HowStuffWorks Visits Bungie Studios

My Trip to Bungie

by Robert Valdes

11/5/04 Bungie was so very gracious to invite us to their studios for an advance peek at "Halo 2." Lucky Stuffo! All this week, we'll be running exclusive interviews with Bungie team members so you can find out what we learned when we went. Also coming this week: screenshots and video.

How does one describe a trip to Bungie Studios? I imagine Dorothy could relate to my struggle to find words when she tried to impart her tale to see the wizard. Despite the lack of a "million gallon aquarium or ground based space laser," as studio manager Pete Parsons so eloquently put it, I was no less impressed with my peek behind the curtain.

To put it mildly, Bungie is a heck of a place. Nestled deep in the heart of the sprawling office park splendor of Microsoft's Redmond campus, Bungie is in the same building as other parts of the Microsoft Game Studios and yet still worlds apart.

My guide for the day was Agnes Hansdorfer. Though not technically a Bungie employee, Agnes was one of the forces behind the marketing and PR for "Halo 2." So just like the people I was about to meet, Agnes had been living and breathing "Halo 2" for the last few months. When Agnes later said, "I heart Master Chief, " I believed her.

"So this is it." Agnes swung her arm in a wide arc around a non-descript office hallway. "This is where the magic happens. This is Bungie Studios," she said through a wry laugh as we made our way down the hall. Honestly, not at all what I expected. For all of its lackluster, it could have just as well been an orthodonist's office.

We made our way to a small reception area with plush chairs, a "Halo 2" adorned coffee table, a trophy case loaded with awards and a "Streetfighter" stand up arcade game machine in the corner. Now we're talking.