News: Wow, how's that for a Friday surprise?
Rumors have swirled around the Internet the last few days that Microsoft and Bungie would soon part ways. But the general consensus was that it was too unbelievable to believe.
However, the truth seems to have sided with the forum freaks as Microsoft and Bungie today announced they have begun a plan for Bungie to "embark on a path to become an independent company."
Under the deal, Microsoft will (naturally) retain the Halo license while also publishing many of Bungie's future projects. Microsoft will also continue to own a minority stake in the company. Bungie, meanwhile, will continue to focus mainly on Xbox 360 development.
"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."
We'll have more on this major announcement soon.