Bungie "Not Concerned" About Infinity Ward Debacle

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Bungie "Not Concerned" About Infinity Ward Debacle

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What does the recent announcement of the Activision/Bungie partnership have to do with the fallout surrounding the Infinity Ward meltdown? Absolutely nothing, says Bungie.

Activision has been in the news quite a bit lately, and for the most part it hasn't been good press, what with its Publishing CEO stepping down and the whole mess around Infinity Ward.

To that end, the megaton announcement that Activision had scored one hell of a winner by partnering with Halo creator Bungie must have come as quite a relief to the company's suits: Finally, some overwhelmingly positive press. But was this announcement timed to deflect the Infinity Ward shakeup? Did Activision hurry to sign a new blockbuster studio after seeing its old one crumble?

Nope, Bungie's design director Joseph Staten told Gamasutra's Leigh Alexander. Even if it had been Infinity Ward's desire to be more like Bungie - a studio associated with a publisher but that maintains its independence - that had sparked the controversy, Bungie itself is keeping its hands free of the whole shebang.

"Our situation is so fundamentally different that we're not concerned at all," Staten told Alexander. "It's been really great getting to know the Activision executive team. It's not every day that I have a chance to sit down with the president of the world's biggest entertainment publisher and have him spend a couple of hours talking about the story and characters we created."

The original plan for this new game had actually been in the works since 2007, said Staten - right after Bungie had broken away from Microsoft. The Activision deal had been in the pipeline for nine months, and had revolved around three key "touchstones" for Bungie: "Bungie is going to own what we create. We're not going to back down from that; we're going to be an independent company, and we want to reach as broad an audience as possible."

The timing of the announcement had nothing to do with Infinity Ward, and everything to do with the finalizing of the agreements - and the impending Halo: Reach beta. "We just this week signed the long-form contract," said Staten. "And we know in this industry that a secret doesn't remain a secret for very long. We knew we wouldn't make it to E3 without something leaking ... and we didn't want to announce during [the Halo: Reach] beta" or the game's marketing run-up.

Speaking with GI.biz, Bungie's community manager Brian Jarrard concurred:

I think my personal only concern was just having to make this announcement in a world where the landscape and climate isn't super ideal right now and what people's initial reactions might be in terms of Bungie fans and what their view would be. But in terms of our actual working relationship and the future, no, we're confident that we have a great deal and all of things that we wanted to get out of this partnership are in place for us so we can focus on making a great game and knowing that as many people as possible will be able to experience our universe on the device of their choosing.

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Despite the assurance of the firm itself it still leaves me uneasy...I am sure, in time berayal can always become apparant

Being naive is what I would call Bungie. Activision seems to be more evil than E.A. (Actually E.A. isn't all that bad anymore, they have been publishing alot of good games and helping improve them with the money they could have used on more cocaine)

I'm going to predict a future quote from bungie in relation to activision

"Curse Your Sudden but Inevitable Betrayal!"

This makes me feel a bit better, I guess, but only a bit.

Bungie has enough influence to get Acitivision to back down if it needs to, so that is good.

If Bungie actually secured the full rights of whatever new IP they make and remain independant then there really isn't anything to worry about. If Activision decides to break their contract and not cough up dough for the project Bungie can easiy shop whatever game their making to any publisher they want to. So it would be in Activisions best interests to play nice with Bungie.

"Bungie is going to own what we create. We're not going to back down from that; we're going to be an independent company, and we want to reach as broad an audience as possible."

Good. That makes it similar to the EA Partners deals, not like IW being owned by Activision.

"Oh, I'm sure Activision would never treat US that way."

I'm reminded of women who hook up with a guy who beat (or cheated on) his last girlfriend, yet imagine it will be somehow different for them.

Remember that Activision doesn't NEED the IP rights to make life difficult for Bungie. The contract might say "Bungie must make us 3 games in 6 years" or somesuch. So Bungie can't just walk away if Activision starts jerking them around

It'll be interesting to see what they come up with, and when they say the project birthed in 2007 does that mean its in full swing?, and since they are coding for the PS3 too now have they been practising?... I mean learning how to code for the PS3?

questions questions!

