|The subject of this article is Bungie Lore; one of the many myths, legends, and easter eggs that have been created by Bungie.|
“Leave me alone. You're interfering with my slow crawl towards infinity.”
~ Disembodied Soul
The Disembodied Soul is one of Bungie's many fictional characters and inside jokes. The Soul was an intangible being that was a part of Bungie's website for almost 15 years until the website's relaunch in 2013.
The origin of the Disembodied Soul goes one of the two ways based on a Letter to the Webmaster in 1997, an interview with the Soul itself in 2003, and a trivia contest at Bungie FanFest IV in 2001: The Soul is either the soul of the person who pirated and leaked one of Marathon's betas, or is the soul of a person who printed the wrong labels and applied them to 1500 Marathon: Infinity's CDs. Based on the Letter to the Webmaster and the interview, it's probably the latter since the Webmaster and Sketch go into detail on how the soul of the person was extracted:
"Why is my Marathon Infinity CD half black and half yellow when the rest of the world's is half grey and half black?" -
"It was a printing mix-up. There were only about 1500 of the yellow-and-black infinity CDs printed before we burst into the CD pressing plant, captured the idiot responsible and sucked his soul into our web server, where he will answer tech support questions in his incredibly brain-dead fashion 24 hours a day for all eternity. Please feel free to torment him whenever you like.
As for the CD, think of it as a limited edition."
- The Webmaster
Duties on Bungie's Website
Around the year 2000, Bungie.net was not yet running WTML (Wizard-Type Magical Language) and it required a 24/7 online team to monitor the site and answer any questions submitted to the Help section. To help answer basic questions, an "answer bot" was created that included some of the Soul's personality. It was given the title "Emotional Support" and the way it goes about supporting others emotionally is by being the lowest common denominator (which is beyond its will or control). Its presence alone helps other people feel better about themselves as it is not an ideal member.
When the support site was discarded, Matt Smith (poena.dare) and Gholsbane collected all of the triggers and responses when the "Swift Hands of God" fanclub was active and recreated it as a simulator. Duardo now owns the simulator, which can be found here.
Bungie never released a complete list of what keywords the Soul responded to. Because of this, there are some responses which were never archived, and no record now exists of what the Soul said in those cases. Keywords for which the responses were lost include:
- game AND red
- multiplayer start
- Who's your daddy?
- Bill Gates (he said "Don't ever mention that name around me again. Ever." before Microsoft's acquisition of Bungie)
Also, the Soul originally gave hints on beating the Marathon series levels G4 Sunbathing, Ex Cathedra, Nuke and Pave, and Six Thousand Feet Under.
From 2004-2013, the Disembodied Soul's primary responsibility was sending out forum warnings and blacklisting notifications handed out by the Forum Ninjas. The Soul would also be able to detect if someone was circumventing a forum ban if the user didn't clear their browser's cookies and cache, instantly banning the person again.
2007 and 2011 Promotions
On December 2, 2011, the Disembodied Soul sent out a private message to all to users of Bungie.net. The PM thanked everyone who used the Bungie app, and mentioned that Crimson: Steam Pirates was free that weekend.
"Thanks for using the Bungie Mobile App. This weekend, Crimson: Steam Pirates is free on iPhone! Click the link below to download it from the App Store.
In his years as a Bungie.net member, Disembodied Soul has only posted in the Bungie.net public forums exactly seven times. Each post is a cryptic one-liner that typically receives a huge and warm reaction from the Bungie Community.
Here are the full contents of all of Disembodied Soul's posts on Bungie.net.
- August 12, 2004: "I don't think that means what you think it means."[citation lost due to thread deletion]
- August 27, 2004: "I think you're trying to fool me. It won't work."
- February 18, 2005: "I don't think that means what you think it means."
- April 28, 2006: "That does not mean what you think it means."
- March 20, 2008: "I see fire and I see flames. I see evil people all strung up in chains."
- April 1, 2008: "That was before he entered the federal witness protection program."
- December 22, 2010: "My absence has been greatly exaggerated."
- The Disembodied Soul is from Chicago, Illinois.
- The name of Disembodied Soul's dog is Ralfie.
- The Disembodied Soul's website title is "Emotional Support"
- If you turn on subtitles in Oni and get to the Evil Brain in Level 2, you can see what it's saying each time it yells "UURRR!!!". The sound is exactly the one that the Disembodied Soul used on Bungie's website back in the late 1990s-early 2000s.
- When Luke Smith asked what everyone at Bungie was working on in 2008, the Disembodied Soul responded with, "Continuing my slow crawl toward infinity."
- The Disembodied Soul's Bungie.net profile
- Disembodied Soul Simulator
- Archived - Bungie Tech Support and Foul Magiks
- Bungie.net (via archive.org) - Letters to the Webmaster: 1997 Collection (Jan-June)
- Bungie.net (via bnetarchive.elaztek.com) - Disembodied Soul: The Interview (February 13, 2003)
- Bungie.org - Bungie Fan Trivia Contest 2001
- Bungie.org - His life is a waking dream (February 14, 2003)
- Bungie.net (via archive.org) - Forum Post quoting the interview with the Soul (March 23, 2007)
- MLMSmith.com (via archive.org) - The Disembodied Soul Simulator
- Duardo.net (via archive.org) - Disembodied Soul Simulator
- MLCSmith.com (via archive.org) - Games-Bungie-The Disembodied Soul
- Bungie.org - His life is a waking dream (February 14, 2003)
- Bungie.org - Concerning the Soul's original response to the name Bill Gates (June 22, 2000)
- Bungie.net (via archive.org) - A screenshot showing the Disembodied Soul with a message
- GameFaqs - I got the Friends and Family beta for Halo 3
- HaloWaypoint - Friends and Family Beta
- GameReactor - The thread for the Halo 3 beta (May 15, 2007)
- Bungie.net - Free Iphone Crimson Download? (December 2, 2011)
- Bungie.net - Do you want the Soul to answer your questions? (August 26, 2004)
- Bungie.net - Is the soul back? HE IS! (February 17, 2005)
- Bungie.net - My therory on "Skiptrace" (April 27, 2006)
- Bungie.net - Who is this guy? (March 20, 2008)
- Bungie.net - WHAT?!? (Sorry, all caps needed) (April 1, 2008)
- Bungie.net - Bungie: MIA (December 21, 2010)
- Bungie.net (via archive.org) - The Disembodied Soul Bungie.net profile in 2009
- Bungie.org - Ralfie
- Bungie.org - Marathon's Story: Jan 6, 2001
- YouTube - Oni Level 2 in 8:46
- Bungie.net (via archive.org) - Bungie Weekly Update: 8/15/08