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Halo veterans form new studio to tackle 'new gaming technology'

Halo composer Marty O'Donnell and veteran Bungie designer Jaime Griesemer are teaming up to launch a new games studio.

Both O'Donnell and Griesemer were key personnel on the Halo series throughout the last decade. O'Donnell was fired from Bungie in 2014, prior to the release of Destiny. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the company, which was recently settled. Griesemer departed Bungie in 2010 and has since worked at Sucker Punch as lead designer on Infamous: Second Son.

The new company is called Highwire, which O'Donnell said will focus on "new gaming technology." He said more announcements will be made later in the year.

Also joining Highwire as technical director is former Microsoft and Airtight Games man Jared Noftle.

After working for so many years at Bungie, O'Donnell said he wants the new company to "stay small."

"There's a thing that happens when the stakes get higher and higher," he said. "Budgets go through the roof and the teams go from small, intimate teams to multiple hundreds of people. We've been there and done that. We don't have any desire to do that again."

O'Donnell is best known for Halo's iconic soundtrack and sound effects while Griesemer was instrumental in the design of Halo on Xbox, effectively bringing first-person shooters to consoles.

"Bungie was rapidly changing into a place where I no longer belonged," said Griesemer, when asked about his departure from the company. "People like me just got in the way. Big developers are shedding talented, experienced people left and right, and a lot of them are splitting off to start small studios. The tools are so advanced now, you can make a great game with a small team."

"There's some cool new stuff coming that really excites us," added O'Donnell. "There's some new gaming technology arriving that brings with it challenges that need to be solved."

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