Bungie's Project Phoenix was "Minecraft-like"

Cofounder Jason Jones reveals unreleased game was able to render game items like Minecraft and had RTS elements.

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Bungie has opened up on its unreleased and never-seen Project Phoenix. Speaking with IGN, cofounder Jason Jones said this game was "Minecraft-like" and had elements of real-time strategy.

"It was a project we were working on at the same time we were working on Halo 1," Jones said. "There was a lot that was really interesting about it, even back in Chicago, before the [Microsoft acquisition]. It was a game that was based on a technology that was sort of Minecraft-like, in that it could render… You could build castles out of blocks, for example, and then knock them down."

Project Phoenix never came to be, Jason explained, because the team at Bungie instead focused on the Halo series--which would turn out to be a multibillion-dollar franchise.

"This game was going between RTS and… It's hard to even describe. It was trying to find out what it was, and it hadn't," he said. "It made it very clear at several junctures, 'Well, should we put all the resources on the team behind Halo, or should we keep working on this game?' Eventually we made the decision that it was Halo. The team just went away, or the project went away. The people are still here."

Jones and Bungie are currently working on Destiny, an all-new first-person shooter due out in 2014 on current- and next-generation consoles. The game will be published by Call of Duty company Activision.

Discussion

42 comments
jrabbit99
jrabbit99

Wow thats incredible. Imagine another universe where Bungie launched that game instead of Halo. Would we be seeing more minecraft elements in everything instead of more halo elements?

FrankFoxYaeger
FrankFoxYaeger

AS LONG AS ACTIVITION KEEPS MAKING THOSE COD GAMES IM HAPPY.

farcorners
farcorners

I understand the disappointment in losing new innovative projects to incremental improvements of established genres. It takes a lot of guts and luck to create something both new and successful.

Rattlesnake_8
Rattlesnake_8

Standard practice to scrap something new and innovative to go with the standard run of the mill guaranteed seller. Can't blame them but its sad that companies will make standard FPS games rather than bringing new things to the table.

GatorMan
GatorMan

It's really too bad that when companies scrap interesting ideas like this that they just basically throw them in the proverbial trash. It would be cool if they released them onto the internet under some kind of open-source license and basically said: have at it. Just think of how many novel concepts will never see reality...

Hurvl
Hurvl

Lol, strike a pose in the trailer image still. How many times have I not seen that pose and it never looks natural or in context.

BelaidKL
BelaidKL

Best decision they've ever made.. Halo turned out to be more than a hit, I just wonder what would have came to be of Project Phoenix?? We shall never know

sortajan
sortajan

why should we care about things that aren't going to happen?

Leon_aditzu
Leon_aditzu

Bungie should remake the Myth franchise.

S0loMANgrundy
S0loMANgrundy

"remember that time halo wars sucked?" "lets do that again but add minecraft"

inkyspot
inkyspot

Very rarely New Ip's make it with most gamers. Its risky, but less of a risk with an established studio. 

They have the money now, they can take a risk or two.

Daian
Daian

Could have, would have, should have, who cares at this point. You've sold out to Activision and you're gonna milk that game with microtransactions, map packs, and "new" games every other year.

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

In terms of making money and building a flagship title/series that would help propel Microsoft into a very quick competitor against the established Nintendo and Sony consoles at the time, they sure made the right choice.

Ovirew
Ovirew

With the passage of time it's easy to say this and that could have happened and it would have been great.

It's funny how Bungie talks about a game that is drastically different, yet for the last decade they've done pretty much the same thing, and still are.

