Pentathlon LIVE

Cup stays where?

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About Bungie 1/27/2012 8:58 AM PST

The Pentathlon Awaits

Four Schools.  One Cup.

"If any of my competitors were drowning, I'd stick a hose in their mouth."
-Ray Kroc, McDonald's Founder

Were you to peek into the maximum-security recesses of our dark lair on any other day, you would find the fine men and women of Bungie toiling as a unified team in the quarries of art and code.  But on Friday, January 27th*, we will be torn from our desks, divided into four schools by tenure, clustered into strike teams led by captains drunk with power, and sent into battle.  This is our day to shed the thin veneer of friendship and ruin our workplace relationships in ways that will take all year to rebuild.

This is the Winter Pentathlon.  It begins with an opening ceremony to reinforce the oaths that we all have sworn.  On bended knee our veterans will prostrate themselves at the altar of World Domination.  The fates themselves will then collide in trials as diverse as the warriors that will participate in them for glory, honor, and immortality.

*Seems even the fates can't make it into work when it snows in Seattle.

Along with Bagel Fridays and Chuckie’s naked ass, the Winter Pentathlon is among the most cherished traditions at Bungie.  It’s a celebration of games, and a reminder of why we make them.

To lend some context on this cornerstone of our shared culture, I paid homage to the Exalted Committee that plans the affair.  Behold the historic wisdom of Grizzled Ancient, Dave Dunn.

How will this Pentathlon live up to the wild expectations that are swirling through the studio?

We’ve jumped up the number of scored events to 9 to try to encourage all the employees to play in something. With so many more people having joined Bungie, we felt we needed more opportunities for people to participate.

Which School (or “Skool” if ye be Olde) will emerge victorious?

I think all the pundits agree that the Grizzled Ancients will scrap and claw their way to another victory.

You are clearly abusing this official inquiry to exercise a position of bias.  Explain the process.  How do you  guide this event to victory year after year?

We procrastinate as long as we can until we realize that we’re screwed and then we organize a bunch of frantic meetings to draft captains into service, pick events, and plan the day.

Aside from procrastination, what values are weighed most heavily in these frantic meetings as you give shape to the pentathlon? 

We try to foster an environment that caters as best we can to all the different types of gamers we have; hardcore competitive, casual, players of videogames, players of traditional games, strategic, etc.

Cater to us Newbies and describe the origins of the trophy that our elderly seem insistent upon calling “The Cup.”

Way back in the day, we decided we needed something to play for other than bragging rights.  Joe Staten, I believe, took it upon himself to craft a trophy from a lamp, a colander, and a plastic skull.  On a visit to Chicago for the summer pentathlon, the Oni team lost the battle but won the war by stealing the trophy back to California with them.  Thus began the phrase “Cup Stays Here” which the Grizzled Ancients have adopted as their battle cry. 

But why do you call it a cup?  It doesn’t look anything like a cup.  My attempts to drink from it have been met with nothing but broken teeth.

Because it sounds better than “Trophy Stays Here.”  About four years back we decided we needed a real trophy for the Pentathlon so I came up with the idea of a trophy inspired by the Stanley Cup.  I wanted something that represented Bungie – thus the Fist – and had space to engrave the names of the winning team members, like the Stanley Cup tradition.

Behold!  The Fist!  Now that Dave has revealed all he can about the Pentathlon planning process, allow me to introduce you to the schools who will strive for eternal commemoration on the metal plates that adorn The Cup.

To those about to Pentath, we salute you.

The Four Schools

Grizzled Ancients
Huddled over their tennis ball-capped walkers, the Ancients will stalk slowly and painfully toward a victory that they feel is their birthright.  Attempts to retrofit a typewriter to serve as a peripheral to play DOTA2 were abandoned, in favor of bottle-thick bifocals to focus in on the ideal hand in poker.  Can this beloved Cup be pried from the vice-like grip of their tonic-soaked dentures?

Old Skool
In a desperate attempt to grasp the fleeting residuals of their youth like sand in an iron grip, the Old Skoolers have intentionally misspelled their own school name.  Glory days of Pentathlons past will drive them forward as they defend previous titles.  Are their best days behind them?  Or have the ages seasoned them as the ultimate power in the studio?

