Jul 5, 2011
When it comes to independent gaming, there is one name that does not come up: Bungie. Well, at least not when counting the past decade or so while they were owned by Microsoft, though their roots lie as an independent developer making games for Mac, and are now technically independent again. It remains that Bungie and their massively popular Halo series that they created are the antithesis of what most modern mobile games are about. They’re all about the latest graphics, extremely high production values, all using the now-standard template of first-person shooter gameplay with space marines fighting aliens that the game popularized. So, when Bungie announces a new project, there’s obviously the expectation that it would follow in these footsteps, no? That’s the thing about expectations; sometimes they are defied. And that’s what Bungie’s Aerospace has just done.
Aerospace is not a game, per se; it is a program “created to help small, independent developers launch their mobile and social games.” What this program is offering is access to Bungie’s resources, while keeping their creative freedom. This means that they will be able to access services like Bungie.net, which has provided the backbone for the Halo series’ stat tracking and media sharing in recent years; developers making their mobile and social games might be able to utilize similar features with Bungie.net’s infrastructure.
The first game that is launching under the Aerospace program is “Crimson,” created by Harebrained Schemes. This studio is lead by Jordan Weisman, known from his work with FASA Interactive (Shadowrun, MechWarrior), and specifically with Bungie on the “I Love Bees” Alternate Reality Game with Halo 2. Most interestingly, this game is launching on both iOS and Android later this summer. It appears as if the Aerospace program values multiplatform releasing, not just releasing on iOS. Read the announcement and FAQ for Aerospace here.
The Halo series presented great production values, and the news of companies funding smaller developers to allow them to make projects they might not be able to make without some additional money is a very good thing; Gamevil recently announced a $10 million fund to help support independent development as well. Hopefully more high-quality projects from smaller developers will come of these funding efforts.