Enter Marathon. It started out as a sequel to Pathways, but soon mutated into something much bigger and bolder. Revolving around an epic-sci-fi storyline, it cast the player as a sole security guard on the interstellar colony ship The Marathon fighting off a boarding party of mysterious aliens. Released in late 1994, the game earned a number of awards the following year thanks to its state-of-the-art 3D graphics and unparalleled network play, including voice support for the Mac microphone.
Bungie were now the biggest fish in an admittedly small Mac game development pond, and a year later were putting out a highly anticipated sequel that signalled their first multi-platform game, ported as it was to Windows. In 1996 they also published their first non-in-house game - Crack Dot Com developed Abuse - and the final title in the Marathon series - Marathon: Infinity - which also included user editing tools.
Bungie were experts at their craft - online shooting games with deep stories - and grew a rabidly loyal fan base, which was why their next game, Myth, a fantasy RTS, was such a surprise. But they were on a roll. More awards headed their way as the title went on to shift 350,000 units and spawn a sequel, the terrifyingly named Myth II: Soul Blighter, also absolutely brilliant. By the time 1997 rolled around, Bungie had set up a new studio on the West Coast working on their first console title, Oni. The Chicago studios released a triple Marathon bundle and then a new project began to form in the hastily expanding studio. And that project was... Blam!
Above: The Marathon trilogy of the mid 90s. Master Chief's origin? Or his next adventure?