The Halo series had an oversized effect on online console multiplayer. So much so that Bungie even had to pitch the Xbox Live team on the very concept of online parties for Halo 2's multiplayer before it became an industry standard.
Max Hoberman, president of Certain Affinity, previously worked at Bungie as the multiplayer and online lead. For Halo 2, Bungie envisioned online parties where players could join friends for online sessions even between games. It was a novel concept and Hoberman had to create an easy to follow FAQ explaining the whole concept.
Explaining the idea of Parties to the Xbox Live team for Halo 2 was incredibly challenging. @drcandland helped by creating an interactive prototype, and I followed that up with a FAQ. Here's the start of that... pic.twitter.com/SRd6XOBHud— Max Hoberman (@MaxHoberman) February 19, 2019
David Candland, Hoberman's colleague at Bungie, even created an interactive prototype to help visualize what an online party could look like. You can see in the video four fictional players using voice chat online, sharing files, and planning their night of gaming. While online gaming has certainly come a long way since then, it's funny to see that fictional conversations between gamers hasn't.
While we take things like online parties for granted in 2019, this was uncharted territory for console gaming. Though it's cool to see physical prototypes for consoles and devices, software and systems are also prototyped; and it's neat to see something as crucial as online multiplayer in its early stages.
Hoberman and Candland are no longer at Bungie, and neither is the Halo franchise. 343 Industries is currently developing Halo Infinite and you can read our interview with 343 boss Bonnie Ross here. And while online gaming has outpaced the Halo franchise, its legacy will still pop up whenever players party up on their Xboxes.