A week of rumours and industry chitchat have finally come to an end – Bungie and Microsoft have announced their relationship is to 'evolve' with the studio set to become and independent team.
Microsoft acquired Bungie in 2000 to help the company build its slate of first party games for the original Xbox - Halo has become a phenomenon of a franchise, the third game generating $300m revenue in past seven days.
Bungie will now become a privately-held company - called Bungie LLC.
Under the new agreement, Microsoft will retain an equity interest in Bungie and continue its Microsoft Game Studio publishing deal with the team. Bungie will be developing more Halo games plus future new properties which it will own itself.
“Working with Microsoft was great for us, it allowed us to grow as a team and make the ambitious, blockbuster games we all wanted to work on. And they will continue to be a great partner. But Bungie is like a shark. We have to keep moving to survive. We have to continually test ourselves, or we might as well be dolphins. Or manatees,” said Jason Jones, Bungie founder and partner.
“Our collaboration with Bungie has resulted in Halo becoming an enduring mainstream hit,” commenteded Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios.
He said: “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, studio head for Bungie, 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’s 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.”