Rumors circulating on the Internet for the past few days have proven to be true: Bungie Studios and Microsoft have parted company.
Bungie Studios — now renamed Bungie LLC — became a privately held independent company, effective Oct. 1, 2007. Microsoft retains a minority equity interest in the new business, which will continue to focus on developing games for Microsoft platforms, according to Harold Ryan, Bungie’s studio head.
Microsoft and Bungie indicated in announcing the separation that they will continue a “deep and long-term development and publishing relationship,” focused both on the long-term success of the Halo franchise and on “new IP created and owned by Bungie.
That news is bound to come as a disappointment to Mac gamers who have longed for this day. From 1991 to 2000, Bungie was an independent game development company with a very strong focus on the Mac. It developed the Marathon first person shooter game series and Myth strategy game series; Marathon was a Mac-first title, along with a third-person action game called Oni.
Bungie announced its now-legendary first person shooter, on stage at Macworld Expo in New York in 1999, indicating the game would be released for Mac and Windows platforms. In 2000, Microsoft acquired the company, and announced that Bungie would become part of Microsoft’s nascent game division, and that Halo would become an exclusive to the Xbox platform. Mac and Windows versions of the original Halo were ultimately released, although it would take a couple of years.
“Working with Microsoft was great for us, it allowed us to grow as a team and make the ambitious, blockbuster games we all wanted to work on,” said Bungie founder and partner Jason Jones in a statement. “And they will continue to be a great partner. But Bungie is like a shark. We have to keep moving to survive. We have to continually test ourselves, or we might as well be dolphins. Or manatees .”
Bungie and Microsoft recently released Halo 3, an exclusive title for the Xbox 360. The game ran up $300 million in sales during its first week of release — the fastest-selling video game in history, according to Microsoft.