Bungie, makers of the totally rad Halo series, just signed a 10 year exclusive deal with Activision to develop their new franchise with worldwide publishing rights belonging to Bobby Kotick and his minions.
Now that Infinity Ward execs have been divorced from B.K. and company to start up Respawn Studios the folks over at Activision have been left to develop Music Instrument B. Hero games that nobody wants to play anymore… or have they?
While the sudden departure of the Infinity Ward guys seemed like a typical case of the developer being trampled by the greedy publishing company it makes one wonder what really took place in the dimly lit board room meetings at Activision.
Certainly big deals like the one between Activision and Bungie don’t just materialize overnight, which is what appears to have happened on the surface to the casual game news reader. I would bet the farm that Bobby Kotick knew he had the Bungie card up his sleeve when he told the IW dudes to take a hike. Why else would you can and ship your top development studio heads knowing full well that the programmers working under them would feel a sense of loyalty to their leaders?
Also consider for a moment that Modern Warfare and Halo are two of the biggest rivaling shooter franchises. It’s hard to imagine that the Call of Duty folks would be cool with their publisher pushing them to middle child status and setting up Bungie on a pedestal . That would seem like a slap in the face to anyone. It’s like adopting a new dog from the shelter and then you stop loving the dog you already have.
Reports on the internet have been quick to point out that the Infinity Ward fallout and the Bungie deal are not related whatsoever. Yeah… right…
All I can say is look forward to Guitar Hero: Marty O’Donnell edition this summer! Joking aside though – I will be interested to see what “new franchise” Bungie has on the burner… even if it means Activision will rush it to shelves and Bungie will find themselves in the same death clinch they were in during the Halo 2/MS Game Studio days.