Middle School
Like the adolescent child striving for attention alongside adorable infants and distinguished adults, Middle Schoolers will struggle to make a name for themselves in the family.  Having shrugged off the naïveté of early childhood, the Middle School will issue forth with textbooks strapped to their backs and a prowess to prove.  Can they take their rightful seat at the grown ups’ table?  Or will they be sent to clean their room without supper?

The pacifier will be spit onto the dusty grotto so that teeth can be gnashed in a blood-thirsty snarl.  The voice-stifling fear of saying the wrong thing in a meeting will be replaced with a barbaric yawp.  Newbies don’t know well enough to be afraid – very afraid.  Will this be their tactical advantage, or their untimely undoing?

The Games

The day-long event planned for this cast of players represents a gauntlet of competitions from almost every genre and category imaginable.  From the desktop to the tabletop.  From the fog of war to the fog machine.

Let’s do this.  The competitive shooter in the line-up boasts a class system that fits in lock step with the theme of the day.

DOTA 2 Beta
Each school will cast their best spell to conjure up victory while a live cast tells the tale of their magical battle.

Forza 4
Take the wheel.  Mind your torque.  Keep that priceless prototype off the wall.  It would be a shame to scuff your custom paint job before it
can be judged by race fans.

Puzzle Hunt
The boundaries of human intellect will be stretched to the point of shattering.  Complex riddles will require the mindshare of entire teams to crack the codes therein. Root beer will be mercilessly drunk.

This challenge will draw from both sides of the brain.  Problem solving meets creative expression.  Communication will be forced through the prisms of numerous artistic mediums. Including clay.

Blongo Ball
It’s like a game of horseshoes, only slightly more (if not completely) suitable for indoor use.  We already have the divots in our drywall to serve as evidence of much practice.

Texas Hold ‘Em
There is no limit to that which will be wagered.  All cards will be wild, from a certain point of view.

Dance Central 2
So you think you can dance?  The Bungie Webcams make a triumphant return, andfor those with two left feet there will be nowhere to hide.

Rock Band 3
No celebratory gathering of family would be complete without a house band to murder the classics.  A panel of distinguished judges will make the star makers of reality television look like the nicest people you have ever met, while our alpha-geeks channel their inner rock star.

Our At-Home Audience

While we play the roles of the gladiators on a stage of our own making, you will be invited to serve as the carnage starved audience.  You are all invited to the party, attending through the virtual interfaces of your choosing.  Feast your eyes on this Friday to witness the revelry as it unfolds.

Monitor webcams that reveal the feast and the dance.

Browse photos, uploaded to illustrate the story as it is written.

Decide the winner of the Forza 4 paintjob fashion show in a forum election.

Spectate the gilded mediocrity of our DOTA tournament, along with expert color commentary provided by Tobi Wan from

Keep an eye out for episodic updates to our scoreboard.

Follow the chorus of Bungie Tweets (@bungietweets)

The Pentathlon awaits. 

Victory will choose only the most cunning of the four schools entered into this pageant of jubilation and sport.  The rest will be sent home to sulk in a vanquished state, waiting for their next opportunity to settle old scores, birth new legends, and totally redeem themselves.

About Bungie 1/18/2012 2:43 PM PST permalink

Rumor and Speculation - Updated

Don't believe everything that you read.

This evening, Kotaku Australia published a blog entry to their website claiming that Bungie recently terminated as many as thirty contract employees without notice or justification, effectively eliminating all non full time staff at the request of our publisher, Activision-Blizzard.

The claim is false.

Bungie has never been asked to lay off any employees or contract employees by our publisher, Activision-Blizzard, for any reason. The talented professionals who grace our offices day in and day out are the lifeblood of Bungie – our most cherished commodity – and the unsubstantiated rumors posted today are in direct opposition to the culture and values that we believe make Bungie an exceptional place to work, and to call home.

(Oh, and since we're on the subject, we're hiring.)


To clarify, Bungie has not experienced layoffs or group firings of any kind.

About Bungie 2/16/2011 10:36 PM PST permalink

Take Our Jobs...If You Dare!

runningturtle writes:

Join Bungie!

