See you starside, writes Bungie in its official farewell to the Halo franchise. The studio said that management of the Halo multiplayer playlists will be handed over on August 2, thus severing its last connection to the popular franchise. The Bungie website will thus shed any signs of Halo in a complete makeover, and then the studio itself will "go dark" as it focuses on creating a brand new universe for parent company Activision-Blizzard.
"As we prepare to become fans of the universe our studio began creating more than ten years ago, it's nice to know that we'll be counted among such esteemed company," the company writes. "Some might consider the upcoming transition a bittersweet occasion punctuated by a sense of loss and sadness. We feel otherwise. Halo is in great hands…yours."
"These last two weeks have been a celebration for us – a reminder of just why these last two decades have been so uniquely special for Bungie," the company adds. "More than ever we are humbled by your dedication and your loyalty (and now, even by your Halo: Reach skills…ouch)."
Bungie will release a ViDoc on August 2 called "O Brave New Worlds" which will offer the studio's parting thoughts on the last twenty years. That's right – Bungie has been around since 1991, originally founded by University of Chicago undergraduate student Alex Seropian. The studio managed to squeeze out a few Marathon and Myth games before taking on the FPS genre with the release of Microsoft's original Halo: Combat Evolved Xbox and Windows PC game in 2001.
"Our next project demands an unwavering focus," the studio writes. "We owe it to ourselves to make something better than we ever have before. We owe it to you, as well. So, this isn't a goodbye. It isn't The End. Instead, it's the very beginning of a new journey that will stretch the limits of what we are capable of.
Hmmm. Bungie's new franchise for Activision-Blizzard wouldn't be Starside, would it? Details surrounding the new project are scarce at best save for a few tidbits reporting that it’s another FPS with MMO elements. This new franchise is also supposedly set in a science-fiction setting and slated for the Xbox 360 and Windows PC simultaneously.
As reported back at E3 2011 in June, Microsoft will release a revamped Halo: Combat Evolved (aka Halo: Anniversary) for the Xbox 360 in November. Under Microsoft's watchful eye, 343 Industries, Saber Interactive and Certain Affinity are rebuilding the classic shooter from the ground up using an in-house engine while also throwing in support for Kinect.
“It’s no surprise we’re exploring ways Kinect can enhance game experiences in authentic and meaningful ways,” said Microsoft Game Studios head Phil Spencer in an interview. “The Kinect features we’re exploring with Halo: Anniversary are additive and will not affect the core gameplay experience or alter our mission of delivering a faithful recreation of the original game. That said we have nothing else to share just yet.”
But no Halo: Anniversary for the PC? Lame.