Halo developer Bungie has been forced to issue an apology to fans after a botched E3 announcement.
The studio had been running a countdown timer on its website, designed to build hype for a new Bungie game to be announced on Tuesday - conveniently after the Nintendo and Sony press conferences at E3 in Los Angeles.
However yesterday the timer was pulled before the announcement, and was replaced with this message from studio head Harold Ryan:
"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. However, those plans were just changed by our publisher.
"We realise that many of our fans are disappointed by this turn of events; members of the Bungie team share that disappointment."
By 'publisher' it's assumed that he means Microsoft - as the studio is still exclusive to the format-holder.
Indeed, in an interview with MTV News, Xbox boss Don Mattrick confirmed that a new Halo game is on the way, and that the new title is most definitely not Halo Wars, and nor is it the secret Peter Jackson Halo project.
Of course, it's not clear if the two would have been referring to the same still unannounced projects - but when speaking to Develop after it declared independence last year, Bungie said it was targetting both new IP and new Halo games for upcoming projects.
Variety, however, claims that studio and its former owner are locked in a dispute which meant that all mention of Halo and their future projects were pulled from the E3 reveal at the last minute.
Says the movie industry trade paper's games blog: "Bungie Studios has apparently had a conflict with Microsoft that let to the decision to excise any reference to new "Halo" products, even 2009's Halo Wars or the mysterious Peter Jackson project [a game set in the Halo universe announced in 2006], from Microsoft's press conference on Monday (an absence that surprised many gamers and observers). My understanding is that that call was made very recently, as in the past few days.
"Separate from Microsoft's press conference, however, Bungie was planning to take the wraps off its first original, post-"Halo" project today (Wednesday). But the dispute with Microsoft apparently put the kibosh on those plans as well. That decision was made on Tuesday evening, just a few hours before Ryan posted his note."