Rumor Time: Bungie To Leave Microsoft

If I had a quarter for every time somebody claimed an anonymous friend or family member as a source, I’d probably be able to buyout Bungie myself. Well, that’s the case once again as a a Seattlepi poster let slip that the company might be parting ways with Microsoft:

A friend of mine who has someone close that works at Bungie has just been dying to tell me a secret about their future. Since the NDA officially expire today the sent me and email with the details. I have full faith in this contact.

The email is as follows :

“So heres my big secret. You should google Bungie + Microsoft + separation this week.
You know that big ol BILLION dollar franchise Bungie has created for Microsoft, to show their appreciate Microsoft is letting Bungie leave. Of course Microsoft gets to keep all rights to the Halo franchise, but as today Bungie no longer part of Microsoft. Ask anyone who works there to search the global address book, they’re no longer in there. Microsoft was supposed to release the press release today but if they wait till the 10/6 the impact wont effect the quarterly results. However today is the actual official date and the day the NDAs expire, however you still didn’t hear this from me.”

“Apparently MS just wants Bungie to make Halo for the rest of their natural days, and Bungie doesn’t like how MS is constantly trying to “handle” everything they do; the way they market their games, the way they interact with their fans (basically the fact that they do appreciate their fans), and how stingie they are with the profits (comparable to the rest of the industry). So as of today they are their own independent entity. They’ll probably make Halo 4 for Microsoft, however hey are also free to create new intellectual properties for whatever system they want. (Even though they prefer the xbox platform)”

“What a way to say thank you.”

Leaving the atrocious grammar aside, it still sounds like a bunch of baseless extrapolation. We do know that Bungie wants to work on something besides HALO at this point and splitting from MS might be the best way to accomplish that without being pressured to continue the franchise, but the reasoning is incredibly suspect. Microsoft is going to let them go just to be nice? Do they trust their own in-house teams to do HALO justice once Bungie is gone? Or will they continue to develop the series despite the split as “8bitjoystick” implies?

And if it’s true, where will Bungie go after that? Sony could snap them up, but there’s always the risk involved in absorbing a company like that after they’ve lost their key franchise. There’s no guarantee that any future titles from them would get the same reaction from the gaming community at large. After all, a lot of HALO’s popularity is due directly to Microsoft’s keen management of the series’ advertising. Perhaps going multi-platform is the better choice, or even back to their roots as Apple diehards (what a kick in the gut that would be!).

I’m going to remain pretty skeptical on this one, though. The source is just too rough to put any faith in.

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~ by Cavin Smith on October 1, 2007.

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