Bungie design director leaves

Halo, Destiny universe co-creator Joseph Staten departs Bungie after 15 years with the company to "tackle new creative challenges."

Bungie Studios design director and Halo and Destiny universe co-creator Joseph Staten has left the company after 15 years, the studio announced today on its website.

"At Bungie, we consider ourselves lucky. Every day, we get to do what we love in an amazing place, alongside people we respect and admire. No one embodies that more than Joseph Staten," Bungie said in a statement.

"Few have contributed as much to our success. To that end, it is with no small degree of sadness that we say 'Godspeed' to more than just a Grizzled Ancient, but an old, dear friend. And it is with no small degree of delight and intrigue that we imagine what worlds he might take us to next."

In a statement of his own, Staten explained that he is leaving Bungie to "tackle new creative challenges," though these were not specified.

"After 15 great years at Bungie, from the battlefields of Myth to the mysteries of Halo and beyond, I'm leaving to tackle new creative challenges," Staten said. "While this may come as a surprise, fear not. It's been my pleasure building Destiny these past four years, and after the big reveal this summer, our hugely talented team is on track for greatness. I'll be cheering all of them, with all of you, when the game launches next year. Thank you for your support of me, and your continued support of Bungie. We couldn't have done it without you."

Staten is a prolific Halo writer, having written for every game in the series developed by Bungie. He also served as creative director for Peter Jackson's Halo film (which would later fall apart) and authored the New York Times bestseller Halo: Contact Harvest.

Destiny launches in 2014 for current- and next-generation consoles.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and is a big UCONN athletics fan.

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Discussion

121 comments
Daian
Daian

Translation: he didn't want to sell out and be stuck doing Destiny for 10 years after it's released (according to the deal made by Bungie with Activision).

crashmer
crashmer

That's 15 years too late

chechak7
chechak7

why every one named Joseph is GREAT ....great lost for Bungie

Vojtass
Vojtass

And now he will launch Kickstarter game for PC. :D

Triton
Triton

Bye.

I left a company after 15 years. Sucks having to start all over with the Vacation time.

Bowser05
Bowser05

I guess he's not going to be part of Bungie's plan for World Domination anymore. Pity.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

That's a real shame. I kinda liked the guy. He seemed to have a lot of energy and belief in what he did.

Good luck to him.

Halloll
Halloll

there should be a corporate rule that you can only leave Bungie by bungee jumping unless you're pregnant or something.

furrynic
furrynic

I must admit that I am surprise that he didn't stick around for the completion of the game, and see how it does after release. cliff bleszinski did almost the same thing with gears of war, and even with the game selling well, still the game was the worst in the series.

At the same time for Destiny Joseph Staten has been there for 4 years. This game must be much more ahead, than just the middle into development. He probably had already done his part in the game, and what's remaining is for the rest of the team to finish and set a release date for the game.

Kraken422
Kraken422

Contact Harvest was my favourite Halo book.

Shanks_D_Chop
Shanks_D_Chop

So this is the dude responsible for writing a barely mediocre pseudo-sci-fi plot...

focuspuller
focuspuller

Right before a huge title launch, ALWAYS a good sign.

blackothh
blackothh

Go back to Myth on kickstarter!

YEPEE00
YEPEE00

i bet he wanted the cat people too. lol

Hurvl
Hurvl

Everytime someone leaves, there's so many comments about it being a sign of something shady, that he couldn't bear the situation any longer, that his former game/company will now crash and burn. 

You know, this isn't a soap opera on TV, not everyone leaving is because of an internal feud or because evil people mistreated him. 15 years is a long time with the same company, especially in the games industry that changes so fast. He might just want to do something different, explore other options, other companies than the one he worked all these years for. To be able to grow and keep that creative edge, it might be necessary for him to get out of his comfort zone, break away from all the familiarity that Bungie represents. 

Or there might be other reasons, which may or may not resemble the plot for a soap opera episode. His and Bungies statements felt very standard, so there's no sign (as far as i can tell) that they parted because of irreconcilable differences. 

Destiny is supposed to go on for 10 years, but having worked 4 years on building it, I think he's done enough to ensure that the rest of the staff has something to work with for future games.

poromenos
poromenos

Maybe Destiny is not shaping the game he wants, pressure by Activision? micro transactions and grinding forcefully implemented?

dethman75
dethman75

Let me guess. He wanted to create a game that could take the genre to the next level. Management thought that would not sell enough so to appease the COD crowd they ditched the epic ideas and put in multiplayer maps for 12 years olds. 

