"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.