As with the Marathon games before it and the Halo games after it, Bungie created Myth to excel both as a single-player game and as a multi-player experience. What is most notable about this is that Bungie manages to do both so well. Many games are criticized for emphasizing one over the other. Quake and Quake II , for instance, were both praised for their solid network play while being lambasted for their lackluster single-player games. Many other games seem to add multi-player support as an afterthought, hoping to get another bullet point on the back of the box. Centipede 3D is a good example of this, where multi-player was added late in the project as a marketing consideration, and almost no design time was spent making it any fun.
Bungie s well-publicized strategy for making a game that excels in both the singleandmulti-player arenas is worth noting. After they have established the core engine technology for their game, getting the networking functional is the next step. Once it works, the entire team starts playing network games, and keeps playing them until they are fun. At this point no work has begun on the single-player game, and the team is entirely focused on enhancing the network play experience. Only after the networking game s core design is completed does the team start work on the single-player game. However, this is not to say that the single-player game is rushed. Instead, this technique forces the team to have rock-solid preproduction completed before time is spent on the single-player game. This means that the entire team knows what works and makes the game fun before any solo levels are even created, resulting in less rework on those levels and leading to more entertaining levels in the final product.
It is because the team has spent so much time playing the multi-player game that the net games have the depth to hold up over time. If the team were creating a shallow experience, they would quickly grow tired of it. Myth s multi-player allows for many different game types with a variety of goals, all of which require different playing styles. The interesting pre-game unit trading system allows players to think up their own killer team, much like players of Magic: The Gathering spend time developing the perfect deck of cards. Team play, where multiple players control one set of allied units and go up against another team, opens up many possibilities for strategies too complex for a single person to pull off. It is because of the time Bungie s development team spent playing the multi-player game that it has such impressive staying power.