Glen Cook's "The Black Company" series was a major inspiration for Myth's storyline. In just the first book of the series, many similarities are already evident.
In Myth, the Dark are lead by Balor and his Fallen Lords. It's likely that both Balor and his subordinates were once powerful members of the Light. The Fallen Lords have Shades at their command, which are former sorcerers and Avatara of the Light, killed and resurrected to serve the Dark. Thrall are reanimated human warriors. The Deceiver once used magic to turn many members of the Legion to his service.
In The Black Company, The Lady has ten subordinates, called The Ten Who Were Taken. Each Taken once opposed The Lady, but was defeated and forced to serve her.
In Myth, The Watcher and The Deceiver constantly battle each other, even though they both serve under Balor.
In The Black Company, Soulcatcher and The Limper constantly try to undermine each other, sometimes violently, even though they both serve under The Lady.
In Myth, The Head's plan is to play Dark against Dark and Dark against Light, leaving every person of power on both sides dead, except for Soulbighter who could then seize control of the land, perhaps permanently. (This is only a theory.)
In The Black Company, Soulcatcher secretly manipulates the other Taken to fight both amongst themselves and the Rebel. Her hope is to end up with every person of power on both sides dead, including The Lady. She would then be able to take complete control, with no one to contend her.
In Myth, a comet passes every thousand years (an early Myth press release said the comet came every seventy years), always preceding a major shift of power. The first time it passes (that we're told about) Connacht shatters the Myrkridia's ancient hold on the world, and the Light take power. A millennium later, the comet again appears in the sky as Balor and his Fallen Lords are sweeping the continent.
In The Black company a comet passes every thirty-seven years, always preceding a major event related to The Lady.
From Andrew Mellinger:
Myth is narrated in the first person, by a journal keeper in the Legion.
The Black Company is narrated in the first person, by the Company's annalist (record keeper)
From Andrew Mellinger:
In Myth, Soulblighter turns into a flock of crows when he needs to move quickly.
In The Black Company, Soulcatcher was also fond of crows, and used them for recon.
From Andrew Mellinger:
In Myth, one of The Nine is named Murgen.
In The Black Company, Croaker's assistant and the Company's standard bearer is named Murgen. In one of the later books Murgen replaces Croaker as the Company annalist.
Lophan points to another similarity between Myth and the Black Company:
Myth: TFL's story is loosely connected with that of Glen Cook's "The Black Company" series, yes? Well, one of the Taken (the most dangerous imho) was that freaky little guy known as "The Limper". Now, remember how The Limper was beheaded and buried for a long time until ToadKiller Dog dug him up and finally got him a new body...
I haven't read the Black Company yet (I'm ordering, calm down :P), so I don't have much to offer on this one for now, but it sounds convincing. Most things in Myth seem to be heavily influenced by either Tolkien or the Black Company..
In Myth, the southernmost pass through the Cloudspine is called the Stair of Grief.
In The Black Company, the Company makes a stand on a bluff called the Stair of Tear.
In Myth, one of Balor's Fallen Lords is named Soulblighter.
In The Black Company, one of The Lady's Taken is named Soulcatcher.
Amazingly, two seperate sources uncover a rather obscure connection between Pathways and Myth. Man from Nan writes:
I was online and met someone named "Toad Killer Dog". The only place I had seen this before was in a screenshot of Pathways into Darkness on the back of the box. The player's name was "Toad Killer Dog". Now the person who'se name that was on bungie.net hadn't even heard of POD before and he said the name came from Black Company.
Man From Nan isn't alone. The news entry for September 15, 1997 at Marathon's Story Page has an account of the exact same link between the two games. Bungie's been a Glen Cook fan for some time, apparently.
Now Bungie's updated Myth page has this to say about the Myth story:
Myth: The Fallen Lords brings you a world where the living are fighting a losing battle against the risen dead. You direct the Armies of the North as they struggle to withstand the onslaught of the Fallen Lords, a cadre of ancient and terrible sorceror-generals who are laying waste to the land with legions of vicious beasts and the tireless undead.
Of course it's not hard to see the connection between the "cadre of ancient and terrible sorceror-generals" and "The Ten Who Were Taken", all evil sorcerers who command armies. Also note how the Myth story is narrated by one of your units, very similar to the Black Company's chronicler/archivist "Croaker".
But returning to Pathways Into Darkness. Back in 1993, before the game was actually released, somebody at Bungie took a screenshot of the game while using the nickname "ToadKiller Dog", a name which also features heavily in "The White Rose", the 3rd book in Glen Cook's Black Company trilogy published in 1990. Who was the mysterious ToadKiller Dog at Bungie? Some have suggested Doug Zartman, the famous 'Frogblaster' himself. Could it really be Doug? When put on the spot back in February 1997 Doug replied:
Afraid not; I'm not exactly sure who that is, but I have my suspicions. My net moniker was usually "Sir Loin". If you recognize the Toadkiller Dog reference, you'll have some insight into our next product...
So there you have it folks...
Were the roots of the Myth Story seeded at Bungie before Pathways Into Darkness was actually released?
Have you noticed any other similarities? Let us know.