|Interview: Bungie's Alexander Seropian|
December 10, 2001 | Tuncer Deniz
After a long four years in development, Halo has finally shipped...for the X-Box. The first-person shooter has garned some amazing praise and has quickly become the X-Box's best seller. Now the team at Bungie Studios is concentrating on the PC and Mac versions of Halo. We recently caught up with Bungie CEO, Alexander Seropian, to talk about Halo, Microsoft, Apple, and yes, the Mac version.
IMG: So now that Halo has been out for the X-Box, how has the reception been to the finished product?
Seropian: Everyone here at Bungie and Microsoft is really proud of Halo. We like the game, and it seems as though the reviewers dig it too. But, most gratifying, has been the response from our fans, like the folks that were big into Marathon. They are really into the game which makes us very happy. A perfect '10' in EGM doesn't hurt either :)
IMG: Tell us a bit about the final few weeks before going GM. Was it pretty
hectic? Was there any fear you might miss the X-box launch?
Seropian: It's always crazy when you're finishing up a game. You know what they say, the last 10% is 90% of the work - but, we never thought for a second that we'd miss launch. This was the most complicated and largest project we've ever done. We have some amazing people working here - it's such an honor to get to work with them. At the end there was certainly lots of hours, a big push and emotions all over - not to mention the impending doom of the 'tijuana momma game'. But, everyone really believed in Halo and really _liked_ the game - I think that motivated people beyond anything. It really helped to get the ONI team involved early too. Having the full support of Microsoft (like a whole, experienced test team) was also key.
IMG: During the transition from computer to console game, what was the most difficult part of making the game?
Seropian: When we got here and began to focus on Xbox, we basically had to start over. It was tough compressing all the 'making game' part of the project into the last 6 months - which is essentially what happened. We really had to take the approach of how do we make this fun on a console, sitting 10 feet away with a controller. We also got to do things we've never had the chance to do before, like full-on cinematics and surround sound. All that was hard.
IMG: When Microsoft bought you guys out, you lost a little bit of the freedom you used to have as an independent. Any regrets?
Seropian: No regrets at all. Honestly, I think of it as a headache trade. Gone are the headaches of infrastructure, funding, distribution. But, all cast into the sea of big company politics. We've been lucky in the sense that doing good things seems to gain you all the freedom you'd want. I suppose if Microsoft were a bunch of chumps it'd be different, but as it turns out, they're not.