|Jason dropped by Alex's apartment fairly regulary to help shrinkwrap copies of Minotaur and swipe some of Alexander's food. On one of these visit, Jason brought up a new project, a 3D, first-person-perspective, blast-fest with a handfull of roleplaying elements tossed in. Jason called it Pathways Into Darkness. Alex, knew a good thing when he saw it, and the two became partners to publish the title. Jason began to work on pathways in earnest with the help of his friend Colin Brent, who did the artwork. Jason coded by day on the Mac IIfx in his apartment; Colin would visit in the evenings to work on the game's graphics.
Jason wanted to create a compelling backstory for Pathways rather than simply dumping players in a dungeon and instructing them to blast their way out. Numerous scenarios were written adn discarded until Jason came up with an alien race known as the Jjaro, and their ultimatum to humanity: neutralize a Lovcraftian "alien god" buried in a pyramid or suffer a hideous fate at its hands.
Pathways pushed the technological envelope farther than any previous Macintosh game, offering real-time, threee-dimensional texture mapping. "Its the closest you can get to virtual reality without a healmet" ran the advertising slogan, which is actually ture if you ignore the fact that most "virtual reality" experiences do not include encounters with lurching, pumpkin-colored obscenities sporting tounges the size of a small dog. Alex and jason harbored modest hopes for Pathways; they thought it might sell enough copies to allow them the luxury of eating real food again. Pathways Into Darkness shipped in Augest 1993 and met with immediate critical and popular acclaim, winning a trunkload of awards and establishing Bungie as a major entity in the Macintosh games market.
The commercial of Pathways allowed Alex and Jason to move out of their Hyde park apartments to a real office in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. (Alex tried to retain that "homegrown" atmosphere by picking an office without heat. "The Crack House" behind the building provided Bungie with the name of their office fileserver.) More importantly, Bungie could now afford to hire additional programmers and artists for their next project - whatever that might be. Ryan Martell, halfway through a yearlong break from Duke University, signed on as a programmer at the end of 1993 and began work with Jason on a new game, code-named Marathon. Marathon was origonally intended as a sequal to Pathways that addressed customer complaints about speed (not enough) and challenge (far too much). Jason divided his time between Marathon and another 3D project dubbed Mosaic. (All that is knwon about Mosaic is that it had nothing to do with the web browser of the same name and that Jason is extremely reluctant ot discuss it.)
Marathon started out as a series of coding experiments; Jason modified the Pathways engine to make it faster and more structurally elegant, but concentrated the most on enhancing monster intelligence. Bungie demoed this first alpha version, aptly titled Marathon Zero, at the San Francisco Macworld Expo in January 1994. But as Jason recounts, the game barely made a ripple at the show; many people dismissed the game as Pathways with minor cosmetic enhancements.
Determined to salvage the Marathon project, Bungie returned from the Macworld show, barricaded themselves in their Pilsen office and went to work. Jason abandoned the Mosiac project and devoted his full attention to Marathon. He and Ryan rewrote the game's rendering engine from the ground up. Ryan also began work on Vulcan, a Marathon map editor which is best described as all the madness and misery in twenty lunatic asylums, distilled into a single Macintosh application.
In February, Greg Kirkpatrick joined the Bungie team. Several months earlier Jason had declared that if Marathon was going to have a story, Greg would have to write it. Greg, who had recently suffered a direct blow to the head from a washing machine, readily agreed. Doug Zartman joined Bungie as their first paid employee in May. He started out doing tech support for Pathways but found his role expanding into pubic relations in the same way that petty larceny eventually