Behind every kick ass video game is a cast of characters who bring life out of code. Just like you, they have hopes, dreams, heroes, and ideas about what they would request for their last meal. Some of them even put their pants on one leg at a time. It just so happens that, after they do that, they are whisked away by helicopter to a secure compound where they are tasked with the creation of universes filled with danger and intrigue. To make them a little more human, however, we have gathered a discussion panel to share some intimate details about themselves, and fired some of your questions in their general direction. Meet the volunteers who lined up against the wall this week.
, Design Lead
, Senior Engineer
, Associate Technical Artist
, Senior Cinematic Designer
Alex Loret de Mola
, Anger Management Graduate
, Graphic Designer
Don’t be shy, everyone. Let’s open the Sack.
Top_Gun_2021 Is there anything better than being first?
Being relevant is also nice. But that takes more time. And where would that leave you?
The Storm You can have one meal every meal for the rest of your life. What will it be?
Spicy chicken sandwiches. It'd be a significantly shorter life, yet more delicious.
Alex Loret de Mola
Panang Curry/Pad Thai combo lunch.
Either Ezell's Chicken or my special ordered burrito from Nick's Grill in Kirkland. I really hope there is the caveat of “If no health risks were involved,” as either choice would probably shorten my life expectancy faster than smoking 25 packs of cigarettes a day.
Chipotle with a small portion of Lefse.
It might have to be yellow curry with chicken and brown rice, but a good meat lasagna would almost tie it. That's a hard question!
In that hypothetical scenario, I would likely appreciate a plate of yellow rice, shrimp scampi, grilled asparagus and breaded baked tilapia with a selection of tartar sauce, horseradish cream sauce, balsamic vinegar and mayonnaise.
Editor’s Note: Maybe I should have cut this question. After reading all of these responses, I am picturing some of my favorite coworkers sitting on Death Row.
IHaveTURRETS JR What is your favorite Disney movie? Pixar does not count.
I will say this once, friend. Around these parts, Pixar always counts. Always
RogueRainbowX How do you get a ride along?
Asking me usually works. I have a list of Private Groups on Bungie.net that I will be reaching out to with a ticket to ride in the near future. It helps when you approach us (me) with a unique experience in mind. A Ride Along is an event that you design – a chance for the fans to turn the tables on the developers. You set the stage. We are just along for the ride. You show us why you love to play games, and how you play them. It’s a great chance for us to study you, and to learn from you.
UnderTheKnif3 Who's your hero?
At the moment, it's Alan Turing, who advanced (and some may even say, created... though that may be too strong of a conjecture) the field of Computer Science and aided a world that hated and feared who he was. I wish he'd have lived to see what became of his efforts, and how different the world is now.
Alex Loret de Mola
If you mean someone I look up to, and has admirable qualities that it would behoove me to try to emulate in some way in my daily life, that would be Robt McLees. (What... not obvious???) If you mean someone who was instrumental in where I am today, that would be Jean "Moebius" Giraud. His work has inspired perhaps two generations of artists and creators who are currently working in entertainment – be they comics artists, illustrators, movie directors, costume or set designers, concept artists, and so on. For someone with such influence and talent, his confidence was tempered with humility and respect for others. When I met him at the release of the Halo Graphic Novel, I let on that his work was highly influential in shaping my career and how one illustration in particular has stayed in my mind all these years (though the book it was in had long since vanished). He expressed that he wished he knew what did that – what made one of his works a masterpiece – so that he could do it all the time. He hoped that he had a few more of those left in him. I am certain he did. It was a very sad day on March 10 this year, when the great Moebius died at age 73. But, his work lives on!
It’s going to sound corny, but my parents. They were silly enough to make me believe I could do anything I wanted with my life. Hence, I thought I could make games for a living.
Seriously, DeeJ, screen these questions better.
Editor’s Note: A carpenter is never better than the building materials he is given.
Tookurdignity I was wondering, DeeJ, what would be YOUR advice for a guy looking to either start up his own game company or follow your path into becoming an employee at BUNGiE?
If you want to start your own game company, you should really ask someone smarter than me. If you want to work for Bungie, you should really follow a path that was more direct than mine. If you insist on following my path, you must first toil for over a decade in the trenches of various corporate settings, devoting an embarrassing portion of each day to fostering your own gaming clan on The Man’s dime. Then, one day, become so burnt out on earning that Man’s dime that you load some basic life necessities into a van and head west to accept a job offer that is filled with mystery.
Insanities Are there going to be more Breaking In articles in the future? I found the recent one about Derek Carroll fascinating.
Now that is where I would point someone if they wanted to plot a more direct path to the video game industry. Breaking In
will be a weekly feature, barring unforeseen interruptions. I have already gathered a collection of fascinating reads that is deep enough to keep us all fascinated until the harvest.
Spartan_Natraps How do we get YOUR job?
