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Phil Spencer Thinks Bungie Would Have Stayed With Xbox Today

Phil Spencer Thinks Bungie Would Have Stayed With Xbox Today - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 03 December 2021 / 2,430 Views

Microsoft acquired Halo developer Bungie in 2000 before they became independent once again in 2007. The studio would go off to develop Destiny after the release of Halo: Reach.

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer in an interview with Axios said Xbox has learned a lot since Bungie left. He believes if it was today Microsoft could have convinced Bungie to stay. 

"Could we do it today? I think we could," said Spencer when if the split was destined to happen or if Microsoft could have held on to them. 

Phil Spencer Thinks Bungie Would Have Stayed With How Xbox Does Things Today

"At the time they had big ambitions," he added. "They had sold their business for a certain amount of money. They saw what Halo turned into. And it's like, ‘OK, Microsoft benefited more than Bungie did from the success of Halo.’ There's no other story that can be written there.

"If you're saying, ‘Hey, I think I've got another one of those in me. I want to really take another chance,’ I can understand the allure of doing that as an independent company."


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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60 Comments
Mr Puggsly (on 03 December 2021)

I can't imagine Bungie has any regrets. Destiny has been a big hit and they had more freedom than MS was offering.

Fortunately for MS, Halo fans have been loyal in spite of some underwhelming games.

  • +11
Dulfite Mr Puggsly (on 03 December 2021)

4 was a pretty good game, and I say that as someone who loved Reach most of all. Never got to play 5, but Infinite multiplayer reminds me of 4. Halo Wars 1/2 were okay, not great or bad.

  • -4
Pemalite Dulfite (on 04 December 2021)

Halo 1, 2 and 3 were amazing industry trend-setters that sold consoles.

Reach, ODST was great. Not Genre defining or visual masterpieces, but great fun.

Halo Wars was brilliant, sadly the multiplayer population died off pretty quickly as the multiplayer just didn't live up to expectations. (I.E. A couple of 3v3 maps is not great.)

Halo 4 had a solid campaign, didn't live up to Halo 3 for me... But it's sore point was the Multiplayer... It was woefully unbalanced and didn't have a long-lived online community.

Halo 5 sadly had a poor campaign and multiplayer... The Req system forced Microtransactions and wrecked multiplayer for me... Plus a lack of warzone maps and multiplayer population in Oceania.
The graphics quality gave way to framerate... And as such had poor visuals at the time.
It wasn't even truly 60fps as many animations were 15-30fps anyway.

Halo Wars 2 was solid all round, it is probably extremely underrated... Sadly, because it didn't shift a ton of copies, it never really had a big community or multiplayer population, I couldn't get matches after a couple days after launch so I moved on...

Halo: Spartan Assault and Spartan Strike were great twin-stick shooters.
Spartan Strike unfortunately is the only Halo game to never arrive on an Xbox console... So a missed opportunity there, also no Android release for either title. BOOO

Halo Infinite seems to have put Halo back on top of Call of Duty and Battlefield.... Didn't think I would ever see/say that again. 343i deserves praise to turning the game around from the shit-show of a showing.

  • +2
scrapking Pemalite (on 04 December 2021)

I have no trouble getting a match in Halo Wars to this day. But I'm in Canada, not Oceania, in case that makes a difference?

The original Halo Wars has 18 multiplayer maps, of which 4 were 3v3. Not enough for everyone's taste, but more than just a "couple".

Now my favourite multiplayer mode in Halo Wars 2 is Blitz, and the fact that it has a single map is... strange.

I happened to go into the Halo Museum today and 3 of my top 5 most played Xbox games are Halo Wars, Halo Wars Definitive Edition, and Halo Wars 2, so I guess that makes me some kind of Halo Wars superfan, so take from that what you will. :P

I also enjoyed Spartan Assault. I really need to try Spartan Strike on the PC one of these days, and I agree that it's friggin' weird that it never came to the Xbox One.

  • -5
Pemalite scrapking (on 05 December 2021)

Keep in mind that not all of those 3v3 maps arrived on launch.

Yes being in Canada makes a difference over Oceania, you are aligned to the same time-zone as the USA.