Yep, this went from top 3 to meh in 30 seconds

steelmouth
steelmouth

How do you leave before your baby is born? where is his excitement for Destiny?

Anyhow here is to hoping he creates something new and super awesome, and I wont mind if its an Xbox exclusive

TrueGB
TrueGB

Huh. He tends to stick around longer than this, but then, 4 years focusing on one project could bore you after a while. Then again, that didn't stop him from sticking it out with Bungie all these years.

So...yeah, something is up. Probably Activision.

robbiejones
robbiejones

the first halo was amazing!... that is all

Passion101
Passion101

Let me guess; he is joining Sony Santa Monica..

Master_Vexov
Master_Vexov

I bet Destiny is molded for the ancient hardware of the 360/PS3, instead of new gen and worked down.  So the gameplay will not be any better on the PS4 (just at least i would hope looking far better).

I hope this is all wrong, and next-gen will have bigger and better fights. Next-gen should carry better physics and visuals, of course. Destiny has so much to promise, but so did so many other games that came out.. I just expect it to turn out as a 1/5th of the game it should be... all cause its tied into ancient consoles and now this guy leaving adds to it.

I think he left because the game isn't near the direction he visioned it to be, their cutting corners and just making a cheap hyped game now. (Bungie is pulling a Diablo-3)

Bowser05
Bowser05

@Shanks_D_Chop Meh. It has it's moments, but overall it's pretty juvenile. I always felt like the books had much better stories because they focused more on the characters...which is probably why I like the story in Reach the most. Anyway, everybody has their own opinions.

ElekTriX360
ElekTriX360

@Shanks_D_Chop Barely mediocre? I'm guessing you're one of the people who praised The Last of Us plotline with wild abandon?

Bowser05
Bowser05

@focuspuller I don't know if it's RIGHT before. We don't even know when Destiny is coming out. Was supposed to be end of this year. Now it's early next year. For all we know i might not be until Holiday 2014...

pvspartan36
pvspartan36

@Hurvl THANK YOU. Everyone's just so sure that this means Destiny is terrible, and in reality it probably means nothing. He's worked at Bungie for so long, come up with two massive, expansive universes in that time, one in the past 4 years. It's probably time to move on.

And as for conflicts with others about the game- Bungie's blog recently stated that Destiny is now completely playable from start to finish on dev kits. They'll be moving to alpha and beta stages soon. If Staten was going to jump ship on conflicts about the game, wouldn't he have done it a long time ago? Why bother sticking around for 4 years of pre-production if he didn't like where it was going? That doesn't make sense.

cellbuster
cellbuster

@Master_Vexov Since it's cross generational, it will probably resemble a PC game where they will just crank the settings for the upcoming generation.  Because of that, there are obvious limitations since the engine has to perform for both, but I bet you can be assured that the next gen will be atleast sharper, smoother, and higher fidelity.

TrueGB
TrueGB

@Master_Vexov It's not the size of your hardware that matters, but knowing how to use it!

Bowser05
Bowser05

@Dovahkyon @Shango4 Your funny...what? What of his is funny (or hers?)? It might be more helpful if you complete your sentence so we know what your are referring to that is funny.

Shanks_D_Chop
Shanks_D_Chop

@Bowser05 @Shanks_D_Chop Yeah but that's like saying the Star Wars movies are quite good if you factor in ALL of the EU stuff.

Now, I must have blinked and missed it... There was a plot in Reach?

Yes, everyone does have their opinions. But opinions have varying shades of validity dependant of what they're based upon.

Shanks_D_Chop
Shanks_D_Chop

@ElekTriX360 @Shanks_D_Chop Yet to play Last Of Us. I'm guessing that YOU had some scathing derision prepared in case I'd said yes, huh? Shame.

Tell me, why so precious about the Halo plot? Are you going to try to convince me that it's actually good?

Hurvl
Hurvl

@pvspartan36 @Hurvl Thank you in return for your response. It's like a lot of people don't want to look at the simple facts and accept that there's no drama surrounding this. Four years is a pretty long time to hammer out a completely new world, so he's hardly leaving it incomplete. 

People might worry about the future games and how they'll match up story-wise when the guy who was building the whole universe - but not by himself - has left. I don't know anything about that, perhaps not even the developers know much, but it'd be odd if there wasn't something to expand upon after building it for 4 years.

Bowser05
Bowser05

@silentechoes13 Haha look what you started. Let's take this a step further and say I hate Microsoft and Sony as well.

