And Further More, I’m Working on Halo 4August 29, 2011 10:58 pm Game Development, Gaming
A while back Halo 4 was announced. As you might have suspected, I’ve been pretty busy working on the game. It turns out the campaign for a Halo game requires a pretty intense amount of effort. Who would have thought. I guess people are pretty into Halo or something.
I was actually the first designer hired at 343 Industries, but at the time the studio didn’t have a name. It was called something generic like “Halo Internal.” Woooo. In any event, I was the first designer to take the plunge (there were other designers that had come and gone, but they were pulled from other parts of Microsoft).
I didn’t start as a lead either. I was just coming off a crazy amount of Treyarch crunch (which if you ask around, is some of the most legendary crunch known to mankind) and was looking to get down on some level building, scripting and prototyping. You know, hitting reset on the ol’ work life balance button. However, after working at 343 for a bit, they asked me to be a lead, and being a lead on a Halo title is not something you tend to turn down. Don’t worry, I like to stay pretty hands-on with the tools in addition to having an outlook calendar full of meetings.
Halo 4 has been pretty crazy as far as projects go. Sure, there’s all the regular game making stuff that goes on, but there’s been such a big veil of secrecy over this game which has been insane. For example, we hired lots of people (like myself!) who had no idea exactly what they were signing up for.
Yes we are 343 Industries. Yes we own the Halo IP. Yes we are part of Microsoft. A game? What is that? No, no. We are working on a project you see. An FPS? We can’t say. Sorry. Please work for us. By the way, if you were to work on an FPS…
Yep, for the longest time, we couldn’t even publicly say we were working on a game. I’m sure most of you figured that out, but for someone who is a professional game designer, it’s hard not be able say “I’m working on a game” out loud or publicly. My go-to joke was always “Oh, well I work on books and anime.” Oh books-and-anime joke, how I’ll miss you. This is especially funny if you know me well.
And then we announce “Oh, and by the way we’re making a trilogy!” Jeez, really? I go from working on projects to an entire trilogy publicly? Someone needs to take a burlesque class and learn the art of tease.
Speaking of tease, we announced at E3 with a cool little CG teaser trailer. Man, I remember seeing some of the early versions of that trailer. Crazy how well it turned out and how fast it was polished.
When we announced, it was like a weight had been lifted. Wow! We could say we were working on a game now! And Halo 4 no less! But then it became real for everyone. Really real. It’s funny… you see the team transform basically overnight into this serious, game making beast when announcements like this are made. Time to kick ass and assign IPv4 addresses, and we’re all out of IPv4 addresses.
And then there was PAX2011. I could do a whole series of posting about PAX, but I’m so pressed for time so I’ll just say we (343 Industries) put on this little thing called HaloFest celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Halo. I got my Halo on, including volunteering at the Fest, met tons of fabulous fans and famous folks (Pete Stacker is scarily awesome), partied with the crew and really took in the gravity of working on Halo.
We also had a PAX panel on Halo 4 where a bunch of my bosses got on stage and basically answered what they could and deflected the rest. We couldn’t give too much away, but we did show a little concept art teaser which is actually pretty revealing.
Trust me when I say that working on Halo 4 is a big challenge, and not a challenge I take lightly. I’ve worked on big titles in the past (I hear Call of Duty is pretty popular these days), but this is different for some reason. Halo fans are a whole different breed, and they demand only the best. People take Master Chief and the Halo universe pretty seriously.
Anyway, back to work on trying to live up to everyone’s expectations. I’m sure I’ll have more to say when the time comes, but you can trust that Halo is in good hands.