Bungie producer Allen Murray won't say a word about how the studio's new project is going — but he will tell you how they're getting it done.
Murray first joined the team at the tail end of Halo 2's development. He described it as a "big disaster." Everyone who's ever worked in production knows that when morale is through the floor and the ship date's been pushed into the next year, it's usually the producer's fault.
"But," says Murray. "If you have a good crunch, everybody did it. It's a team effort."
This philosophy Bungie has adopted toward production post-Halo has seven main principles:
Ensure Bungie remains creative — Having a little discipline shouldn't ruin the fun-loving atmosphere of the place.
Put quality and people first — Make sure the game you're making doesn't suck and make sure the people working on it don't start to suck.
Know that the producer is flexible and adaptable — Shit happens, people get sick, dates get moved around; Bungie can deal.
Take pride in applying a methodology to production — Schedules and accountability are not totalitarian tools of the Devil.
Know that the schedule is a means to an end, not the end itself — Knowing when and where your milestones is coming up is half the battle; finishing the game is the other half.
Empower and enable the team to take ownership of their schedule — If the art guy says it takes seven days, he should get seven days, not five.
Set dates and ship on time — Amen.