Microsoft has distanced itself from rumours that it will be relinquishing control of wholly-owned Halo developer Bungie, but stopped short of a categorical denial.
"There's been no such announcement," a spokesperson told Eurogamer.net. "We continue to celebrate the tremendous success of the global phenomenon that is Halo 3."
The claim came from a reader blog linked to the Seattle Post-Intelligence. The author claims to have heard from a friend with links inside Bungie that an announcement on the separation was imminent.
The author of the blog post, Jacob Metcalf, is not employed by the Seattle Post-Intelligence newspaper, which has consistently distanced itself from user-posted information in blogs.
The reasons cited for the split were Microsoft's expectation that Bungie dedicate itself to making further Halo games, and Bungie's frustration at Microsoft's interference in its practices.
However, in an interview with Edge magazine last year, Bungie executives stated their intention to expand the studio into multiple teams. This would allow it to develop new intellectual property alongside Halo.
The story suggests that Bungie will become an independent studio, and may continue to work for Microsoft as well as create games for other platforms. But it offers no explanation of the financial details of such a buyout - as it stands, Bungie is owned 100 per cent by Microsoft.