First, you must hunt me down and eliminate me. Unfortunately, I am very hard to stalk.
CrazzySnipe55 On a scale of 1 to 10, how easy do you think it would be to stalk you without being discovered? Explain your answer… thoroughly.
10. All Bungie employees are hard to stalk. One of the perks of employment is a company transportation program that sees us ferried safely to and from work every day aboard Blackhawk helicopters. Insertions are by parachute. Extractions at the end of the day happen on the roof. Since our building isn’t weight-bearing to that degree, we have to grab on to a rope ladder as they pass overhead. From there, we ascend above the perpetual cloud cover that graces our city to mask the respective vectors that lead to our homes. So, unless you have infrared anti-aircraft action, you ain’t stalking this.
Galactic Pixel What makes Bungie so awesome?
It’s the helicopters.
sneakysangheili If you could buy any car in the world, what car would you buy?
I don’t need a car. Helicopters, yo. Helicopters.
HOOBLA 911 What one picture would describe the whole experience at Bungie Studios?
Alex Loret de Mola
CRAZYPOTATO After you pass the torch to 343 what will happen to Halo 3's forge creations?
Nothing. The creations that you have erected (and yes, we have seen those), will live on. Forged Maps and the File Shares that willing cartographers use to trade them are born of the game itself. While Bungie.net will not reflect any changes that you make after March 31st, the files themselves will merge unscathed. Short of you deleting it yourself, there is nothing that can be done to undo your work.
THOMAS 15O If an old shady man pulled up in a van and asked you for candy, would you do it? And if so, what type of candy?
That’s not the way it works. The shady man fills the van up with candy, and offers it up to unsuspecting victims.
dmg04 What ever happened to the ODST truck from the ODST truck tour?
We filled it up with candy.
Mythical Zero What is the source of Mat Noguchi's unfathomable Rage?
As a relative Newbie at Bungie, I had to enter Noguchi’s gravity well to investigate. The following is a transcript of the conversation that ensued…
: What gives? Two fans asked this question this week.
: Honestly, that’s not how I want to be remembered. So I’m working on it. (And yes, you should publish that.)
: Aww shucks, man! No one on Bungie.net wants you to grow up. Don’t make me ask urk.
: I would really appreciate it if you posted my response.
: I will do what you appreciate.
: Thanks man. I know it’s like throwing a cat in front of a tank to make it stop.
I am not sure who is the tank (or the cat) in that metaphor, but I had to share it for the visual image it invoked. You’re welcome.
coolmike699 What's something that causes a lot of debate or controversy at Bungie that we wouldn't expect?
Perhaps this is too obvious, but the greatest subject of debate is the creation of the game itself. People will fight with nova-hot passion to defend the features and elements that they hold dear, locked in mortal combat behind closed conference room doors. The greatest source of controversy is the music that gets played in the bathroom, especially when it contains secret riddles that can only be answered at the Pentathlon.
zarrowsmith DeeJ, should I become a doctor or work on video games?
Become a doctor. The hours are better, and there is far less blood involved. If things like pain and exhaustion don’t deter you, there is always our Careers Page
SmokeSUCKER117 I'm too young, but still, what job will be waiting for me in the future?
To acquaint one’s self with the job market of the future, just take any job that exists today and add the word “Space” or “Nano” in front of it.
Its A Mirage Are there any Easter eggs from your past games that surprised you at how quickly they were found or any that surprised you at how long they took to find?
Definitely the IWHBYD skull in H3. But you cheated. There is one Easter egg in Halo 3 that I don't think anyone has found - I stumbled across it in code a while back. It only happens on a specific day...so good luck.
Memoir of a Golden Egg:
It all began on a fateful afternoon in our old studio in Kirkland. I was out back, shooting some animation reference for a cinematic in Halo 3: ODST when Mr. Marty O'Donnell, eager to make his way to the break area, made the fatal mistake of not going around the space where I was shooting. Instead, he decided on walking straight into my camera's view to interrupt my work and do a little jig in an effort to be "funny" ...oh how correct you didn't realize you would eventually be, Marty.
What happened next was beyond delightful. After being momentarily irked that my shot was ruined, my brain shifted gears. I quickly realized that I was sitting on a gold mine. The instant after he passed through my recording camera's line of sight with his feet shuffling and his fists pumping, I knew that it was my civic duty to make something happen with this once-in-a-lifetime footage. Luckily, I knew just the man to employ for the job. The dancing .gif of Sir O'Donnell surrounded by flying hearts that Steve Scott authored made my insides tingle with delight. It took all the discipline in the world for us to hold this close to our chests. When showing this gem behind closed doors to those select few who needed to know, the audio and design teams rallied to forge a secret Easter egg that Marty himself was not aware of – a legendary prank that would essentially "ice" Marty's own Halo Easter egg tradition, the Siege of Madrigal.