Oceania doesn't have the privilege of being aligned to big markets like the EU or the USA.
It's not a dig at the games design at all either, but a population/demographic issue, clearly these games aren't the most popular in my timezone slot... And that is perfectly okay, they are popular in more western markets.
Loaded up Halo Wars on the Series X... Empty. No matches found.
Loaded up Halo Wars on Steam... 1 match in the match browser.

Not great if you are a Halo Wars fan. (Which I am.)

The only option I have available is to stay awake all night and not sleep, sadly can't do that due to work and rescue obligations that requires me to manage fatigue as best as possible.
For me, it's just better to move onto other games unless I have a desire to play offline. (Which I do from time to time, but I miss Tug of War and Reinforcement game modes.)

  • +1
dane007 Pemalite (on 04 December 2021)

I played halo 5 on series x and it was beautiful and flawless. I quite liked the campaign for it

  • -4
Mr Puggsly Pemalite (on 04 December 2021)

I'm a fan of Halo Wars games as well. One of my favorites for a quick skirmish match.

Halo 4 felt too much like a linear action game. Level design kinda sucked, it just felt like a step back in a lot of ways. I'm not a fan of the story direction either. However, I loved the multiplayer.

Halo 5 seemingly saw the mistakes of 4, but just leaned into and became something arguably worse. More story driven, some levels literally are just story telling, they failed to create interesting boss battles and became more linear. But if it did anything right, people seem to like the multiplayer. While the gunplay in general is among my favorite.

Even though I didn't love Halo 5, I still really want some sort of remaster. Fix all the visual quirks, add four player split screen for campaign and MP, then it will be a more respectable product.

I really hope Halo Infinite lives up to the hype overall. It doesn't need to be the best campaign, I just need something respectable like Gears 4 and 5 managed to achieve.

  • 0
dane007 Mr Puggsly (on 05 December 2021)

Have u tried halo 5 on serows x. It got a major visual overhaul?

  • 0
Pemalite dane007 (on 05 December 2021)

Looks the same as the Xbox One X version? Which was a moderate improvement, not major.
Pop-in, short render distance on shadows and 15-30fps animations were still prevalent.

It looks better than the base Xbox One no doubt.

  • 0
dane007 Pemalite (on 05 December 2021)

They improved it even more. Textures got a big boost. Res got a bigboost. Much fazter loading times and locked 60 fps. It felt and looked like a brand new game.
TThey fixed alot of issues

  • -5
scrapking dane007 (on 05 December 2021)

Those are all worthy upgrades. I do wish they'd invested at least some of the additional horsepower into including (at least) two-player split-screen multiplayer. But perhaps they have metrics that suggest the feature (despite having ardent fans) isn't used by many players. shrug

  • 0
dane007 scrapking (on 05 December 2021)

Yea agree. I ended up playing alone as a result. When i tried to get someone to play campaign with me, i couldn't find any!

  • 0
scrapking dane007 (on 05 December 2021)

Yeah, sometimes it's easier to get a relative/roommate to join you for some couch co-op, than to try to co-ordinate with some who lives elsewhere to go online at the right time and join you for online co-op!

  • 0
dane007 scrapking (on 05 December 2021)

Sadly none of my friends play fps games. They are all rpg players! Or fans of rts and racing games.

  • 0
Pemalite dane007 (on 06 December 2021)

Definitely doesn't look like a new game.
Just an enhancement.

Many textures got no improvement, but the textures did look better due to superior filtering.

  • +1
dane007 Pemalite (on 06 December 2021)

I was comparing the look of the xbox one version to when i played on series x. It was huge for me:)

  • 0
Mr Puggsly dane007 (on 07 December 2021)

I started playing Halo 5 recently on Series X. Playing on Series X is certainly a massive upgrade over playing on a base Xbox One. Less of an improvement if you already had a One X.

On One X it could drop to like 1600p, so I am guessing the Series X stays much closer to 4K. Warzone seemed to be the most demanding mode and I'm not noticing the dynamic res changes like on older hardware. Ground textures also look much better thanks to 16x anisotropic filtering. If you're gonna play Halo 5, Series hardware seems to be the best way to do it.

On a side note, I started playing Borderlands 3 recently. A fun game, but looks surprisingly bad for a AAA 8th gen only aiming 30 fps. In comparison it gave me a greater appreciation for what Halo 5 does at 60 fps.

