie had betrayed its audience and its principles. But a bias or preference for or against any one particular platform has never been one of our principles.
Bungie stands for one thing and that is to make great games. This move is not an act of betrayal; if anything, it makes us confident that we won't have to compromise our principles in the future.
So much for all that "world domination" stuff, eh?
The Trojans thought the same thing.
Alternately, consider it this way: this move will bring us much closer to domination of the world of gaming than we were ever likely to get as an independent publisher. Halo and our future games are likely to reach an astronomically larger audience than they would have if we published them ourselves.
What if I have a question that isn't answered in this FAQ?
You can send it to Matt Soell at email@example.com. He will answer it or pass it on to someone who can.
This document was originally archived by the Internet Archive Wayback Machine on July 11, 2000. It's been saved locally so that URLs could be updated, and to preserve a local copy on b.org servers. This document was last updated on May 30, 2003.