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?
REDMOND, Wash. -- Oct. 5, 2007 -- Microsoft Corp. today announced a plan for Bungie Studios, the developers of the "Halo®" franchise, to embark on a path to become an independent company. Microsoft will retain an equity interest in Bungie, at the same time continuing its long-standing publishing agreement between Microsoft Game Studios and Bungie for the Microsoft-owned "Halo" intellectual property as well as other future properties developed by Bungie.
The critically acclaimed Xbox 360®-exclusive "Halo 3" achieved $300 million in global sales in its first week. Released on Tuesday, Sept. 25, "Halo 3" is the fastest-selling video game ever and already one of the most successful entertainment properties in history.
"Our collaboration with Bungie has resulted in 'Halo' becoming an enduring mainstream hit," said Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. "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. 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."
"This exciting evolution of our relationship with Microsoft will enable us to expand both creatively and organizationally in our mission to create world-class games," said Harold Ryan, studio head for Bungie. "We will continue to develop with our primary focus on Microsoft® platforms; we greatly value our mutually prosperous relationship with our publisher, Microsoft Game Studios; and we look forward to continuing that affiliation through 'Halo' and beyond."
Bungie Studios will remain in its current location in Kirkland, Wash.