In an unexpected and unprecedented deal today, Halo: Reach developer Bungie Software signed a 10-year worldwide publishing and distribution deal with publisher Activision-Blizzard for a new as-of-yet announced intellectual property that will span multiple games.
In an interview with Gamespot, Bungie staffers Brian Jarrard and Joseph Staten talked about the genesis and need for the deal that will see the studio develop games for a non-Microsoft platform for the first time.
“Bungie has actually been out there for a year straight now working hard, discussing our future with potential partners, said Jarrard about when the negotiations for the deal began. “But the Activision deal itself began in earnest about nine months ago. That got us through to the end of March when an initial term agreement was signed. And just this week the official formal, long-form contract was signed, and that was the impetus for us making the announcement today. It’s officially official.”
“Jason Jones has been thinking about the next project he’d like to work on for a number of years now, Staten answered when asked about the new IP. “As early as 2007, he got a core team of people together–a very, very small team–and has been cooking up different ideas. But it’s only been in the last year or so that those ideas have crystallized to the point that we can take them out to different publishers and really shop those ideas around. It’s safe to say we’re really in “preproduction” mode right now. We’ve got really good plans, we know our path for the next 10 years. We’re looking at the dates that are coming up earliest and we’re aligning everybody around the first stories we really want to tell.”
With the new IP only in the pre-production stages, we are not likely to hear anything substantial about it until at least 6 months after Halo: Reach is released this fall. “You shouldn’t hold your breath” is Bungie’s response to announcement timing, so best to forget about this new IP until sometime in 2011 at the earliest.
Whatever this new property is, Bungie has a multi-game and multi-platform strategy in place for what they and Activision must feel is worth betting a lot of marbles and years on.
Read the rest of the lengthy interview over at Gamespot.