We're sure you've heard the rumors. So did we, with everything but an official confirmation. But here it is: Microsoft and Bungie Studios are parting ways.
In an official press release, Microsoft have announced that Bungie is set to "embark on a path to become an independent company." Bungie and Microsoft will still remain close (Bill Gates is leaving his toothbrush at Master Chief's house), and will continue to support the long-standing publishing agreement for the Microsoft-owned Halo intellectual property, as well as future Bungie properties.
"While we are supporting Bungie's desire to return to its independent roots, we will continue to invest in our Halo entertainment property with Bungie and other partners, such as Peter Jackson, on a new interactive series set in the Halo universe," says Microsoft's Shane Kim. "We look forward to great success with Bungie as our long-term relationship continues to evolve through Halo-related titles and new IP created by Bungie."
Microsoft are very careful to mention that they own the Halo IP, mentioning it more than once in the press release. So with Bungie moving on to other projects (presumably not Halo related, from what we hear), who would you like to see take the wheel and steer the franchise in a new direction?