Shanks_D_Chop
Shanks_D_Chop

@Bowser05 @Shanks_D_Chop The original point, that I made, that led to this is that the Halo GAMES do not have a good plot. Now, you said you liked the books more, you said they were better stories. That's fine but moot. One reason being I've not read the books so I can't comment on their quality and what they may or may not add to the over-all narrative and the other reason is that, as with my Star Wars example, a bunch of material done at a later date doesn't change the actual quality of the original, main work. Given that your point is rendered moot, it is meaningless to me. So you deride MY response to YOUR initial response as meaningless... when in fact YOUR response, that brought you into this, was quite meaningless. Which I don't mind at all but it seems rather rich for you to now get your panties twisted about it.

As for Reach having "good" character development. No. That's just not true. We're not debating quality here, we're debating whether there was ever any of it in the game at all. It has characters. They don't develop. They are introduced... they're in it... and then they die. Arnie has more character development in Terminator. The first film, not the second.

Meanwhile, stating that it has a more involved story than other Halo games is essentially a non-statement. That's like saying the original Super Mario Bros. had more depth than Pong. It's true, but only because the desired element didn't exist in the compared party. There's a story, you play a character who's in the story. Involved enough? Depends how attached you get to Generic Hulking Male Marine #4... Like I said to the other dude, Reach is a good laugh with mates on co-op. If you're playing solo then it's just a naff, cheesy action movie. Fine if that's what you like but it ain't story of the decade.

Further, the "reasons" you provided are just as valid as the ones I didn't. I decided against writing a dissertation on the topic because I didn't really care enough so I literally just put my immediate thought. Now, your "reasons" are... saying you liked the books more... and... that's about it. I mean, you insist that Reach had "good character development"... But that's not a reason, that's another opinion. Where's your own supporting base, Mr. Analytical?

Maybe I should have clarified more in the first place... Someone can take the opposing side to me and insist that Halo is one of the greatest video game stories ever. We both have our opinions and that's that. However, should it come to light that the Halo franchise is the only story with which they have any real familiarity, their opinion then loses alot of validity as they haven't got anything else to compare it to. This person knows what they like but that's it. Because while we all have our personal opinions on what is good, what is bad and what is enjoyable regardless there are still certain elements of any artistic creation, generally the technical elements, that are objective. This is why you can keep telling me that Reach has good character development and I can keep laughing in your face.

Are you happy now that you have a proper response as opposed to a half-arsed reply resulting from an obligation to be polite? Honestly, I don't understand what you got riled about...

Bowser05
Bowser05

@Shanks_D_Chop @Bowser05 Uh yeah there was a lot of good character development and a much more involved story than any other Halo game done by Bungie. I feel like you are just being unfairly biased if you are saying something like that. That being said, your first point is meaningless to me. Maybe you didn't see that I thought that the games are pretty juvenile and that the only good stories I really liked were in the books. I never said that the Halo games as a whole are good when it comes to story. 

Lastly, yes, validity is dependant on what they're based on, but while I'm actually coming up with reasons for what I believe, you are just throwing out points with no supporting base. So by your logic, your opinions are the one that probably don't have validity. You see, most of my judgement on a game is based on it's story, so I spend a lot of time analyzing stories in games. I also always have a good reason for what I believe...I don't base my opinions on illogical emotions alone.


man_hammer
man_hammer

@Shanks_D_Chop @man_hammer @ElekTriX360 Okay, here goes.

Imagine the plot of a game story you feel is brilliant. Now, and this is key, add free cocaine.

Are you with me so far?

Now, take what we have so far and add Master Chief shooting stuff...also, multiplayer and tea bagging.

That's all I've got. Have I changed your mind yet?

Shanks_D_Chop
Shanks_D_Chop

@man_hammer @Shanks_D_Chop @ElekTriX360 Well, "free" and "cocaine" is a good start to make me receptive to crazy and outrageous ideas. And that's colouring outside the book.

Seriously, you won't. Played the first, co-oped through the second and a bit of the third, played Reach. The plot itself is hardly original or inspiring which is fine, it's hardly alone in that. The dialogue, however, is on the bad side of average along with the voice acting. The manner in which certain "reveals" are... revealed is just clumsy. 

It's uninspiring. As a co-op game with some friends it's a great laugh. But that's all. It should never, ever be held up as a great example of sci-fi fiction which is what Bungie have implied a couple of times during this whole build-up to Destiny. It's a so-so action story, that's all.

man_hammer
man_hammer

@Shanks_D_Chop @ElekTriX360 No, I'll be the one to convince you.

What combination of words do I need to string together that will bring you on board?

Don't worry, I'm not constrained by the actual Halo plot. I'm willing to color outside the lines on this.