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.