Xbox Live Would Not Have Survived Without Halo 2 According To Bungie

By Juan G. Rodriguez , Updated Nov 15, 2012 12:58 PM EST

On Nov. 15, 2002, Microsoft launched Xbox Live on the original Xbox with a handful of playable games including NFL 2K3, MechAssault, Ghost Recon, and Unreal Championship. But according to Bungie studio manager Harold Ryan. The service would not have survived if it wasn't for Halo 2.

In a recent interview with Games Industry International, Ryan said that Bungie provided creative guidance and pushed the limits of the service.

"I think Xbox Live wouldn't have made it. I don't think the Xbox would be where it is today without Bungie and without Halo," Ryan said. "As a group, we provided both technical and creative guidance and thought leadership that really pushed the limits."

He also added that Bunige was essential in the design of the service and that Bungie wasn't just a development team working on the online service.

"We weren't just a game developer using the service," Ryan said. "We were integrated in the design of the service and how it worked. Systems for groups and matchmaking and skill ranking were all things that were pushed the furthest and the hardest by us."

In the same article, Max Hoberman, the multiplayer lead on Halo 2 and Halo 3 said that Bungie significantly influenced the development of Xbox Live, but its influence was beneficial for all developers.

"Being internal to Microsoft, the Live team couldn't play favorites," Hoberman said. "They couldn't just design a feature and put it out because Halo wanted it. There's a bit of a platform holder responsibility and separation of church and state that's necessary there. It's interesting because when I first got engaged with the Live team, they were pretty clear about that. Yet at the same time, they were also clear that we were a big customer and our needs were going to have a lot of influence."

He went on to say, "They'd been picking our brains as to how it should work and we gave them advice that was counter to how they were thinking originally, things that seem so obvious today."

Bungie currently has a new game in development called Destiny that will be published by Activision. According to a recent report by video game site Kotaku, the game is Halo-like. Bungie has not announced a release date for the game or on what platforms the game will appear.

Halo 4 is now available worldwide as of Nov. 6 for the Xbox 360. It is the first title in the main series not to be developed by Bungie. The game was instead developed by 343 Industries. If you want to know more about how 343 Industries has attempted to make Halo 4 feel familiar and brand new at the same time, read more here. You can check out our review of the game and find out why we gave it a perfect score here. 

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