Ryuuken27
Ryuuken27

@jrabbit99 It's not minecraft, he's talking about a vortex engine, it's nothing new. He uses minecraft as an example because people know of it.

cjtopspin
cjtopspin

@sortajan :  Agreed.  Its like they are bragging about how hot a chick they COULD HAVE dated was but they ended up not talking to her instead.

kyle756
kyle756

@S0loMANgrundy in spite of the review gamespot gave, the majority of players actually enjoyed the game, gamespot was one of the few reviewers that didn't like it. It was really more around an 8 in quality, yeah PC RTS's are better, but halo wars was hands down the best for consoles

Kraken422
Kraken422

@S0loMANgrundy So Ensemble and Bungie are the same developer now? And Minecraft and Halo Wars were released before Halo: Combat Evolved? Make sure you know what you're talking about before you comment.

BearzUnlimited
BearzUnlimited

@Daian It's only a 10-year publishing deal. Bungie still owns their IP and has complete control over their games. There isn't going to be any bullshit milking unless Bungie decides that's the direction they want to go.

Radnen
Radnen

@Daian What so bad with that? It's extra stuff for extra money. Only if it's pay to win is it shit. But otherwise I don't see the big deal unless you are jealous others have money to spend on what usually is frivolous stuff.

Atheosis
Atheosis

@Ovirew Something Jones doesn't mention is the fact that Bungie was acquired by Microsoft around that time.  Seeing as it's well-known that Microsoft made that purchase due to interest in Halo, I think it's obvious why this other, more experimental title was abandoned.  Though honestly, Halo was rather revolutionary back in the day. 

plaintomato
plaintomato

@Ovirew Sure, but what you're not seeing is the newsworthy nature of an unusual event like this in the gaming industry.

"Developer Had Another Idea Once But Decided to Work on Something Else"

I mean, c'mon, how often does that happen? Only like NEVER. Well, at least not in a way that allows two hot topics like "Bungie" and "Minecraft" to appear in the same headline.

lbryson8
lbryson8

@cjtopspin @sortajan A better analogy would be the fat girl at the bar they could have easily taken home but instead they went and talked to the supermodel and scored

Kraken422
Kraken422

@kyle756 @S0loMANgrundy A Halo Wars 2 would be a big tick in the XBox One column for me. I'd love to see it get made but since Microsoft shut down Ensemble it doesn't look likely.

The-Neon-Seal
The-Neon-Seal

@Radnen @Daian Plus Destiny is PvE, not PvP. I can't see how a game involving everybody ganging up against NPC's can be PtW.

Daian
Daian

@spartanx169x because they were asked and didn't deny it. In this industry that pretty much guarantees it.

Garagorn888
Garagorn888

@Atheosis @Ovirew Pretty sure he did make some comments in Part 2, of the interview, about the acquisition by Microsoft.

Ovirew
Ovirew

@AtheosisYeah but Bungie is working for Activision now, and they're still basically making Halo.

It makes it kind of laughable when they talk about their varied history and bring up games like Myth and Project Phoenix, when in reality almost all they've done for their entire existence is improve their FPS game.

If you think about it, Halo was basically an extension of Marathon, and now Destiny is an extension of Halo.  Oni could be chalked up to their love of Ghost in the Shell.

karloss01
karloss01

@Leon_aditzu @karloss01 

according to wikipedia, the rights are owned by Take-2 Interactive (as well as Oni). they had MumboJumbo create the third installment (Myth III: the Wolf Age). nothing has been done with the rights since.

Poison-tooth
Poison-tooth

 You are sadly mistaken if you think consoles are not gonna be plague by microtransactions. They already stated that they were thinking about it for Destiny... welcome to the club.

spartanx169x
spartanx169x

@Daian @spartanx169x Oh, I had not heard that. I can see them doing that with the PC version. If they try that with the console versions I see an EPIC fail in their future.

Kraken422
Kraken422

@Ovirew @Atheosis I don't see the issue in Bungie talking about their past. You seem to think that they're trying to win brownie points with gamers by saying this but the truth is it was probably said in context to a question asked by IGN. 

I appreciate that Bungie's recent focus on FPS may be getting stale for you but the fact that they have done other things in the past is true regardless of what they've done in the last decade and when talking about their past it's still relevant.