Microsoft has explained its decision to cancel the announcement of a new game from Bungie at E3 this year, saying the company had an "embarrassment of riches" at the show and didn't want its big news watered down as a result.
A countdown on the Bungie website was set to end during the afternoon of July 16, at which point the developer would unveil "something exciting" at the show, presumed to be a new entry in the Halo franchise. But on the evening of July 15, the studio announced on its website that Microsoft had pulled the plug on the unveiling. While Bungie broke away from Microsoft last year to become an independent developer, Microsoft retains control of Bungie's flagship game series.
"For the last several months, we've been building toward a reveal of something exciting that Bungie is working on. We were looking forward to sharing that with our fan community during the week of E3," Bungie President Harold Ryan said in the wake of the cancellation. "However, those plans were just changed by our publisher."
"We realize that many of our fans are disappointed by this turn of events; members of the Bungie team share that disappointment," he continued. "When the right time comes, we look forward to sharing this exciting announcement with you. Until then, we appreciate your continued support and patience."
That "right time" will come at a future "dedicated event," according to a report on GameDaily, which said the decision was made by Microsoft in order to cut its press conference time from 150 minutes down to 120. "We had an embarrassment of riches," explained Microsoft Senior Vice President Don Mattrick. "We felt we could do this game more justice with a dedicated event." Despite the missing announcement, which Mattrick later confirmed with MTV Multiplayer is in fact a new Halo title, as well as the absence of promised exclusive Grand Theft Auto IV episodic content, Mattrick remained optimistic about Microsoft's showing at E3, saying, "Two big kahunas were left out of the show, and we were still able to deliver a strong performance."