As the launch date for ODST neared, Marty was so excited to keep his tradition of implanting a special spot to play his sweet secret music, he decided to hold a competition and reward the first dedicated player who found it with a special prize. I remind you, Marty had no idea what we had been up to under the hood. We managed to slip in some stuff in the 11th hour before ship that would make this special Marty Dance .gif pop up and play when a player activated his coveted Siege of Madrigal on the Legendary difficulty setting. Fate was on our side.
The person who first discovered this spot in ODST, and WON the contest Marty was so excited about, just happened to be playing on Legendary difficulty. Still ignorant to the fact, Marty gathered some of us in private to view for the first time the saved film of his grand contest being won. Let's just say the surprised "WTF?" expression on Marty's face as he learned first-hand what we had been scheming in secret will forever be burned into my memory. This whole experience solidified the fact that I work at the best game development studio on earth. Even though he may not have learned his lesson of interrupting people's film shoots; the ol' gipper sure can take a joke with the grace of kings.
I must concur with Pat's entry. See, I was the one who implemented said Marty dancing gif in one of my levels. I tried to put it in the most out of the way section of Kikowani Station. That was a blast putting it in and not letting Marty in on the secret.
There are apparently still a few that have yet to be found. What--? No. I'm not telling!
SH4D0W0733 What terrifying beast keeps the golden text of yours and others from gracing the flood with your presence more often?
… You see? The Flood is a beast all its own.
Frag Ingot Will Bungie ever publish a book of the elegant tapestry of quotations, musings, aphorisms, and autobiographical reflections that is 'The Flood'?
If we were to publish the contents of The Flood, the world would be devoid of trees.
r c takedown If you didn't get into the video games industry, where do you think you would be right now?
I know exactly where I'd be: in an overpriced and cramped apartment in Boston, working with healthcare communication protocols. I'm glad to be here.
Alex Loret de Mola
Trying to get into the video game industry.
I'd most likely be a traditional camera operator recording marine wild life for months on end in some isolated part of the world.
A dark, dark place.
Anywhere else, my smart mouth would have landed me in witness protection by now.
Probably doing something in film or video. I studied that in college and actually worked on some independent films before getting my first gaming job. All my friends in college went off to do some amazing things in the film industry, so maybe I'd be doing that as well. Who knows!
I have never worked elsewhere in the game industry but here, and I wouldn't be at Bungie today if I had never met Robt at the American Academy of Art in 1988. To answer the question though, if I wasn't at Bungie, I think I would still be in the area of visual design, likely cracking the whip on graphic designers and illustrators somewhere in Chicago... playing more games in my spare time -- and likely pondering pushing pixels for one of those companies I read about. And maybe try out for that place called Bungie who is hiring like crazy right about now.
Spending money on college out of veiled obligation - or Norway.
Trytikan Does one require a college degree if we wish to apply for Bungie?
From Nate’s comments above, it sounds as if college is not an absolute requirement. Sometimes, the world can teach us lessons that are more valuable than ones that can be gleaned from term papers and such. At the risk of feeling terribly irresponsible, I must provide college with my highest recommendation. Where else can you live in a city that is dominated by people your own age? College is like Xbox LIVE, only with beer.
Kris the Abyss This goes out mainly to designers, but I guess it could work for everybody else. Does your knowledge for how a video game is created and designed affect the way you play through a random game? And does it sometimes ruin the experience for you?
To avoid a storm of negativity that would saddle me with a public relations nightmare, I will simply go on record by saying that turning your first love into a profession does change that thing. It doesn’t destroy your love for it, but you have no choice but to see it differently. For example, in high school, I was that mysterious man in the window at the back of the movie theatre. I could clean, thread, and start a movie projector blind-folded. My love for cinema motivated me to become a master of my craft. To this day, if there is a piece of fuzz dancing in the corner of a movie screen, it is all I can see until the end-credits roll.
Zafric I love Bungie and the amazing games that you've made over the years and I see all the effort and love that's been poured into them, and I want to personally thank you for it and tell you how much I appreciate it.
Dude, I can’t give you any fancy helmets. I didn’t even work on Halo. You are kissing the wrong ass. But, thank you. The pleasure is all ours. Really.
Trytikan Who's in charge? Like, who runs Bungie? Is it kind of like everyone's their own boss? Or is there just a single person to run it all?
Bungie is a very freestyle environment. There is no boss. We all manage ourselves, and see to it personally that our own efforts are well spent on bringing our shared mission into focus. No one tells us what to do. The last thing we need is…
(feels cold steel against the back of his head)
Harold Ryan... Harold Ryan is the President of Bungie! He looms like a shadow over us all. His word is rule and law. My life for him!
(turns around – sees only a poof of smoke)
With that last question, I declare this Mail Sack empty. To keep the conversation rolling, we will just have to open another one next week. And that, constant reader, is a promise. Keep your eyes on Bungie.net. If you will excuse me, I have a rope ladder to catch.