A fourth Marathon??

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Re: A fourth Marathon??

Post Aug 30th '16, 15:14

General Tacticus wrote:
3371-Alpha wrote:-destiny-


If you would actually do some research instead riding the "everything new sucks" bandwagon, you would know that most everything you just said there was very inaccurate:

The original story was abandoned because the creative director (Jason Jones) and other leadership thought it was awful. The words "campy" and "simple" were how they described it. The next year was spent doing catch-up, as they had to rebuild the campaign from near scratch without a complete writing team (the lead left to work on Halo 5). This was revealed by an anonymous employee who did an interview with kotaku a while back.

The Taken king was the first development cycle they had where someone didn't fuck up, and I think it turned out excellently.

O'donnell was fired after a dispute over music rights, and he started harassing his co-workers(the court documents from his dismissal state that pretty clearly)


Bungie/Activision is kind of the bad guy in all of that.

Joe Staten was in charge of writing the story. His writing always tends to be campy and cliche. Considering this, Bungie should have never let him write the story if they didn't want it to be awful. They fired him when he didn't want to change the story. And yes, he was fired. The official statement was that he "left to pursue other creative projects", but that's just corporate speak for "we're firing you but letting you save face by letting you quit". I personally think Joe got overprotective of his story and thought his status as a "Grizzled Ancient" would give him some pull, but when your company consists of 500+ employees and just got bought by Activision then the fact that you've been around since Marathon 2 doesn't mean jack shit anymore.

As for Marty O'Donnell, Bungie was definitely the one behaving badly. The court even sided with Marty when he sued Bungie/Activision for wrongful termination (Marty got all the rights back to his music, and I believe he has a seat on Bungie's board of directors now). Here's a youtube video where someone talks about that (he's pretty angry at Bungie). Basically, Marty did all this music for Destiny, and then none of it was getting used in the game. And, Bungie was refusing to release it in any way, shape, or form. So they were just burying all his hard work (hours of composition); it's understandable why he'd be upset.

And that's just two big names in Bungie. Imagine how Bungie was treating it's other employees who aren't publicly well known and who aren't fan favorites, but who Bungie considered to be "making trouble".

It definitely feels like there was a lot of internal conflict after the Activision deal, and so the New Bungie was trying to get rid of older, influential employees so they could control the direction of the project better. Except they did a shit job directing and producing the project:

The kotaku article you mention reveals a lot of ineptitude and shitty behavior on the direction and production side of things. The level designers didn't even have proper software to do their work; if you moved a single rock it would take hours to re-render the entire level just to check the change you made.
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philtron

Post Aug 30th '16, 15:30

General Tacticus wrote:Oh, I loved riven. It is still my favorite game ever made. You will find that most of it's music was composed by Robyn Miller, the brother of the design lead.


Oh, I know. I had the soundtracks to both Myst and Riven when I was a kid.

Riven is fantastic, and objectively better designed than any other Myst game (a lot of this has to do with the hiring of Richard Vander Wende for Riven; he was responsible for a lot of the art/narrative/puzzle design direction in Riven; he left after Riven to work for Disney). There was a point when the games community was all in a tizzy about gameplay conflicting/contradicting story and "how can you interweave narrative and gampeplay". This was a few years ago, I don't know if it's still a talking point. Riven basically solved that issue in the '90s because it perfectly merged narrative and gameplay: the way puzzles function and the way the player solves puzzles often reveals the story and reveals something about the characters.
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philtron

Post Aug 30th '16, 16:23

Staten isn't from the Marathon 2 era. The only pre-Myth Bungie employees left are Jason and Rob. Even most 'Grizzled Ancients' are just Halo 1 'veterans'.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 30th '16, 16:28

General Tacticus wrote:Another gameplay difference of note: of the games you listed, marathon is the only one with weapon reloading and non "medkit" based health. Those features didn't become a thing in other shooters until long after quake.

Not quite, build engine games have been doing this since 1995.
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hawkeyefile
In front of my terminal debugging mainframes...

Post Aug 30th '16, 16:38

Pfhorrest wrote:Staten isn't from the Marathon 2 era. The only pre-Myth Bungie employees left are Jason and Rob. Even most 'Grizzled Ancients' are just Halo 1 'veterans'.



