Interview: Bungie talks Microsoft split

Brian Jarrard, Bungie's franchise and community director, explains how the wholly-owned studio can walk away from its parent

Oct 8, 2007

Today, Microsoft confirmed rumors that Halo developer Bungie would be amicably breaking off from its software giant parent. Here Jarrard talks to Next Generation about the snowballing rumors, the future of Bungie, development for other platforms and more.

What was it like sitting back and watching all of these rumors unfold on the Internet? There are some people that called it "ludicrous," even calling people that simply entertained the idea "suckers." Meanwhile, what was Bungie doing while this was all going on?

Jarrard: We've kind of been watching from the sidelines. It's been kind of entertaining at times. I've read some pretty awesome forum posts with people that were sure that this was nothing but an Internet hoax. It's funny now to watch them eat their words.

Mostly, in the past couple days, we've been frantically working with our friends at Microsoft to get all of our ducks in a row and get all these last few deal points wrapped up and get to a point where both sides were comfortable announcing this to the world. There's just been a lot of last minute meetings and discussions taking place just to get everything ironed out.

We've been frantically trying to do that in the midst of the Halo 3 launch and trying to get our whole studio back in operation again.

What exactly is the next step after you've made this announcement?

Jarrard: Realistically, in the immediate future, I don't expect really much to change at all to be honest. We have people right now that are already at work-it's just another day in the office. Our immediate projects that we're committed to like the Halo 3 content, working with Peter Jackson on the new Halo project, these are things that were already well-underway before the announcement. We're going to continue to work on these projects with Microsoft acting as our publisher.

In a lot of ways, day-in, day-out, life isn't going to change in the short term. But the potential for what we're doing months and years from now is dramatically increased. Who's to say where that will lead? Right now, we've got some projects that we're working hard to get out the door.

How exactly does this whole "split" work out? How does a studio that was acquired in 2000, a wholly-owned studio, just get up and take off with its name and studio intact?

Jarrard: Well, it was an interesting set of discussions, as you can imagine. It's been going on for quite a while. Ultimately, it was something that we had to do as a group to creatively continue to expand and continue what we want to do. As [Bungie's Jason Jones] so aptly put it, we're a shark that just has to keep moving to stay alive, otherwise we felt that we'd start to stagnate and potentially lose interest, and maybe even lose some of our teams.

Fortunately for us, Microsoft realized that, and they've been very accommodating to help us work through this and come to an arrangement that ultimately is going to reinvigorate and empower Bungie to continue to do great games and make great games for Microsoft's platforms, as well as getting more Halo games to come from our studio as well.

At the same time, it gives us the freedom down the road to explore other opportunities and challenge ourselves and keep us engaged in what we do. It was about putting together a deal where both groups could get what they're after.

You can finish the interviewhere.

Source:Next Generation

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