Excellent point there Mr Young.
But I must say that this is the best news ever on the escapist. Why? Because it means that PS3 owners will finally get to suffer the attentions of the bungie fanboys when they spill out onto your consol! Enjoy!
All jokes asside I realy didn't care about the activision/IW thing, I realy don't care about this, maybe its because I don't see what is so great about Bungie or maybe its because I am bored of hearing about Activision's latest attempts to clean up the bloody mess of it's old gimp and replace it with a new one.

Shamus Young:
"Oh, I'm sure Activision would never treat US that way."

I'm reminded of women who hook up with a guy who beat (or cheated on) his last girlfriend, yet imagine it will be somehow different for them.

Remember that Activision doesn't NEED the IP rights to make life difficult for Bungie. The contract might say "Bungie must make us 3 games in 6 years" or somesuch. So Bungie can't just walk away if Activision starts jerking them around

Bungie would evaluate that and not allow it.

OH SHI-

Bungie. Is. Effed.

TheFacelessOne:
OH SHI-

Bungie. Is. Effed.

Don't be so paranoid. Chances are EVERYONE at Bungie agreed to it, as that's what they did for the MS Buyout. I think they'll be fine. All Activision is doing is the publishing. This gives Bungie more time to develop. IW was owned by Acti, while Bungie is free. Besides, if they pull an IW and remove Harold Ryan, I'd be happy. The guy has just rubbed me the wrong way so far (I'd rather the only founder left at Bungie, Jason Jones, be in control).

Bungie can sweet talk this all they want, but if I was working there I would honestly be a little worried. Given Activision's track record in recent years, honestly I can't fathom why on earth they would partner with them. What about EA's partners program that Respawn just hooked up with?

I just can't help but think this will all go wrong, I mean the map packs will go up to £30 pounds per inch etc etc. I know It most certainly won't go wrong, it's just Activision seems to be trying it's hardest to be an arse so I have little to no trust in them.

Dorkmaster Flek:
Bungie can sweet talk this all they want, but if I was working there I would honestly be a little worried. Given Activision's track record in recent years, honestly I can't fathom why on earth they would partner with them. What about EA's partners program that Respawn just hooked up with?

Well, maybe Bungie saw something in Activision we don't? From the way they described chats with Kotick, he didn't sound nearly as evil as we think of him (they talked story, universe, gameplay and more). I don't know, maybe this is good? They are saying it will help with the World Domination plan.

Demon ID:
I just can't help but think this will all go wrong, I mean the map packs will go up to £30 pounds per inch etc etc. I know It most certainly won't go wrong, it's just Activision seems to be trying it's hardest to be an arse so I have little to no trust in them.

Remember, Bungie still has their freedom, unlike IW. Therefor, Bungie controls the price.

Well its not like Bungie is going to say anything bad about Activision now that they've signed a contract with them. Now THAT would be stupid

Oh, so now Bungie are working with Activision? Well in light of that, I'm sure we can expect to see another Halo game, and then another Halo game and probably another couple of Halo games and then some more Halo games. And then a few more Halo games, since this contract is good for 10 years after all. And then another Halo game.

Does anyone remember that Bungie once created Marathon, Oni and the Myth series? I didn't think so. I've never seen a company so fixated on a single IP to the utter exclusion of all else before and now they're working for the "Let's Milk This Cash Cow Until It And Transforms Into A Horse We Can Beat" company the chances of this changing are down to absolute 0. Not that I really give much of a damn anyway, but it's still not the kind of thing I like to see.

Bungie signing with Activision is possibly the most logical thing they could do.

They were pretty much owned by Microsoft entirely, and they literally had to "buy themselves back".

Activision is a hurt giant that "needs" something like this.

So Bungie signing with them is the most logical step. They keep all forms of being independent (like control of the IP) and receiving the cash they need to make the game. Activision won't dare pull off another Infinity Ward scandal, so in a sense, they are Bungie's bitch. Not the other way around.

To use the overused phrase, while with Microsoft, when MS said "jump". Bungie said "how high".

Now with Activision, the relationship was switched.

Innnnnncoming 3 hours €60 games with bad multiplayer! Everybody onboard next stop lawsuitland

Arcane Azmadi:
Oh, so now Bungie are working with Activision? Well in light of that, I'm sure we can expect to see another Halo game, and then another Halo game and probably another couple of Halo games and then some more Halo games. And then a few more Halo games, since this contract is good for 10 years after all. And then another Halo game.

