"Halo" Developer Creates New Studio
Posted by jgaudiosi :: Company News-M&A
Max Hoberman, lead designer for Halo 2 and Halo 3 multiplayer maps, has left Bungie and the West Coast and started up Certain Affinity, a new game studio in Austin, TX, a hotbed for game development. The first project for the new studio, through a strategic partnership with Bungie and Microsoft, is and Xbox 360 multiplayer map pack for spring 2007. In addition, the studio is working on an exclusive Xbox 360 title.
Hoberman has put togather a staff that averages 12 years in the industry and draws on a wealth of experience from such companies as Origin, Digital Anvil, and Bungie. The team includes major contributors from dozens of hit titles including games in the Ultima, Wing Commander, Myth, Asheron's Call, Freelancer, and Ghost Recon series, as well as all of the titles in the Halo series.
"We're not setting out to change the industry," says Hoberman. "We're creating games by choosing strong leaders, talented and experienced developers, and solid partners. This partnership with Bungie and Microsoft Game Studios is a piece of that puzzle and we hope it's the start of a long and fruitful relationship."
This down-to-earth approach has been a hallmark of Hoberman's success as the former Halo 2 and Halo 3 multiplayer team lead, where he initiated and oversaw the multiplayer gameplay, user interface, and online systems. Hoberman drove the invention of features like matchmaking and the party system that helped to make Halo 2 the most played game on Xbox Live for two straight years after its release in 2004, with a total of 800 million hours of Halo 2 played online to date.
After 10 years at Bungie, Hoberman is leaving in the wake of a remarkable string of achievements and maintains a strong relationship with the studio. He spent the first year and a half on Halo 3 developing a solid foundation for the multiplayer and online game, and building a team able to carry the project through to completion. "What we've accomplished with Halo 3 is extraordinary," he says. "Halo 2 turned the online world on its head, but Halo 3 is going to rip its head right off. I am proud of my contribution to the Halo series and have learned a lot from my friends at Bungie."