Bungie Signs 10-Year Agreement With Activision

Yesterday Bungie announced that they are joining forces with Activision for the next decade after their exclusive agreement with Microsoft ended in 2007. After years of developing Halo titles for the Xbox and Xbox 360, Bungie is looking forward to utilizing Activision as a platform for gaining development experience on a range of consoles.

In the press release issued yesterday Bungie President Harold Ryan said, “We chose to partner with Activision on our next IP because of their global reach, multi-platform experience and marketing expertise. 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 move isn’t unprecedented considering that the two sides have been in negotiations for nearly a year, but some fans are surprised by the announcement considering the recent run of bad news that has hit Activision and, quite frankly, made them look awful.

Current and former Infinity Ward staffers filed suit the other day against the publisher seeking nearly half-a-billion dollars in royalties and compensation. The suit claims that they have been withheld royalty payments contrary to their contracts, and this lawsuit follows on the heels of a lawsuit brought against Activision by Jason West and Vince Zampella, the former heads of Infinity Ward who were fired by Activision in March for insubordination. The two have gone on to start a new studio with EA, Respawn Entertainment, and have brought many people from Infinity Ward over to their new venture.

While obviously Activision is innocent until proven guilty in these cases it’s remarkable that Bungie was still willing to sign to a deal with the publisher in the wake of the incidents. It will be interesting to gauge fan reaction as Bungie plans to move forward into the realm of developing not only the Xbox 360 but on the PlayStation 3 as well.

Prior to the press release, Bungie commented on the signing via their forums:

The story of Bungie is wild, winding, and full of majestic wonder. We’ve treaded many pathways over these last nineteen years. But for all the twists and turns we’ve taken we’re still doing what we set out to do from the beginning, back when the whole of “Bungie Software Products Corporation” consisted of two friends operating out of a basement in Chicago:

Making kick ass games that we want to play.

And as Bungie has grown, the industry’s best and brightest have been totally accretive to our own creative margins. It’s no secret that while the full might of our studio has focused on making Halo: Reach, another core team, led by our co-founder and Studio Creative Director, Jason Jones, has already begun laying the groundwork to bring our newest universe, stories, and characters to life.

Today, we’re poised to open a new chapter in Bungie’s history – one that begins with a partnership between Bungie and Activision and ends where we always knew it would, with World Domination. Our Next Big Thing now has a concrete path, leading from our studio to the platforms of our choosing. The business formalities are behind us. Our Constitution remains unchanged. We are still Bungie, still independent, and no we are free to bring our stories to an ever bigger audience.

Look forward to learning all about this new IP once Halo: Reach is out in stores and the sales and advertising push is over. I think we can expect to hear what’s next in Bungie’s plans when the Holiday season has come to an end.