A sad trumpet plays.
An ice cream cone melts on the sidewalks.
A frowny face.
I was wrong. :(
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philtron

Post Aug 30th '16, 17:05

hawkeyefile wrote:
General Tacticus wrote:Another gameplay difference of note: of the games you listed, marathon is the only one with weapon reloading and non "medkit" based health. Those features didn't become a thing in other shooters until long after quake.

Not quite, build engine games have been doing this since 1995.


Not really. Duke3d was kinda the first (and last) build engine game to have much real success, and it was still using the same health and weapon mechanics as doom. When I said "become a thing" I was referring to adoption as a standard practice.
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General Tacticus

Post Aug 30th '16, 17:28

Halo 1 is fifteen years old, they are definitely veterans.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 30th '16, 17:49

I guess it depends on whether you count by years or good games :P
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General Tacticus

Post Aug 30th '16, 17:58

I hate to break it to you but the first three Halo games are actually pretty good.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 30th '16, 18:44

To each their own, I guess. I didn't like them.
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General Tacticus

Post Aug 30th '16, 18:49

I mean, things people like about Marathon are generally not present in Halo, plus they're console shooters which I believe is a fair strike against them.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 30th '16, 20:09

Hey, nothing wrong with Halo1 for the pc.
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herecomethej2000
Ledyard, CT

Post Aug 30th '16, 21:33

I've never played the pc version of Halo, but my issues with gameplay were mostly those of preference. I just don't like the slow movement and weak weapons. Same with the audio and visual design, not my cup of tea.

Really Destiny was the first modern Bungie game that played near how I liked (being able to move at more than 12 mph is a big plus) and had a style I enjoyed. The content issues were definitely there, but the grimoire actually provided a nice story to accompany the game without beating the player about the head with it.

Honestly the quality of writing that goes into the grimoire makes me rather hopeful for any hypothetical Marathon reboot, considering how the Book of Sorrows from TTK is basically a (very good) tribute to Greg K's writing style, dreams and all.
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General Tacticus

Post Aug 30th '16, 21:34

herecomethej2000 wrote:Hey, nothing wrong with Halo1 for the pc.

Except that it's not Halo 1 for the Mac.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Aug 30th '16, 22:16

herecomethej2000 wrote:Hey, nothing wrong with Halo1 for the pc.


I liked that a fair bit, but the pacing of the movement is slow and the jumps are floaty, and the way the vehicles control really cement that the game was designed for consoles first and foremost (plus, they've never been released on PC after Halo 2). I liked the original trilogy a lot despite that; I thought the multiplayer was a lot of fun and the single player campaigns were overall fun and a good challenge, and the co-op was excellent.

But yeah, still about as far away from Marathon as it could possibly be.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 31st '16, 02:05

General Tacticus wrote:the Book of Sorrows from TTK is basically a (very good) tribute to Greg K's writing style, dreams and all.


Or "a very good cribbing" of Greg K's writing style. Some of those passages are basically copies of M:I's dream level terminals with some of the nouns changed. The book of sorrows is pretty cool, but I think that has more to do with the writer taking from other sources than it has to do with his own personal talent (I've read some of his short stories and half of his novel; I don't think he's good).
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philtron

Post Aug 31st '16, 02:44

RyokoTK wrote:I hate to break it to you but the first three Halo games are actually pretty good.


Better break it to Bungie as well. In their 20 year anniversary vidoc "O Brave New World" skip to 20:00 to watch Bungie employees talk about Halo 2. There's a lot of excuses being made and they come very close to literally apologizing for the pile of shit that was Halo 2. "The story of Halo 2 is a three act tragedy." Actual quote at 25:55, "A disastrous, flaming turd of failure would be the right way to say it." Joe Staten at about 26:20, "We failed spectacularly, in public, as far as the story was concerned."

Halo 3 was okay, but it felt like Halo 2 with bandages and crutches.

My ranking of the Halo games:
1) Halo CE
2) Halo ODST
3) Halo Reach
4) Resistance: Fall of Man
5) AvP Gold Edition
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philtron

Post Aug 31st '16, 04:08

And yet Halo 2 was overwhelmingly well-received because the game was still a lot of fun to play and brought some really outstanding gameplay, particularly multiplayer, to the table. And there were still plenty of good levels. They weren't happy with the story because they ran out of time to finish the arc, and that's what they're talking about in the video, but they're not unhappy with the actual game.

