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Bungie Emancipated

Microsoft announces their relationship with Bungie has "evolved," giving provenance to rumors that such changes were in the works (story), so kudos to 8Bit Joystick for their scoop. Word is Bungie will regain their independence, Microsoft Game Studios will continue to hold equity in both Bungie and the Halo series, and that Bungie will get to work on new projects, though it sounds like they will continue to contribute to the Halo series and will continue to emphasize Microsoft's platforms:

REDMOND, Wash. — 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 on Tuesday, Sept. 25, “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 organizationally 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.

Bungie.net's Inside Bungie News has more from Bungie on all this.

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