It's Official: Bungie Goes Solo

It's Official: Bungie Goes Solo

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Microsoft has confirmed that Bungie Studios, developers of the acclaimed Halo FPS series, has taken steps to break away from the software giant and will operate as an independent company.

The company said it will retain an equity interest in Bungie and will maintain its publishing agreement for the Halo series, as well as other future Bungie projects. With the conclusion of the Halo trilogy, the Bungie team has expressed a desire to move on to new and original IPs; Microsoft, which owns the Halo IP, is expected to continue the franchise through other development teams.

"Our collaboration with Bungie has resulted in Halo becoming an enduring mainstream hit," said Microsoft Game Studios Vice President Shane Kim. "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."

Harold Ryan, Bungie studio head, added, "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. 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 was founded in 1991 and acquired by Microsoft in 2000. Although best known for the Halo franchise, the studio is also responsible for the Myth RTS series, Oni and the critically-acclaimed Marathon Trilogy for the Macintosh. Launched on September 25, Halo 3 earned over $300 million in its first week of release in the U.S. alone, smashing several sales records along the way. Retailers have also reported a significant jump in Xbox 360 sales since the game hit the shelves, more than doubling the weekly average prior to the game's debut.

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I can't decide if I want them to do Marathon or Myth first, or something new.

Whatever happens, do the team(s) still have what it takes after so many years of Halo?

Edit: bollocks, Wikipedia says they don't own the rights to Myth any more.

Basically, the more things change the more they stay the same. Bungie will retain rights to new IP but Microsoft will still publish their games, and they will continue to develop for the 360.

Bungie gets to keep more of the profit it generates from new projects and gets to choose those projects, and Microsoft still gets some revenue to help move their gaming division toward the black. Sounds like a thank you to Bungie for the massive success of the Halo franchise. :)

In other news: Sony announces its new "Halo beater" fps series for the PS3, cunningly named Octagon wich puts you inside the cybernetic special suit of PFC Hank-1234. The game will be developed by Bungie software exclusively for the PS3 but since this is a completely new programming environment for Bungie, it will likely take them 3 years to master the tools followed by another 3 years to get the game out and by then the Cell chips inside every PS3 have reached self-awareness and they have destroyed most of the human race.

In the meantime Microsoft announces a new line of Halo games ranging from Halo Party to Halo Kart, there will be multiple parts of these games wich will all break the sales records and get insanely great review scores although none of them really offer anything new or improved apart from some new sort of super organic HDR lighting wich will cause the games to be rendered at 5 times lower the standard HD resolution of 720p ( no one notices untill a drunk MS worker at a christmas party 3 years later accidentally spills the beans and thus the internet is in uproar for 30 minutes, then Paris Hilton goes back to jail and everyone forgets this incident ).

But seriously now... interesting news and im curious to see what Bungies next move will be now that they probably have more money then god and the freedom to do pretty much whatever they want.

As much as I hate Halo, hopefully this will remove some of the iron clutches from it, and let Vista people finally play against everyone...

So just after our scathing review of Halo 3 on Zero Punctuation, Microsoft immediately moved to sell off its holdings in Bungie.

Coincidence? Or just another indicator of the nefarious power of The Escapist over the game industry?

You be the judge.

Just don't let it go to your head.

Archon:
So just after our scathing review of Halo 3 on Zero Punctuation, Microsoft immediately moved to sell off its holdings in Bungie.

Coincidence? Or just another indicator of the nefarious power of The Escapist over the game industry?

You be the judge.

You have too much powah.

Katana314:
As much as I hate Halo, hopefully this will remove some of the iron clutches from it, and let Vista people finally play against everyone...

That's got nothing to do with iron clutches. It has to do with the fact that Halo 2 is an original Xbox game running under emulation. They'd have do an update for it to include that feature, and likely have decided it isn't worth it. Shadowrun was designed with it in mind, that's why it has that ability.

PC ports of Halo and Halo 2 never did as well as the console originals, either, so only a small portion of gamers would benefit. Plus.. now that Halo 3 is out, exactly who are H2V players going to play against, anyway?

Harold Ryan, Bungie studio head, added, "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.

I'm going to go out on a limb here.
No, he didn't say that, because no one talks like that unless they're being extremely sarcastic or are being ghostwritten by a PR flunkie.

But yeah, it's clear that Bungie didn't just want to be making Halo sequels forever, no matter how popular they are. There have been two splinter development companies (Wideload, with co-founder Alex Seropian, in the original Bungie home city of Chicago; and Certain Affinity, set up in Austin with the content lead from Halo 2) and likely this was necessary to keep some semblance of a team together.

It's worth pointing out that even as an acquired studio, Bungie had an uncommon sense of company identity as well as history. There's no way they'd have been able to go back to being independent if they hadn't done all that work to preserve their image.

 

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