It’s tough for us to wrap our heads around the game development process. Timelines vary from studio to studio depending on the ambitions of the game, the size and skill of the team, and expectations from the publisher. That’s why it’s so disheartening to see a group that has produced some really great games in the past taking what has been a gigantic PR hit from the mess that is Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Not everyone is placing the onus on them, but unfortunately the natural reaction most people have is to lash out at the team responsible for developing the game. Hold on a minute.

343 Industries was founded in July of 2009 by Microsoft exclusively for the purpose of churning out Halo software after Bungie parted ways with the IP. Their most notable accomplishment was Halo 4, the fourth installment in the long running series that was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews and a smooth online experience.

I question the decision to form a studio whose sole purpose is to work on Halo games. Isn’t it possible that Halo-related creative fatigue might set in if the team has nothing else to focus on? I suppose it wouldn’t make much sense for a company named after 343 Guilty Spark to branch out to another IP. One quick thing… isn’t it kind of strange to name yourselves after such a capricious and dangerous character? It is. Microsoft, 343 Guilty Spark was always kind of a volatile asshole.

The hundredth day since the release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection came and went a few days ago, and guess what? The game is still broken. Matchmaking, parties, and lobbies are still riddled with bugs, and that’s to say nothing of the rest of the game. I’ve got it, and my experience has been limited to trying to roll through some of the campaigns with a few buddies via the party system. It didn’t go well for us. We dealt with difficulty connecting, and when we were fortunate enough to all get into a campaign level together, there were enough dropped frames and lag to make us quit fairly early.

Every day that passes with the game in such a sorry state means more egg on the face of 343 Industries, and that’s unfortunate. Listen, I don’t know how the timeline for this thing was decided internally. I could easily be wrong about this, but we have to consider the factors that were likely involved.

This was a very complicated undertaking that without a doubt required much more dev time to reach a respectable and playable state. Clearly, it was rushed out the door to make it in time for the 2014 holiday season. What’s 343 Industries to say if Microsoft comes down on them and tells them that delaying the release is not an option? Microsoft has shareholders, and it’s become an all too common tactic in the gaming industry to take everyone’s money now and fix it later. These shareholders expect profit, and Microsoft was game to deliver it to them even at the cost of making 343 look like a disgrace in the process.

I’m no game developer.* I’m a web developer. But I know enough about the development process in gaming to tell you that it’s not as easy as just hiring more people or telling everyone to work faster. Here’s a fundamental truth in development of any kind: the faster you’re asked to deliver, the more likely you are to make mistakes. The Master Chief Collection is the result of an overbearing publisher forcing it’s development team into absolutely impossible working conditions.

Consider this scene from The Dark Knight. I’m like Batman, and you guys are like Harvey Dent. However, in this situation, I don’t want you to do what he did. I don’t want to be shot and I don’t have a damn Bat-suit so I’ll likely die as a result. Don’t shoot anyone from Microsoft either, just direct your hate at them for the debacle this has become.

We’ve reached a crescendo of sorts at this point with the toxic practice of whipping game devs into unreasonable launch expectations. It was only a matter of time before one of these publishers got burned big-time for operating this way.

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A lot of time has passed since the last “Rally Toad” feature that kind of marked the beginning of us jumping back into our toad-related activities. Yogzula and I thank you guys for your continued support of Multitoad, and we’ve got a lot planned for the coming months. Let’s run back over a few things.

The Roundup

Our first ever “Fight Night” was a success. We’re working hard to plan the next one and make it a bigger and better production. We’re thinking mid March, but we’ll have a date nailed down to start promoting as soon as Yogzula returns from his cruise.

Fight Night 1 Results:

  • Yogzula def. Jagyooar
  • Whitemoon def. Troddeh

Evolve Hunter and Monster Spotlights by user Yazkin

We learned about what it’s like to be a female on Xbox Live. by user Yoshibb

If you’re not using an ASM1, you’re gonna have a bad time. by user PhantomShadowz

I ranked zombie games in this definitive list.

Yogzula went after realistic graphics in game design.

Tweets I Agree With

What the hell is going on here? Who is in charge of this Twitter account? Just look at this:

What have they done to you, Burger King? I know we haven’t really talked since high school, but this is like watching one of your old friends spiral down into the dark depths of self-destruction. Get it together, man. You never should have discontinued chicken fries.

Horror Movie of the Month: Honeymoon

honeymoon_

This film stars one of my favorite female characters from Game of Thrones: Rose Leslie (Ygritte). I came in with low expectations and ended up pretty well rattled by her performance. An attractive, young, and newly-wed couple take a trip into the woods for – you guessed it – their honeymoon. Things start out innocently enough, and the first act plays 100% like a romantic comedy. It’s a decision that is rewarded because of the jarring shift everything takes when it all goes to hell. It’s disturbing to watch these people who you quickly begin to like and care about get put through the wringer.

I won’t spoil anything but she goes nuts. Everything is moving on this slow burning path to destruction and it really feels palpable, but you keep hoping they can turn it around (unless you’re a sadist). When the plot hits its stride, it really jostles your head around.

Multiplayer Game I’m Currently Playing: Minecraft

This should be pretty obvious to the regulars on this site. We’ve been playing and streaming Minecraft for the last week or two. I’ve been pretty surprised by how seriously people take it, but I can’t help but feel legitimately angry myself when my belongings are stolen or my home base is destroyed. The Multitoad world has been quiet since Yogzula took his leave, but I’m sure we’ll be plunged back into chaos when him and his “Mongols” ride again.

Stick with us, guys. Yogzula should be back on Wednesday of next week, we’ll have a date for Fight Night 2 announced, and then it’ll be full steam ahead again.

*I did make a game in college. It was my senior project, and it was a FPS that involved defending yourself from a horde of angry orcs. I’m pretty sure Orcs Must Die came out while I was building it. I was pissed. Maybe if you ask nicely I’ll let you play it sometime. Here’s a screen shot:

About The Author

John

John is a full-time web developer who writes and streams for multitoad.com. He started Multitoad with Luke "Yogzula" VanTrieste. John loves multiplayer gaming, his wife (known around the site as Queenie), his dog (Marble), horror movies, and sitting down with a nice craft beer. If you want to contact the author of this post, feel free to do so on the community forums.

3 Responses

  1. Yoshibb

    I can imagine that nothing that these guys put out was going to fully satisfy fans. Because it was simply not Bungie who did it. I don’t know, I think that would be weird too if Bioware wanted to end Mass Effect and then some other company was like no and hired someone else to make them. You kind of have a underlying hatred for the product already.

    The bugs, of course, don’t help. That probably knocked over anyone sitting on the fence about 343. These aren’t really shoes anyone should be forced to fill though.

    But Microsoft is run by assholes, this isn’t the first time they’ve ruined something good *cough*rareware*cough*

    And as for your game, I seem to remember a whole lot of fire and burning of trees. But maybe that was just what I decided to do in it. I might be a pyromaniac…

    Reply
    • John
      John "Jagyooar" Lusky

      I can’t confirm, but I’ve read somewhere that a lot of 343 people came from Bungie. So it’s a bit of a weird situation.

      Reply

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