Microsoft lets Bungie walk away

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I reported on this rumour a few days ago and 18 minutes ago I received a press release from Microsoft South Africa confirming it.

Microsoft Corp. today announced a plan for Bungie Studios, the developers of the Halo franchise, to embark on a path to become an independent company.  Microsoft will retain an equity interest in Bungie at the same time continuing its long standing publishing agreement between Microsoft Game Studios and Bungie for the Microsoft owned ?Halo? intellectual property as well as other future properties developed by Bungie. 

So now the question is why? Why has Microsoft allowed Bungie to become and independent company again? Is it just a political / tax thing or has Bungie just had enough of Microsoft corporate policies?

I am sure we are going to start seeing the rumours flying around this weekend but for now I am just happy to see so many of these so called professional journalists who stated this was impossible eating their words.

I am pretty sure they will talk their way out of it though…

Full press release after the jump

MICROSOFT AND BUNGIE STUDIOS TO EVOLVE RELATIONSHIP

Companies To Forge New Long-Term Relationship.

JOHANNESBURG — Oct. 5, 2007 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a plan for Bungie Studios, the developers of the Halo franchise, to embark on a path to become an independent company.  Microsoft will retain an equity interest in Bungie at the same time continuing its long standing publishing agreement between Microsoft Game Studios and Bungie for the Microsoft owned “Halo” intellectual property as well as other future properties developed by Bungie. 

The critically acclaimed Xbox 360 exclusive “Halo 3” achieved $300 million in global sales in its first week.  Released in South Africa on Wednesday, Sept. 26, “Halo 3” is the fastest-selling video game ever and already one of the most successful entertainment properties in history.

“Our collaboration with Bungie has resulted in ‘Halo’ becoming an enduring mainstream hit,” said Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. “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.”

“This exciting evolution of our relationship with Microsoft will enable us to expand both creatively and organisationally in our mission to create world-class games,” said Harold Ryan, studio head for Bungie. “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.”

Bungie Studios will remain in its current location in Kirkland, Wash.

Last Updated: October 5, 2007

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