But you're right about one thing: AvP was a good as heck game.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Aug 31st '16, 14:28

Joe Staten was talking about the story (since that's what he worked on), the rest of the quotes definitely were not and it's clear than many employees were unhappy with the way a lot of things turned out. I even remember they patched the grenade physics like a year after release because of how terrible it was. As for Halo 2 being overwhelmingly well-received, that has more to do with it being the next Halo game than anything else. Bungie could have shipped cases full of literal shit and people would have still shoved it into their xboxes and said how great it was.
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philtron

Post Aug 31st '16, 23:34

Anyway, I guess I'm ragging on Halo 2 a bit much.

I did really like ODST and Reach. I thought they did some new, interesting things while staying in touch with the core aspects of Halo CE that made it fun and rewarding. In both cases it felt like Bungie had learned a lot from the previous Halo games and they were able to use this knowledge to create a very focused experience. And it was nice to see them try something more "experimental" with the last level of Reach, a narratively intentional kill-level, which is something I hadn't seen in a game before, but feels like it should have been done years earlier. However, I could have done without the melodramatic story in both ODST and Reach, despite usually being a fan of stories in games.
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philtron

Post Sep 1st '16, 04:23

I dunno, it's hard to talk about the legacy of Halo without focusing heavily on the multiplayer aspect, since although Bungie (and subsequently 343) did put significant effort in the campaign, they have also heavily emphasized multiplayer ever since the beginning.

I was 14 when Halo 1 came out, so it was early in high school, and it was all anyone was talking about. Not just the gamer kids, but even the cool kids that happened to own an Xbox were talking about it. It was massive. The original Halo was probably the first "casual" LAN party FPS, because you didn't have to hook up an entire desktop rig, monitor, etc for each person that wanted to play; one Xbox, one copy of Halo, and one TV could host four people and I think sixteen could play in a game. Cost of entry and difficulty to hook up was so much lower than it ever had been that it was actually feasible to have all your buddies hang out in your basement, drink Mountain Dew (or beer, if you had it) and play video games, and it had made FPS socially approachable in a way that playing Quake 3 over the internet never was. I feel really confident saying that that's where Bungie built up their fanbase. By the time Halo 2 came around, Xbox Live was a thing, but it wasn't hard to segue those fans of the first game into playing online, because everyone knew that Halo multiplayer was fun as shit.

And make no mistake, Halo 2's multiplayer was absolutely without question miles ahead of the first game, because nobody except for MLG dickwads think fishing for TSKs with the pistol was actually any fun. It wasn't some kind of Bungie apologia; nobody really cared that the end of the game was stupid. If normies played the game, they did it in co-op (because co-op was also insanely fun) and the levels were still fantastic for fragging aliens.

Nowadays multiplayer Halo sucks and no one cares about it. After Halo 3 they've made a lot of strange and overall poor decisions.

Ever since Starcraft 2 and Twitch.tv, casual interest in esports has actually been significant enough to design a game around while still retaining mass-market appeal. Prior to SC2 most games with ultra-high level competitive play used highly altered rulesets that casual people not only didn't play but probably didn't know about. For instance, did you know that the original Halo was a flagship title for the first MLG event in 2004? But the ruleset for MLG Halo is so far divorced from the shit that makes Halo fun (for instance, MLG rules has no vehicles) that it's never been able to draw a huge spectator following. But it does have some high-level competitive play and some monetary investment due to MLG, so 343 Industries decided they wanted to bet the entire franchise on becoming relevant in the esports scene the way CS:GO, Dota 2, Starcraft 2, and League of Legends have.

It didn't work, and now Halo (in any iteration) isn't even an event at MLG majors even though that's what they were gunning for to begin with. Halo 5 is confusing to watch. I've played Halo games before but I can't follow what's going on when I watch a pro H5 match because I'm not familiar with that specific game; meanwhile, I've never played Counter-Strike of any flavor in my life and I watch pro games all the time. Valve has spent a huge amount of money and effort and development time on observer tools and professional casting and staging to make matches easy to follow for the layperson. Halo 5 events are a confusing flurry of nonsense, and it just looks a lot less skillful since not only are the players playing on gamepads, but the observer tools are also on the gamepad so it's a clumsy mess.

