It was announced today that Bungie studios(creators of the Halo franchise) and Activision(Guitar Hero, Call of Duty) have formed a partnership to develop and deliver Bungie’s next creative IP over possibly multiple platforms over the course of the next ten years.
As the open beta for Halo: Reach nears on May 3rd, the news of the partnership caught many people off guard and some even began worrying about the fate of the beloved studio. It would seem the last nine months Bungie has been in talks with various publishers in order to secure a partnership in publishing and marketing their next creative IP. In the terms of the partnership with Activision, Bungie would maintain all creative rights to their IP and in fact maintain complete creative control, and Activision would publish the game(s) and help market them.
Bungie had nothing but praise to give for Activision saying this in the press release, “We chose to partner with Activision on our next IP because of their global reach, multi-platform experience and marketing expertise,” said Harold Ryan, President of Bungie. “From working together over the past nine months on this agreement, it is clear that Activision supports our commitment to giving our fans the best possible gaming experiences.” This news has additional wave creating potential due to the recent events between Activision and Modern Warfare 2 creators Infinity Ward. Several Months ago, Activision fired two executives from Infinity Ward, and to date nearly a third of the total studio employees have now left the studio with several joining West and Zampella’s Respawn Entertainment the recently announced EA partner. Just this week, several former and current IW employees also filed a class action suit against Activision making bold claims that they were essentially “held hostage” to work on the next Modern Warfare game in order to receive their bonuses for MW2’s stellar success.
In regards to their decision to partner with Bungie, Activision had nothing but glowing praise for the long acclaimed studio “Bungie is one of the premier studios in our industry and we are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to work with their talented team over the next decade,” stated Thomas Tippl, Chief Operating Officer of Activision Blizzard. “Bungie has developed some of the most compelling and successful games, multiplayer experiences and thriving fan communities, and this alliance underscores our long-standing commitment to foster the industry’s best creative talent. Our unprecedented partnership with Bungie will enable us to broaden our pipeline of exciting new games as we continue to strengthen our industry position and pursue long-term growth opportunities.
This could prove to be a very lucrative move for both companies as this new IP is developed. Bungie has long been associated with Xbox exclusive as Microsoft purchased the company and the Halo IP as the flagship release with the original Xbox, and shortly after the release of Halo 3, Bungie was able to become independent again while still developing the Halo games for Microsoft. Halo: Reach has been long stated to be the studio’s last forray into the world that spawned Master Chief and from the interviews and commentary from a few members of the studio, Bungie seems very eager to begin their next project. It goes without saying that they will continue to support their latest game and the community surrounding it, but it will be very interesting to see what else this creative studio comes up with. The open beta for Halo: Reach begins on May 3 and has a tentative closing date of May 19. In order to access the beta you will need to have a copy of the Halo 3: ODST game disc, and you can access the game via the extras option from the menu. Be sure to stay tuned to Trial and Error as I begin covering my experiences in the Beta and post screen shots and video.