Bungie, the developers of the hugely successful Halo series, has surprised the video gaming world by closing a ten-year deal with Activision for the development of a new franchise intended to find "the largest possible audience on the platforms and devices of their choosing."
This latest revelation gives hope to owners of the PlayStation 3 or even Nintendo Wii, as the fantastically popular Halo games (25 million copies sold) were limited on console to Xbox and Xbox 360, pivotal as they were to driving sales of the machines.
Even after Bungie regained their independence from Microsoft in 2007, there was little indication that such a long-term deal was on the cards, as a carefully orchestrated marketing campaign surrounding Halo: Reach's late 2010 launch and its open beta trial in May gathered momentum.
However, it was only a week ago that one of Bungie's lead designers Lars Bakken told Joystiq that, despite Halo: Reach being the last in the series, "maybe ten years down the line we decide to make another Halo game," which now seems like a hint at the length of the new deal.
Previously in March, community manager Brian Jarred had revealed to Industry Gamers that they were "not looking at one particular [games console] right now" with regards to future projects.
Shortly after the deal was announced on April 29, Jarred reassured the studio's fanbase concerned by the well-publicized dispute between Activision and their wholly-owned Modern Warfare studio Infinity Ward, telling VG247 that they "remain an independent company," with "creative control" over the vision of their next series.
He also told Eurogamer that "it's our desire to share our stories and our universe with the largest possible audience," though would not confirm whether they were to produce a Massively Multiplayer Online game like Activision's other huge success story, World of Warcraft.
Links to post-deal interviews: VG247's Pat Garratt with Community Manager Brian Jarred (includes audio); Eurogamer's Tom Bramwell with Brian Jarred.