  • +1
dane007 Mr Puggsly (on 07 December 2021)

Fair enough. Agree with you on that. What i loved halo 5 the most was your companion ai. They made doing veteran solo alot of fun as they actually helped.!.

  • 0
Pemalite Mr Puggsly (on 08 December 2021)

Improvement yes.
Not a "completely new looking game" by any stretch.

1600P vs 2160P is not a big difference (Many may not perceive a difference at all) depending on panel type, size and quality either.

However the Xbox One X would spend "most of the time" at the full fat 4k anyway.

As for 16x AF, you can get that with Halo 5 on the Xbox One X anyway, but you give up 4k in return.
But going from 8x to 16x Anisotropic Filtering doesn't maketh a game look "completely new" it just cleans things up.

  • 0
Mr Puggsly Pemalite (on 08 December 2021)

I don't think I said it looked completely new. But again, if you're moving from base Xbox One to Series X its a very noticeable upgrade.

The thing about Halo 5 is the game kinda flickered due to the dynamic resolution. I noticed it on One X as well. But its not catching my eye on Series X. Its kinda minor, but it was one of many visual quirks.

I believe Halo 5 on One X lost the AF due to the One X patch. So textures took a hit. Therefore Series X gets the better presentation from a higher resolution and the AF.

Again, not saying its completely new or whatever. Its just a noticeable upgrade in a game that really benefits from these tweaks.

  • 0
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Dulfite FormerlyTeamSilent13 (on 05 December 2021)

I don't get this, but that's fine. My perspective is that it was a really interesting story where you see and really feel Cortana losing her mind but trying to hold on to save the day. Then finding out the forerunners weren't this great species that's going to save the day was also an interesting twist. I liked the weapons, and honestly the graphics of 4 were extremely impressive to me, unlike 5 and now Infinite.

  • +1
2zosteven FormerlyTeamSilent13 (on 06 December 2021)

must have not played Cyberpunk 77

  • +2

wow. someone mass downvoting me. if i posted this years ago it would be the exact opposite. halo 4 is worse than cyberpunk and easily the worst AAA game i’ve ever played. sorry, but if you like this game you have bad taste. there is a reason the phrase “halo is dad” (dad being a mispelling of dead) became a meme around its release. it had less players than 7 call of duty titles individually after just a couple months. microsoft removed major nelson’s xbox live chart list because all the comments were people making fun of the game, and bungie forums were filled with people hating the campaign. i know some new halo youtubers tried to save it because they joined halo around reach (ubernick. latenightgaming), but the bungie forums and every person i know hate this game. i was top 100 in the world on halocharts with a 6 k/d playing on my 50 in big team slayer. campaign sparked the meme with chief having a facepalm. the downvotes here are ridiculous. cyberpunk is a 100x better game.

  • +1
Mr Puggsly Dulfite (on 04 December 2021)

I don't feel 4 and 5 were bad, they just weren't very good Halo campaigns. 5 especially left a lot to be desired.

I actually really liked the Halo Wars games. But those are side projects handled by other studios.

Then you have to consider MS did an abysmal job with MCC, and it stayed shitty for years. As a Halo fan during all of that, it was pretty bad.

  • 0
Pemalite Mr Puggsly (on 05 December 2021)

I actually think Microsoft regrets closing down Ensemble studios after Halo Wars?

They were probably one of the best RTS developers in the Industry, up there with Blizzard and Relic.

  • 0
Mr Puggsly Pemalite (on 05 December 2021)

I think the their logic was RTS had declined and their focus was console games anyhow.

Not sure if they need to regret it, given there are other studios they can go to if they want an RTS game.

  • 0
LivncA_Dis3 Mr Puggsly (on 04 December 2021)

agree with 343 being underwhelming haha

  • +14
zero129 LivncA_Dis3 (on 04 December 2021)
  • -20
smroadkill15 LivncA_Dis3 (on 04 December 2021)

Then you'll be happy to hear that Halo Infinite is far from underwhelming and MCC is the best collection of games released ever. Maybe you should play it instead of always trashing Xbox games? Food for thought.

  • -7
DonFerrari smroadkill15 (on 06 December 2021)

Sure, MCC and Halo 5 where the pinacle of Halo =p

  • 0
VAMatt Mr Puggsly (on 04 December 2021)

There haven't been any bad Halo games. It's just that the first three set the bar super high. The most recent couple have just been good games, arguably very good, but not super amazingly great.

