Jason Jones on the CE Pistol
Jason Jones on the CE Pistol
IGN is publishing a lengthy interview with Jason jones. This is part 1. Bit of a cliffhanger at the end.
This leads me to one of the most pressing questions on my list. Doesn’t this prove the legend of the Halo 1 pistol, which suggests that Jones personally – and secretly – upped its damage at the tail end of development in order be better at his own game?
“See, that’s almost mythology now,” Jones says with a wry grin. “You can’t set mythology straight.”
Double-checking that both my voice recorder and my backup voice recorder are working as I don’t want to miss what he’s about to say, I encourage him to share the real story.
“So,” he begins. “There was a moment towards the end of Halo 1 where we were very close to locking down. The balance on the pistol was such that both in the competitive game, but also in the solo game, it wasn’t where we wanted it to be. It was too late to change the… Well, we didn’t feel comfortable actually changing the data anymore. The game was so locked down that when you changed a piece of data, gigabytes of crap had to be reprocessed.
“What we did feel comfortable doing was changing the code, and so… I added code specifically, when the map was loaded, to change a single number on the pistol. Whether that was ‘ninja style’ or not,” he says with a laugh, “I’ll be happy to let you decide.”
The balance on the [Halo 1] pistol...wasn’t where we wanted it to be.
Does that mean he’ll take the credit/blame for the most controversial weapon in Halo history?
“I will take the credit and blame for the pistol in Halo,” he says with a smile. “I’ll take the blame for everything in Halo. That answer, I mean… If it’s important to go micro on something, I’ll do that. I feel like design really is about the details. That’s a huge conversation we can have…”
I half-jokingly tell him that, E3 appointments be damned, I have all day if he wants to tell me more about his design philosophies.
Obviously, the process of making video games has changed drastically since he started Bungie with Alex Seropian back in Chicago in the early 1990s, when the studio consisted of just a few people. I ask Jones If he and the same team sat down to make the original Halo today would it be the same game?
“I’m not sure how much different it would have been,” he starts. “I think it would have been better. We would have done things a little bit different. Certainly knowing what I do now from the experience, I would change a few things. I’d change the pistol.”
Funny how the pistol comes back up again – and this time it’s Jones who brings it up. Would he have toned down its potency?
“I was avoiding any kind of that…” he stumbles. “What I meant is, rather than do that change at the last minute, I would have made that change a lot earlier.”
So he stands by the three-shot death pistol?
“I did say it was my fault,” he says. “Blame or credit? Usually it’s blame. Credit is somebody else.”