Bungie’s Destiny (possibly) not on PC Due to Very Stupid Thinking

Let’s start with the money shot before tearing it to pieces.  As reported by Destructiod, and then picked up by everyone else, Bungie’s Jason Jones said–

“We did a bunch of ambitious things on Halo deliberately to reach out to people,” Jason Jones told us. “We limited players to two weapons, we gave them recharging health, we automatically saved and restored the game — almost heretical things to first-person shooters at the time. We made the game run without a mouse and keyboard. And now nobody plays shooters the way they used to play them before Halo ’cause nobody wants to.”

So that was a dumb thing to say.  Note that it doesn’t actually say there will be no PC version, just that lobotomizing the FPS was good for business.  You can’t argue the sales numbers, of course, and there’s no question that reaching out to more people is good for the industry, but that doesn’t change the fact that PC is far better for FPS than console can ever hope to be.  The concessions made to trim FPS controls down to something that fits comfortably on a controller lessen the genre significantly.

“We limited players to two weapons…”  Standard keyboard controls use 1-9 or the mouse wheel to allow weapon changing, allowing a much greater variety of options for the player.  There may be a comfortable way to manage a large number of weapons without breaking up the action with a menu screen when using a controller, but I’ve yet to see it.  Hitting a button to switch back and forth between two weapons makes sense, so long as you don’t mind the imposition of artificial limits.

“…we gave them recharging health…”  Because learning to play smart is hard.  Recharging health is a crutch for bad playing that’s really hard not to abuse, even if you don’t want to.  When playing a game properly you take advantage of all its systems, and if that system means you can stand there like an idiot and soak up bullets, might as well use it.  Losing that feeling of a fair battle well fought is a reasonable trade, right?

“…we automatically saved and restored the game…”  I don’t actually have a problem with this, so long as the checkpoints are well done and it doesn’t take away my ability to save anywhere.

“We made the game run without a mouse and keyboard.”  You made due with what you had available even if it was like driving a nail with a wrench.  Mouse and keyboard is faster and more precise in a first person environment than a controller can ever hope to be.  Yes, more people have consoles, and making a game run well with the controller is unquestionably a good idea, but it’s never going to be as good a control system for this genre as the mouse/keyboard combo.

“And now nobody plays shooters the way they used to play them before Halo ’cause nobody wants to.”  Half-Life says hi, as does Counter-Strike, Borderlands, Far Cry 3, a ton of free-to-play games, Arma II and its Day Z add-on that was so popular it’s becoming its own game, etc.  People do want to play things that transcend the artificial limits Bungie imposes on its games.  That doesn’t make Halo bad, of course, but saying “nobody wants to” is (and I swear I’m not trying to be insulting) mind-bogglingly stupid.  If you have to ignore the giant pile of evidence to the contrary in order make an argument work, it’s a stupid argument.