Four long years ago, world-reknowned creators of Halo and the yet-unannounced space-epic Destiny announced an interesting project: Bungie Aerospace. Aerospace was a brilliant initiative from the minds at Bungie to partner with small developers and provide them with the initiative, funds, and community to cultivate and launch amazing games. Per Audacia ad Astra – Through Boldness To The Stars – was the motto. A powerful term first coined by the philosophical minds of olden days to commemorate the fact that we would one day certainly venture to the skies and explore the final frontier.
The project was announced during Bungie’s 20th anniversary year on June 30th, 2011 with the Aerospace team taking Bellevue, WA based studio Harebrained Schemes under their wing to work on their mobile game Crimson: Steam Pirates. Things looked great, and the updates kept coming for the summer to follow. The team at Harebrained Schemes worked wonderfully with Bungie Aerospace, and the game eventually came to release in September of 2011 for iOS and even went on to drop a few content packs leading up to the third and final release in November of 2011. Aerospace’s Twitter commemorated the occasion with a tweet – their last.
November 18th, 2011 would be the last we would hear of Bungie Aerospace. An initiative created to help developers get their feet off the ground appears to have missed the plural on the word “developers.” While never officially confirmed by Bungie to be gone for good, the Aerospace information page is archived on Bungie’s halo.bungie.net – the piece of Bungie’s website that was locked away for good after Halo left the nest – as is Crimson: Steam Pirate’s hub page. The final update for Crimson was released on December 18th, 2011 for iOS, and that was the last we saw of Bungie Aerospace.
We reached out to the Harebrained Schemes on Twitter, who offered us a bit of vague insight:
@austing909 Bungie was a little busy with another little project that they released recently. ;)
— Harebrained Schemes (@WeBeHarebrained) February 11, 2015
We spoke with Bernard Yee, the former Bungie Aerospace Portfolio Manager turned Product Manager at Oculus VR, who told us that after the release of Crimson he was moved to web.mobile efforts for Destiny when the project went “all hands on deck.” This seems to imply that Aerospace was taken offline for good with the remaining dedicated team members being distributed around the studio. Not an unlikely story at all when it comes to building a game as humongous and diverse as Destiny – which had to be have pieces built for iOS, Android, Web, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4.
Will we ever see Bungie Aerospace again? Unlikely. It appears the project, however great an idea it may have been, has been shelved indefinitely. While Bungie’s old, archived website still allows developers to email email@example.com and submit their game ideas to the Aerospace team, it’s sad to say those letters are probably not going anywhere. It’s commonly said that only the good die young – maybe this adage applies to great ideas, too. There was certainly much more that Bungie could have done with Aerospace.
We’ve also reached out to Pete Parsons, Chief Operating Officer at Bungie, as well as Bungie’s various media channels for an official comment on the situation, and will update if and when we hear back.