marcus lehto

Is Marcus Lehto the Steve Jobs of Bungie?

Is Marcus Lehto the Steve Jobs of Bungie?

Steve Jobs is a world wide icon, notable for building Apple Inc into a major computing power, being dumped, starting animation company Pixar and then coming full circle again by being Apple’s CEO and overseeing the development of world class products like the ipod, iphone and the new tablet, the ipad.
The consumers, investors and other apple fan freaks hang on every word the Steve Jobs says. His ‘one more thing announcements’ are legendary and serve the world notice of a new innovation that may just change the playing field, so to speak.

So when Bungie sets up an official Halo Reach Developer’s Blog as a subset of the Bungie website and give the keys to Marcus Lehto, the fans read every post twice, salivating over the tidbits of Reach news and trivia released. Thus when Lehto makes a post about a multiplayer bomb coming in a day or so, the fans expect that to be the case:

“On another note, I hope you all like the MP bomb we’re about to drop on the world in about a day. Enjoy!”

Except it was like two days wait and the fans went nuts. Bungie had to clarify. There were tweets. There were blog posts. Fan boys ranted on forums. But then the bomb was dropped and all was forgiven. Despite his hangover and the one his post created, Lehto made another post to clarify this total storm in a tea cup:

“Hey everyone. I certainly learned my lesson about casually dropping a note about something like the MP Alpha trailer. I had no intention of spinning people up so much – I was just so excited about showing people MP! So, I’ll sit back with ice on my parts today and hope the next time I sit down after 16 hours of working on the project, with my whiskey in one hand and my iphone in the other, that I don’t say anything else that causes such a stir. :)”

Ah, good old drunk posting on a widely read blog. It’s as bad as drunk dialing your ex eh?

Or was it? The cynic in me suggests this was a magic marketing trick. Here’s how it works. Make a small statement somewhere and it builds some excitement amongst those who saw it. Build some overnight expectation but then get a reaction when there’s a delay and soon enough everyone starts talking. By which time when you choose to release the bomb, the effect is of the Hiroshima kind. Complete and devasting and then your audience is thus primed and ready to go sup at the well of Full Halo Glory ™.

Bungie have done this before on a much larger scale – remember Halo ODST

was actually going to be called Halo 3 : Recon at one stage? While in that situation there was clearly some bigger forces at play, Bungie pulled a massive stunt by building anticipation, dropping the bomb that there would be no announcement which got EVERYONE looking at them and THEN announcing Halo: ODST. This Lehto drama is the same thing in practice, just on a smaller scale.

Despite the above reasoning, the great thing about Bungie is their ability to engage with the Halo community by fostering, promoting and their willingness to share the limelight with that community. This of course has lead to a real spirit of love, and peace-loving-mung-beans baby, on a plain so high that when the High Priest of Lehto speaks, all who read his good words drink deeply from the Halo cup with a fervent and loyal obedience.

Or something like that.

Perhaps Steve Jobs should meet with Lehto to share their respective companies quest for world domination’s strategies. A joint venture partnership/dictatorship would be pretty easy to achieve? At least then we might get a Halo game application for the iphone…..oh wait, that’s Microsoft’s job now…

Update: image is now Marcus, cheers Seenoht for the heads up!

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Switching Gears and Squashing Bugs!

Marcus Lehto made a sweet post on Noble Actual letting us hardcore fans know whereabouts Bungie is in the development of the Reach game itself:

“This week ends the last week of polish for content in the game. At midnight tonight, the artists are shifting into hard core bug fixing mode from here on out until we hit ZBR (zero bug release). While content artists are bug fixing and engineering is optimizing for performance, the designers will be hard at work finalizing all the encounters throughout the campaign.

There are many tired eyes due to very late nights for everyone here. It’s often hard for developers to switch gears from cramming as much time as they can into polishing content for the game to closing the game out. It’s my job, as well as all the other leads here, to pull these people back to see the amazing game we have created together and make sure they fix all the bugs that really matter for the game to be as high a quality product as possible.

-Marcus”

Go on lads, squash those bugs till they are dead and then squish them some more. We wouldn’t want any in game exploits, would we? Would we?

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ZBR Hit and Smashed

So, the Reach Development Team have reached Zero Bug Release:

Another long stretch without any updates. Since E3, we have been crushing bugs and working 24/7. It’s been brutal, but we did get to ZBR last night at midnight. Now we’re closing in on fixing only the crazy weird bugs that we feel just break the game or make us vomit. 🙂

This is also a time in the project when most of the team is locked out of the database and “have” to play the game all day. What poor souls.

Me, well I get to sit in a cold dark room triaging bugs for most of the day, then fixing some of them into the night.

We’re almost done and it’s playing so damn good!! I can’t wait for you all to join Noble Team on Reach

in just a few months.

-Marcus

So the realization of Reach is nearly at hand, soon we shall have the most epic xbox game of ALL TIME in our hands, soon my precious, soon…

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