Brian Jarrard, Bungie's community and franchise director, spoke with GamesIndustry.biz about his company's divestment from Microsoft.
"To us, this just represents what we think is the next natural evolution of our relationship with Microsoft," Jarrard said, noting that it had been in the works for a little while.
He brushed aside suggestions that the impetus for the divestment might have come from Microsoft thinking about bringing in a new developer on the Halo franchise.
"We definitely initiated the discussions with them when this all originated, and very quickly it became a mutual process with both sides working together to structure a relationship that will be mutually beneficial to both groups," he said.
Although Microsoft still owns the Halo IP outright, Bungie isn't going to be leaving the franchise any time soon.
"...[F]or the foreseeable future, whether it is Halo 3 downloadable content or the Peter Jackson project, the Bungie studios team is...our fates are still intertwined with Halo," Jarrard said. "So, we obviously want to do all we can to make sure that the franchise continues to grow in all the right ways."
"We are definitely still tied to Halo. We are still going to be working with them on Halo and potentially some future projects, but like I said, for us it was just what we needed to do creatively as a group to evolve and be able to focus on the future."
Jarrard said that Bungie definitely wants to expand to become more than a 'one-trick pony' and is currently in the exploratory phase for new, non-Halo titles. But don't expect confirmation of a table tennis game as their next project.
"That was pretty fun, but it was quite a leap to go from something as massive as Grand Theft Auto to table tennis."
Jarrard pondered that for a moment. "We do play a lot of bocce ball in the summer. I think that is an untapped market...we could totally corner that market," he joked.
Bungie bocce ball?
"You'll be the first one I call, as soon as we have our high-res assets available..."
The full interview with Brian Jarrard will be published next week.