During the development of the original Halo, two Bungie developers had to convince Microsoft and Bungie’s founders to keep one of the series’ most popular selling points: multiplayer.
After Microsoft’s acquisition of Bungie and the completion of Oni, the studio’s lesser-known third person action game for the Playstation 2, both the San Jose and Chicago teams were combined to complete Halo for the launch of the Xbox.
Hardy LeBel, former Oni lead and Halo multiplayer designer, told Gamasutra that in order to finish before the deadline, features had to be cut, including multiplayer.
LeBel said, “When we got bought by Microsoft, Alex Seropian and Jason Jones, who were the two principals of Bungie, came to me and [former Bungie engineer and animator] Michael Evans, and said, ‘Multiplayer is cut from Halo because we’re trying to make it really work on the console and we just don’t have the resources.'”
Understanding how important multiplayer could be, LeBel and Evans fought for its inclusion. “We threw a fit and were like, ‘No way! You can’t cut it! It’s just too cool!’ They said, ‘We were hoping you’d say that — because you two guys have to resurrect it.'”
Microsoft and Bungie should be thankful for the efforts of LeBel, Evans and their team members. Halo and its sequels become the most popular console LAN and Xbox LIVE games, helping sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of software and merchandise.