Take our jobs, if you dare. Eat our snacks. Climb our rockwall. Enjoy the best benefits the industry has to offer.

Our ever-expanding team of kick ass developers is bringing a brand new world to life. Our Careers Page is kept current up to the minute. World Domination is only a step away.

Your move.

CareersAbout Bungie 12/23/2010 10:14 AM PST permalink

Ultimately About Fun

Building sincere animation with a small amount of frames.

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Breaking InAbout Bungie 5/26/2010 1:54 PM PDT


Bungie and Activision Announce Exclusive, Worldwide Partnership.

The story of Bungie is wild, winding, and full of majestic wonder. We’ve treaded many pathways over these last nineteen years. But for all the twists and turns we’ve taken, we’re still doing what we set out to do from the beginning, back when the whole of “Bungie Software Products Corporation” consisted of two friends operating out of a basement in Chicago:

Making kick ass games that we want to play.

And as Bungie has grown, the industry’s best and brightest have been totally accretive to our own creative margins. It’s no secret that while the full might of our studio has focused on making Halo: Reach, another core team, led by our co-founder and Studio Creative Director, Jason Jones, has already begun laying the groundwork to bring our newest universe, stories, and characters to life.

Today, we’re poised to open a new chapter in Bungie’s history—one that begins with a partnership between Bungie and Activision and ends where we always knew it would, with World Domination. Our Next Big Thing now has a concrete path, leading from our studio to the platforms of our choosing. The business formalities are behind us. Our Constitution remains unchanged. We are still Bungie, still independent, and now we are free to bring our stories to an ever bigger audience.

Next up, the most ambitious game we’ve ever made, Halo: Reach. Built upon ten years of experience developing the Halo franchise, we’ve assembled the best team, the best technology, and the best talent to ensure that Reach is the game our fans deserve. Strap in and buckle up tight, we’re sending our baby out with a bang.

Once the smoke clears, all the pieces will finally be in place for Step 7. Don’t worry, though. We won’t let World Domination go to our heads. We’re gonna keep making kick ass games on our own terms, and since you’ve been so supportive throughout the years, we’d love to bring you along for the ride.



10-Year Alliance Expands Global Reach for Leading Game Developer Across Multiple Platforms

Kirkland, WA and Santa Monica, CA – April 29, 2010 -- Bungie, the developer of blockbuster game franchises including Halo, Myth and Marathon, and Activision, a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, the #1 online games publisher (Nasdaq: ATVI), announced today that they have entered into an exclusive 10-year partnership to bring Bungie’s next big action game universe to market. Under the terms of the agreement, Activision will have exclusive, worldwide rights to publish and distribute all future Bungie games based on the new intellectual property on multiple platforms and devices. Bungie remains an independent company and will continue to own their intellectual property. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The groundbreaking alliance will provide Bungie its first such partnership since splitting off from Microsoft in 2007, significantly broadening its global reach by providing the resources and support to develop, distribute and release games worldwide on multiple platforms and devices.

Activision will broaden its portfolio with a new franchise from one of the industry’s most creative, successful and proven studios, whose games have sold more than 25 million units worldwide. To date, Bungie’s Halo games have generated approximately $1.5 billion in revenues, according to The NPD Group, Charttrack and GfK. Activision expects this agreement to be accretive to its operating margins as of the release of the first game.

“We chose to partner with Activision on our next IP because of their global reach, multi-platform experience and marketing expertise,” said Harold Ryan, President of Bungie. “From working together over the past nine months on this agreement, it is clear that Activision supports our commitment to giving our fans the best possible gaming experiences.”

“Bungie is one of the premier studios in our industry and we are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to work with their talented team over the next decade,” stated Thomas Tippl, Chief Operating Officer of Activision Blizzard. “Bungie has developed some of the most compelling and successful games, multiplayer experiences and thriving fan communities, and this alliance underscores our long-standing commitment to foster the industry’s best creative talent. Our unprecedented partnership with Bungie will enable us to broaden our pipeline of exciting new games as we continue to strengthen our industry position and pursue long-term growth opportunities.”

About BungieHistory of Bungie 4/29/2010 4:59 AM PDT permalink

Bungie Weekly Update: 7/18/08

It's Friday yet again! Hooray?

