Halo 2… 11 Years Later – How Bungie Conquered Adversity at Every Turn and Won

Change is a constant in the entertainment industry at every level. Even this gaming site. Being a writer, I constantly change what appears on the page, long before it’s ever seen by anyone. But I can’t imagine working on a project every day for three years, only to discover that it can’t possibly be completed, and requires you to scrap everything to continue.

That’s what happened to Bungie in 2003 after E3. Their demo for Halo 2 was met with unmatched excitement and praise. It was after this that Bungie realized the sheer impossibility of their goal. Their brand new graphics engine made to simulate levels ten times larger than their Halo: CE counterparts, simply could not run efficiently on Microsoft’s aging console. Microsoft granted Bungie with a delay, but with the new Xbox 360 scheduled for 2005, November 04 really was the latest date that it could be released at.

It’s been said that during this year long death march of crunch time, Bungie’s employees illustrated a bleak drawing on their whiteboards. It was a burning plane, destined to plummet into the ground, with the crew desperate to unload crates out of the back. Each of these crates represented something from the game being cut. Towards the end of development, Bungie ran out of space on this whiteboard.

The fact that Halo 2 is fondly remembered as one of the best games on Microsoft’s debut console demonstrates the commitment of Bungie’s staff.

Eleven years later, it’s time to look back on Halo 2, and analyse what resulted in Bungie’s hard, hard work.