  • +9
Dulfite VAMatt (on 04 December 2021)

ODST was the only one I played that felt bad to me. The music was so off-putting, ruined the whole Halo mood, and the story itself felt basically pointless. Plus like half the game was spent redundantly walking around the same city setting back and forth. It was boring, pointless, and musically terrible to me (whose idea was it to put jazz music in Halo?!).

  • +3
smroadkill15 Dulfite (on 04 December 2021)

I completely disagree with everything you just said lol. The music for ODST was some of the best for any Halo game. Walking around an abandoned New Mombasa at night with the superintendent lighting the way and Jazz playing in the background fit the mood perfectly. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

  • +2
TheTitaniumNub Dulfite (on 05 December 2021)

Yeah, I disagree also, ODST still has the best Halo soundtrack to date. ODST ws so awesome, loved every second of it!

  • 0
mjk45 (on 03 December 2021)

hindsight it's a wonderful thing to bad it's not there when you most need it.

  • +10
zero129 mjk45 (on 03 December 2021)
  • -24
method114 (on 06 December 2021)

MS didn't want to let them do anything but Halo. I remember Sony ran into the same issue with Naught Dog and Uncharted. Except Sony let them do what they wanted and we got TLOU. Execs need to understand they aren't artist and game creators they need to leave that work to the devs. Does it always workout in your favor? No but it will more often than letting some execs with no artistic visions for games and who only cares about money making those decisions.

  • 0
DonFerrari (on 06 December 2021)

That 2007 is a typo right?
So they are saying that they though Bungie wasn`t worthy anymore, but if they knew Destiny would generate so much revenue they would have threated them better and paid more? Them people complain about we criticizing MS.

  • 0
Chazore (on 05 December 2021)

After seeing how Bungie treated D2, I think you guys were better off...

Much as I'm not a fan of 343, I'm definitely not a fan of the current Bungie.

  • -1
zero129 (on 05 December 2021)

Id love if we could see who is giving the downvotes to everyone in this topic. I can bet most of them are not coming from Bungie or MS fans but fans who most likely never even played a Halo game and are just piling on for the sake of it not being on their platform...

  • -6
Rafie zero129 (on 05 December 2021)

I'm just going to take a stab at why I think you're getting downvoted. Saying that Bungie needed Xbox more than the other way around was a bit short sighted. Xbox was just as new as Bungie. Both needed one another. I myself didn't downvote you there. Just speculating here.

Also, the comment you made about Naughty Dog was jacked up. That probably set the tone for anything you may say afterwards. I personally love Halo and think all of them are good to godlike games. You really didn't have to tear down Naughty Dog to defend 343.

  • +10
zero129 Rafie (on 05 December 2021)

Im not on about me, i can understand why some might down vote me for my bungie comment thats perfectly understandable and thinking back on it was shot sighted. But i see perfectly fine comments from others in this thread and its just all down votes.

  • -1
Rafie zero129 (on 05 December 2021)

I'm not sure why then. I stopped caring why people do what they do on the internet a long time ago. I would just simply ignore it. It could be a myriad of reasons why certain individuals downvote. I won't say it's a certain fanbase, because we don't know that for sure. I would just say individuals. About the Bungie thing. I honestly didn't see why you were downvoted. It was just one perspective. Not like you said anything untoward. The Naughty Dog bit, I for sure understand why you got downvoted. It's all good man. Just brush it off!

  • +5
Azzanation Rafie (on 05 December 2021)

Technically MS brought Bungie off Apple as Bungie was going bankrupt due to Myth 2 Issues. So MS saved Bungie from closure. So Bungie actually needed MS to stay relevant at the same time, helped MS launch the Xbox.

  • -3
2zosteven zero129 (on 09 December 2021)

Would be cool to see the votes period!

  • 0
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TheTitaniumNub Chazore (on 04 December 2021)
  • -11
VAMatt Chazore (on 05 December 2021)

What did Bungie do with Destiny 2 that's so bad? The game's been going for 4 years, still has a gigantic, enthusiastic player base. People love it.

  • +6
zero129 VAMatt (on 05 December 2021)

I honestly dont think they done anything wrong with it and enjoyed what i played of it and do plan on getting into it more at some point.

  • -4