Halo 2 and the Art of Storytelling

Master Chief and the Marines are at it again in "Halo 2." See more Halo pictures.
Photo courtesy Bungie


"Probably the thing people don't realize is what we didn't do [when creating "Halo 2"] is come back and go, 'OK, what are the new technical goodies we have and how many guns do we need?' That is actually exactly what we don't do."

Pete Parsons, the studio manager of Bungie Studios, the creative force behind the enormously successful video game "Halo," wants you to understand that very clearly. Parsons and the rest of the team at Bungie are dedicated, above all else, to creating a really compelling story and the universe in which that story unfolds.

The enormous success of the original "Halo" can be attributed to this dedication. While many critics and fans tout the game's stunning graphics, impressive AI, or top-notch physics, most don't realize that these are tools Bungie uses to serve the story. With the break-away success of "Halo," the Bungie team had an enormous challenge ahead of them: creating a sequel that would meet the incredible expectations of fans worldwide. In essence, they had to top one of the best games ever made.

Bungie's answer to this challenge was to stay true to what made the original game so great. Parsons explains, "It doesn't come into, 'Hey I bet we could have better physics' or 'Hey, I bet we could make the AI even better.' You can't make AI unless ultimately you know the story you want to tell. Because the story you want to tell will determine what you want the AI to do."

HowStuffWorks had a chance to sit down with Pete Parsons and discuss one of the most important aspects of "Halo 2": the story.