Storied game developer Bungie announced early Thursday morning that it had entered into a 10-year deal with Activision.
The arrangement will give the world's largest third-party game publisher exclusive worldwide rights to publish games based on a new and original intellectual property on which Bungie is currently working. Bungie will remain an independent entity and retain ownership of its intellectual property.
The phrasing of the announcement suggests that Bungie will not be obligated to use Activision as a publisher for other original projects it may bring to market.
The game industry has been awaiting news of Bungie's strategy ever since the studio spun itself off from Microsoft in late 2007, leaving Microsoft the right to continue creating games in the Halo franchise exclusive to the Xbox 360 but freeing Bungie to work on new projects and distribute them on multiple platforms.
"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 in the press release. "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."
The announcement comes at a time when Activision is embroiled in a legal battle with current and former employees at Infinity Ward, its most successful subsidiary studio and developers of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series.
Perhaps that's why, in a post preceding the announcement, Bungie states in no uncertain terms: "Our Constitution remains unchanged. We are still Bungie, still independent, and now we are free to bring our stories to an ever bigger audience."
With this phase in Bungie's evolution settled, the only question left for gamers is this: Just what is this secret project Bungie is working on? Might we finally get a glimpse of it at this year's E3?
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