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Inside BungieBungie Weekly UpdateAbout Bungie 7/18/2008 5:26 PM PDT

Cold Storage Q&A

Learn a bit more about Cold Storage and some of the folks who built it.

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Inside BungieBreaking InAbout BungieCommunityHalo 3 7/7/2008 9:25 AM PDT

Bungie Podcast: 7/7/08

Some rise in three days, some podcasts rise in three months.

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Inside BungieAbout BungieBungie PodcastCommunity 7/7/2008 9:11 AM PDT

Shishka and Luke's MLG Wrap-Up

Check out some brief notes from our weekend in muggy San Diego at MLG.

Last weekend Shishka and I took an easy sub-three hour flight from the rainy Northwest (begrudgingly missing the best weekend of golf in the Seattle area since early May) to head to San Diego for MLG’s second tournament of the season. For a wrap-up of who won what and how everything looked, MLG’s official site is probably your best bet – this is just a brief series of notes on what Shishka and I checked out.

This being his first MLG event, Shishka hadn’t been exposed to the complicated and elaborate series of technical hurdles that MLG overcomes in order to stream events live – rightfully, he was impressed with the number of folks hard at work preparing for Saturday and Sunday’s live streams. The “Yankee Stadium” – as we’ve previously discussed – blew his goatee back. Three monitors broadcasting gameplay, transitioning between players, showing their faces, reactions and their nightmarish skills that haunt my dreams.

In the time it took Shishka and I to go on our tour, four middle school-to-early highschool users had fashioned a sign with a slipshod sketch of Mister Chief asking for Recon. Fruitlessly, they cobbled the drawing together like MacGuyver using a Q-tip and Silly Putty to blow his way out of a foreign prison, the hilarity with these fans was only just beginning. At different times throughout our Friday evening at the venue, we’d look behind us to see the four of them standing there with a camcorder stalking us and filming our mundane existences.

  • “Shishka is about to take a drink of Dr. Pepper, I wonder if he’d drink that if Gamefuel was available.”
  • “Luke seems to be paying close attention to this Halo 3 match, I wonder if he’s thinking ‘Man, I’m better than these kids.’”
  • “Luke and Shishka look thirsty; I wonder if they will go back into the Pro Lounge for free drinks or use the drinking fountains like commoners.”

We met another group of guys at the venue – the Three M’s – three Bungie fans and talked with them numerous times on Friday and Saturday. Saturday as you’re well aware by now, is the reason we were at this particular MLG event.

Paired with Team Classic’s “Legend,” and Shishka teamed up with Carbon’s “Karma” – we revealed Cold Storage, a remake of Halo: Combat Evolve classic Chill Out. Via means treacherous and nefarious, Shishka and Karma ousted Legend and I – I played pretty awful once Legend and I lost Rocket room – I blame myself and Stosh for the loss.

And no, we haven’t forgotten you, sweet, sweet users, we’ll have more on Cold Storage this week, I promise.
In the interest of rare full disclosure, the plan to show Cold Storage came together pretty quickly and so we didn’t spin up art assets for screenshots. We’ll definitely have treats for users this week, though. Friday sounds like a safe bet. For now, user CrypticGuardian put up a great thread with a bunch of cellphone pictures from the exhibition. Drink it up!

Shishka passed this note over to me during study hall with some of his favorite moments from the weekend. Enjoy them.

MLG’s set up for managing their live stream is simply incredible. They’ve cobbled together some amazing talent to make the stream exactly like what you’d expect to see for any professional sport. Even as a designer, I find it hard to comprehend that a video game has buried itself so deep into culture that a group such as MLG can create such a high caliber broadcast. We’ve come a long way.

The exhibition match was awesome, even if I threw some of the worst grenades of my Halo playing career. At first I was a little too aware of the crowd of people watching us, and I gotta admit, was a bit freaked out. Eventually I was able to focus on my screen and the feedback Karma was giving me and in the end I had a lot of fun. I walked away from the match craving more, but unfortunately there were things that needed to be done and I didn’t get the opportunity. And yes, kids, I know my BR was out of ammo. I have a habit of swapping to it even when it’s low or out of ammo. I was okay. Really. Not like it particularly mattered. Karma and I won because A) Karma is awesome and B) I managed to suck only slightly less than Luke.

