Bungie is working on a prototype IP that was kept afloat during the development of Halo 3, and its employees knew of the deal to divest from Microsoft well ahead of time, studio manager Harold Ryan recently admitted.
In an interview with the Britain-based industry magazine Develop, Ryan said Bungie aborted non-Halo game concepts during the development of the original and its sequel, but stayed with a new concept through the completion of Halo 3.
"With Halo 3, that was the first time we know that we couldn't let that happen," he said. "It's not an acceptable way out to add 20 people to the project by killing that prototype. We kept that prototype running throughout the development of Halo 3 and now we have a creative team which feels like they own that."
In an implicit dig at the studio's relationship with Microsoft, Ryan said employees' foreknowledge of the then-upcoming separation with the giant helped motivate their efforts.
"Everyone knew about the deal during Halo 3's development, and I think it really made an impact on how invested people were in working for themselves," said Ryan. "First and foremost, the first thing Bungie gets out of the deal is that level of investment from the employees."
In a separate interview, another Bungie employee, Frank O'Conner, declined to say what the studio might be working on next, though he dropped names sure to tantalize and torture the imaginations of veteran gamers.
"Will we go back and do Myth, will we go back to Marathon? The honest answer is we don't know yet, but we're prototyping. We have some choices, and we have some cool ideas."