I realize that this discussion came about talking about the single-player in Halo 2, but you can't divorce it from the co-op or multiplayer experience which has always been their strongest suit. The ongoing disappointment since Reach has been palpable (and MCC was such an astronomical fuck-up that I think Halo's good will is dead forever). Groaning on about how Halo 2 was a huge disappointment is just so weird to me, because I know a lot of people for whom 2 is their favorite game (my personal favorite is 3). I just don't remember having a strong feeling about the end of the campaign at all, and I did play it several times; all three of the OT Halo campaigns are extremely good imo.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Sep 1st '16, 05:29

RyokoTK wrote:Groaning on about how Halo 2 was a huge disappointment is just so weird to me, because I know a lot of people for whom 2 is their favorite game (my personal favorite is 3).


And the second sentence is what's weird to me. I guess I'm never going to be able to explain why I hated Halo 2 so much (multiplayer and single player) and why it was such a huge disappointment to me. Everything just felt wrong, I suppose. The physics didn't feel right, duel wielding made single wielding certain weapons pointless, weapon handling felt off, I didn't like the visual design and I have no idea why, and even the weapon sounds were just terrible as far as I was concerned. I could rant about how the Halo 2 shotgun just sounded weak and underpowered compared to the Halo 1 shotgun. Yeah, the metamechanics and number of options for multiplayer were a huge improvement, but I found the actual gameplay to be more frustrating than rewarding. Me and my friends played a little bit of Halo 2, but after about a month we just stopped and never felt like going back, whereas to this day we will still have Halo 1 LAN parties from time to time. I bought an Xbox specifically for Halo and Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, and they are still some of my favorite games. When Halo 2 and Prince of Persia 2: Warrior Within were released I just thought they were failures and I was so disappointed that I sold my Xbox.
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philtron

Post Sep 1st '16, 18:57

Well what I like most about halo for pc was the community edition which allowed people to make their own maps, weapons ect. The best were ports of Halo 2 and 3 maps and mechanics. :)
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herecomethej2000
Ledyard, CT

Post Sep 5th '16, 13:43

Philtron, you're not alone. Over at badcyborg.net, a fansite devoted to getting the most mileage out of single-player Halo, and especially Halo CE, there's an entire list of reasons why Halo 2 sucked.

Now, me personally, I've only played two of the Halo games: Halo CE, and Halo 4. I absolutely love Halo CE, even though I only ever play it single-player. It feels way purer than a lot of other shooter games, and while I don't much like the Flood, I still think that for zombies (because that's really what they are), they're actually strangely interesting to fight. Yes, the graphics are kind of out-dated, but I don't mind that at all, because the visual style is really well-crafted for the gameplay - everything is clear, obvious, and non-cluttered.

Halo 4 is an entirely different can of worms. It was clutter, through and through. The visuals were messy and somewhat repetitive and boring in spite of their detail, and that made it really hard for me to navigate around a level - it may just be that I'm not used to playing an FPS on a console, but I still feel like the visual clutter was the main thing causing my navigation difficulties.

Then there's the weapons. In spite of not having played any of the Halo games in between, I felt like I understood the Human and Covenant weapons perfectly. But as for the Forerunner weapons, I never felt like I understood their purpose - they just didn't make sense, probably because they weren't filling any niche that hadn't already been filled. This wouldn't have been a problem if I could've just used the Human and Covenant weapons I liked as long as I wanted, then I could've just avoided the weapons dropped by the Prometheans. Unfortunately, in Halo 4, you also run out of ammo so quickly that you never feel like you got enough use out of a weapon before you have to replace it. Since there's a ton of Forerunner weapons laying around and not enough of the good ones, you're kind of forced to use Forerunner stuff, which always feels underpowered. The fact that I was always thrilled to have an Assault Rifle felt just odd. In Halo CE, I usually never use an AR, because it's simply not that powerful. But in Halo 4, it felt to me like I was way more effective with it than I was with those Forerunner guns.

Oh, and then there's the issue of grenades. In Halo CE, grenades are like mini-nukes - there's nothing more fun than dropping a frag into a crowd of aliens and watching their bodies go sailing past your head, arms flailing wildly. In Halo 4, grenades are basically useless, because enemies always dodge them. So if grenades were slightly overpowered in the original Halo, they are severely underpowered in Halo 4, which is just a damn shame.
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PerseusSpartacus
Somewhere in the 19th Century...

Post Sep 5th '16, 15:45

A large part of that is that Halo 4 was made by 343 Industries.
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philtron

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