The creator of the popular franchises Myth and Marathon, Bungie Inc. is an American video game company based in Bellevue, Washington. The company was established in May 1991 by Alex Seropian, who later brought in programmer Jason Jones after publishing Jones' game Minotaur: The Labyrinths of Crete. Bungie has worked under some of the biggest names in the industry. In this blog, we'll take a look at how the company was established and it's journey with the big names of the industry.
In the early 1990s, Alex Seropian was pursuing a mathematics degree at the University of Chicago, as the university did not offer undergraduate degrees in computer science. Living at home shortly before graduation, his father's wishes for him to get a job convinced Seropian to start his own game company instead. That led to the foundation of Bungie.
Seropian's first video game was a Pong clone, written and released nearly 20 years after the original, called Gnop! (Pong spelled backwards). The game was created in 1990, almost a year before Bungie's official incorporation, but was released under the Bungie name and is considered by Bungie as its first game. Seropian released Gnop! free of charge, but sold the source code for the game for US$15. Gnop! was later included in several compilations of early Bungie games, including the Marathon Trilogy Box Set and the Mac Action Sack.
Seropian met programmer Jason Jones in an artificial intelligence course at the University of Chicago. Jones was a longtime programmer who was porting a game he wrote, called Minotaur, from an Apple II to the Macintosh platform. Seropian and Jones partnered to release the role-playing video game as Minotaur: The Labyrinths of Crete in 1992; while Jones finished the coding, Seropian handled design and publicity. The game relied on then-uncommon internet modems and AppleTalk connections for play and sold around 2,500 copies, and developed a devoted following.
Different phases of Bungie and its games
Marathon, Myth and Oni (1994–2001)
Bungie's next project began as a sequel to Pathways into Darkness but evolved into a futuristic first-person shooter called Marathon. It introduced the rocket jumping mechanic to gamers (then known as "grenade hopping") and was the first control system where players could use the mouse to look up and down as well as pan side-to-side. The studio became what one employee termed "your stereotypical vision of a small computer-game company—eating a lot of pizza, drinking a lot of Coke" while the development team worked 14 hours every day for nearly six months.
The first game's success led to a sequel, Marathon 2: Durandal. The series introduced several elements, including cooperative mode, which made their way to later Bungie games.
Halo and buyout (2001–2007)
In 1999, Bungie announced its next product, Halo: Combat Evolved, originally intended to be a third-person shooter game for Windows and Macintosh. Halo's public unveiling occurred at the Macworld Expo 1999 keynote address by Apple's then-interim-CEO Steve Jobs (after a closed-door screening at E3 in 1999).
Halo's success led to Bungie creating two sequels. Halo 2 was released on November 9, 2004, making more than $125 million on release day and setting a record in the entertainment industry. Halo 3 was released on September 25, 2007, and surpassed Halo 2's records, making $170 million in its first twenty-four hours of release.
Independent company (2007–2022)
On October 1, 2007, Microsoft and Bungie announced that Bungie was splitting off from its parent and becoming a privately held limited liability company named Bungie, LLC. As outlined in a deal between the two, Microsoft would retain a minority stake and continue to partner with Bungie on publishing and marketing both Halo and future projects, with the Halo intellectual property belonging to Microsoft.
Bungie continued expanding, though it did not commit to details about new projects and ship dates. In 2013, Bungie announced Destiny, which launched for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One platforms on September 9, 2014.
Bungie launched many games after the success of its initially released games which later turned into franchises because of the huge success it got in the market.
Bungie with different companies
• Microsoft (2000-2007)
On June 19, 2000, on the ninth anniversary of Bungie's founding, Microsoft announced that it had acquired Bungie and that Bungie would become a part of the Microsoft Game Division. Halo would be developed as an exclusive first-person shooter title for the Xbox. The reasons for Bungie accepting Microsoft's offer were varied.
• Activision (2010-2019)
In April 2010, Bungie announced that it was entering into a 10-year publishing agreement with publisher Activision Blizzard. Under Bungie's agreement with Activision, new intellectual property developed by Bungie will be owned by Bungie, not Activision, in a deal similar to the Electronic Arts Partners Program.
• Sony Interactive Entertainment (2022-present)
On January 31, 2022, Sony Interactive Entertainment announced its intent to acquire Bungie for $3.6 billion. While Bungie would become part of the PlayStation family of studios it would remain an independent subsidiary under Sony in development and publishing and would not be part of PlayStation Studios.
Bungie has released a number of games and has stayed constant through these years. Bungie's estimated annual revenue is currently $349.8M per year. The Bungie workplace is highly informal, with new and old staff willing to challenge each other on topics, such as fundamental game elements. Staff are able to publicly criticize their own games and each other. Their work culture and company environment is something that makes them stand out from the rest and that has helped them to stay strong in a market like this.
We hope this blog provided you an insight into the world of Bungie and how it has manged to retain its position even after all these years.
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