From Marathon to Halo: Tracing Bungie’s Fantasy Trilogy Legacy

Halo Infinite

The original Xbox and Halo: Combat Evolved will celebrate their 23rd birthday in the fall of 2024. The sci-fi shooter changed the way the genre was viewed on consoles, but that’s a topic for another article. Now we will talk about a fantasy trilogy, echoes of which can be found in subsequent games from Bungie – both Halo and Destiny.


What is the studio’s most popular game? Of course, this is the shooter Destiny 2. This is a giant of the gaming industry, in which a huge number of players play, updates are constantly coming out and something new appears. The popularity of the game has also spread to in-game services, such as boosting. That is why destiny 2 carry service has become incredibly popular among fans of the game, which helps players spend less time developing their character and have more fun. Let’s find out the story of the team behind Destiny 2 and their popular product.



Bungie: The Beginning

In May 1991, University of Chicago student Alex Seropyan registered the company Bungie and released a free clone of Pong with the simple name Gnop. And he managed to create the studio’s first commercial product – the tank shooter Operation Desert Storm. The game sold 2,500 copies, but it was impossible to move forward alone. Then Seropyan recruited a fellow student, Jason Jones, and released the role-playing game he created, Minotaur: The Labyrinths of Crete. It sold the same circulation – 2.5 thousand copies. In the 80s, the Apple II computer was a very convenient tool for beginning programmers, and Seropian and Jones had experience working with Mac OS. Therefore, their games were created primarily for the Macintosh. On the one hand, this did not prevent local success, on the other hand, the audience for the studio’s early hits cannot be called large. And yet, the first sales and positive reviews were enough to develop our engine for 3D games and release Pathways into Darkness in 1993. It was in this game that the elements that became the hallmark of Bungie’s game design were formed – a first-person shooter with an emphasis on storytelling and exploration, as well as a deep backstory presented through terminals. Partial health regeneration in the shelter also appeared here.


Marathon: the new face of shooters

Marathon was released in 1994 and soon its story will be continued. While DOOM and Wolfenstein 3D reigned on the PC, and players were tearing apart demons on Mars or Nazis in the labyrinths of an old castle, a shooter appeared on the Macintosh that offered a story much more complex than many games. In addition to its emphasis on storytelling, Marathon also offered a variety of gameplay situations, alien mysteries, and an atmosphere of cosmic horror. And mouse control – with the ability to view the location not only horizontally, but also vertically. id Software games in 1994 could not yet boast of this. There was no aim assist either, something that is now standard in console shooters, Bungie created for keyboard and mouse long before Xbox and Halo. Some of the seven types of guns had an alternative type of attack – for example, the grenade launcher in the assault rifle was still new then. And Marathon introduced weapon reloading. The DOOM series still doesn’t have this mechanic. The Marathon of the title is a generation ship built right inside Deimos, a moon of Mars. The UESC (Unified Earth Space Council, the United Space Council that controls Earth and Mars) built this monster to colonize the fourth planet of the Tau Ceti system. To control engines, factories, and automated life support systems, three artificial intelligences were installed on the starship. Leela, the main one, coordinates the work of all Marathon systems. Durandal manages doors, gateways, and similar communications. The third AI is Tycho, responsible for the utility network and laboratories. As you progress, these AIs will communicate with the player, help, manipulate, and go crazy – and in the end, they will turn out to be almost a greater danger than the aliens.



Destiny 2 is a heritage of Marathon. Marathon – a moon crammed with high technology and flying in interstellar space, is reminiscent of both the Wanderer in Destiny and the astro-engineering structures created by the Forerunners in Halo – Halos and Arks.


Mad AIs – Leela, Durandal, and Tycho are prototypes of Cortana. In Halo 5, she will also go berserk and get involved with ancient technologies that are dangerous to all living things. And in the world of Destiny, there are military AIs – Warmind, one of which – “Rasputin” – also managed to mess things up.


Pfhor – an alien alliance of invaders and slave traders is not limited to representatives of the For race. In essence, this is the same Covenant from Halo – with a military force, slaves, and scientists collected from various parts of the universe. For example, S’pht transformed into Unggoy and Kig-Yar in Halo, and in Destiny 2 – into Cabal. Among the fighters, there are Hunters – monsters clad in spiked armor with a plasma cannon that shoots green blobs. Just like the Hunters in Halo.


UESC is an obvious predecessor to the UNSC (United Nations Space Command) from Halo. And, like the UNSC, the world government managed to fight with the earth’s colonies. Long before the events of Marathon, there was a conflict with the Martian Interplanetary Defense Alliance – MIDA (Martian Interplanetary Defense Alliance) – which opposed construction on Deimos.


MIDA Multi-tool – a widely known and beloved semi-automatic rifle among Destiny 2 players, got its name in honor of that same Martian Alliance. It was the most common rebel weapon in the war against the UESC.


Connoisseurs who have thoroughly studied all the Marathon terminals and live on fan forums around the clock will probably name dozens more small details that were recreated in one way or another in Halo and Destiny. But our goal is to indicate continuity and draw attention to excellent classic games, without which two cult shooters might not have existed.


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