After the exhibition, I went back out into the floor and had the opportunity to talk with a bunch of fans. Luke, on the other hand, pulled a perfect impression of Rush’s Neil Peart, jumping off the stage and disappearing before the fans could even get near. He reemerged not much later – wearing a completely different set of clothes – and met up with me in the venue. As we were talking, some fans approached and asked me (draped in my Bungie-branded apparel) for an autograph. After I signed their 360 controllers, they turned around and walked away—they hadn’t even noticed Luke was there. I turned and looked at Luke for a moment, and then I lol’d. Oh, how I LOL’d.

Despite my tenure with Bungie
[Editor’s Note: three months this time around - LS], this was actually the first MLG event I’ve ever attended, so it was pretty cool to see a mix of people I had never met before as well as some familiar faces. The PMS clan had a ton of representation, and there were even a couple Bungie.Net regulars around to check things out, so the venue had this familial undertone while at the same time being a completely new experience for me. I had a lot of fun, and hopefully San Diego won’t be my last MLG event.

[Editor’s Note: The above story may have been edited from its original state by me - LS]

[Editor’s Note 3: When you inevitably complain about the length of this week’s Weekly Update, add this story’s length to it, jerks :) – LS]

Inside BungieAbout BungieCommunityHalo 3 6/16/2008 5:40 PM PDT permalink

Bungie: Now Used in Management Texts

An HBO forum user stumbled across a Bungie reference in the most quizzical of places - his college textbook.

HBO user Tablesandchairs4 found a strange Bungie reference in an even more obtuse place - his Miami of Ohio MGT 291 text book "Organizational Behavior." Regrettably, Tablesandchairs4 points out that in the book's index they refer to Bungie as "Bungle Studios." Apparently, authors Robbins & Judge didn't like that Halo 2 eschewed the pistol.

(image shamelessly stolen from the HBO post and rehosted)

Inside BungieAbout BungieCommunity 6/16/2008 4:40 PM PDT permalink

We're Hiring: User Experience Designer

We're looking for a User Experience Designer, head over to the Jobs Page to learn about what this position demands.

The listing was so full of requirements, expectations and job functions that Achronos had to retool the Jobs Page in order to make it look right. Go check it out.

Attack of the (old) New Guy

A blast from the past returns to blast you in the face. With his face blasting past paste.

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Breaking InAbout Bungie 3/27/2008 11:04 AM PDT

Reminder: Latest Bungie Podcast is Live Now

The most recent episode of the Bungie Podcast is live and ready to pump noise into your skull.

Just in case you missed the note in Friday's Weekly Update:

Engineering Lead Chris Butcher joins the Bungie Podcast for an insightful gaze into the future of games and technology. After a quick (and fake) commercial break, Microsoft's Major Nelson, and "engineer of the Microsoft hype train" (our words, not his) takes his place in the first-ever seat of heat. How did he fare?

Bungie Podcast 031908 (1:32:37) [85 MB]

Subscribe via iTunes here

Use the Bungie Podcast RSS Feed

Join the Official Bungie Podcast Group here on, where Frankie, Sketch and I will take your feedback, regurgitate it and feed it back to you. Have you missed one of the gajillion episodes of the Bungie Podcast? Check the Podcast Archive and catch up.

About BungieBungie PodcastHalo 3 3/24/2008 10:35 AM PDT permalink

A Closer Look at the Halo 3 Xbox 360

One of Bungie's brilliant Art Directors, Aaron LeMay, dishes some details on the Halo 3 Xbox 360.

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About BungieHalo 3 7/12/2007 10:48 AM PDT

Welcome to the Future of

Welcome to the new It's the result of a long, hard and rewarding collaboration of art, technology and design.

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Inside BungieBreaking InAbout Bungie 3/19/2007 2:48 PM PDT

Breaking into Bungie

Bungie receives a high volume of emails on the subject of jobs. More than anything, people want to know how to get a job at Bungie. Take a look at Bungie's shady hiring practices and see if you're up to leaving behind the concept of "HR violations."

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CareersAbout Bungie 9/13/2006 5:15 PM PDT