Does anyone remember that Bungie once created Marathon, Oni and the Myth series? I didn't think so. I've never seen a company so fixated on a single IP to the utter exclusion of all else before and now they're working for the "Let's Milk This Cash Cow Until It And Transforms Into A Horse We Can Beat" company the chances of this changing are down to absolute 0. Not that I really give much of a damn anyway, but it's still not the kind of thing I like to see.

Microsoft still owns the IP for Halo. Even if Bungie wanted to, they can't make the game.

Bungie has actually said that they're pursuing a New IP with Activision.

Does that mean Halo is done for? Probably not, because Microsoft still holds the rights to the title.

So please, keep your hatred to your uninformed self.

Its bungie's decision to trust Activision after what happened

I'm sure that Emperor Palpat... 'scuze me, Mr Kotick and the executives at Activision are totally trustworthy. Bungie should not be worried at all about the destruction of Aldera...sorry, Infinity Ward.

I call bullshit. I doubt this has nothing to do with Infinity Ward. It was just timed too perfectly for it not to be coincided with what is essentially Infinity Ward's farewell from Activision. Also (and this is more of an uneducated guess) I don't think it would take 9 months for Bungie to tell Activision they want control over their games and for Activision to okay that.

I also feel uneasy about this but if I am reading this correctly it seems that Bungie (or Bungie thinks it) is going to use Activision's influence to promote their games and thats it. In that sense it seems like a good move, but then we have Activision. If they try something . . . well.

Really, I'd say this is for the best.

Regardless of what I might think of Bungie's quality with Halo 1 (as opposed to its sequels), the fact stands that their team recently admitted to outright putting up smoke and mirrors tactics for Halo 2 as well as to performing massively disorganized crunch times, which eventually wound up in fairly average sequels.

To my mind that quality of developer fits perfectly with Activision publishing! So I wouldn't say this news is that sad, it's just birds of a feather flocking together in my view. It's just that something tells me how their future games might not be as earthshatteringly awesome as their legions of fanboys saw them as being.

But eh...we'll see. For now this is a very lovely little pit of drama stirred up here. And even if it was indeed brewing for 9 months or so, the timing of this is...hahah...well, if you think that out of ALL THE DAYS in these months they decide to announce this right AFTER one of the worst news for Activision, then you clearly lack the ability to see how they tried to pull the wool over the eyes of their fans by having their 'good news' come AFTER their 'bad news'. And the CEO of Activision publishing stepping down the EXACT day before this deal is announced...that was a coincidence too, right? Pahahahahah...I love the propaganda machine.

As uplifting as this news might be to Activision's investors, I for one know that, if I were in their shoes, restructurings of this sort of scale would have me worried regardless of what kinds of 'innovative' tactics the company came up with. Still...I gotta hand it to Activision! They really have a flair for showmanship...would be nice if they actually had a flair for good games too, but eh - can't have it all at any given season of the year I guess.

Arcane Azmadi:
Oh, so now Bungie are working with Activision? Well in light of that, I'm sure we can expect to see another Halo game, and then another Halo game and probably another couple of Halo games and then some more Halo games. And then a few more Halo games, since this contract is good for 10 years after all. And then another Halo game.

Does anyone remember that Bungie once created Marathon, Oni and the Myth series? I didn't think so. I've never seen a company so fixated on a single IP to the utter exclusion of all else before and now they're working for the "Let's Milk This Cash Cow Until It And Transforms Into A Horse We Can Beat" company the chances of this changing are down to absolute 0. Not that I really give much of a damn anyway, but it's still not the kind of thing I like to see.

You're and idiot. MS owns Halo, not Bungie. They could milk it by continuing to work with MS, but they aren't. Do some research, fool.

Arcane Azmadi:
Oh, so now Bungie are working with Activision? Well in light of that, I'm sure we can expect to see another Halo game, and then another Halo game and probably another couple of Halo games and then some more Halo games. And then a few more Halo games, since this contract is good for 10 years after all. And then another Halo game.

Does anyone remember that Bungie once created Marathon, Oni and the Myth series? I didn't think so. I've never seen a company so fixated on a single IP to the utter exclusion of all else before and now they're working for the "Let's Milk This Cash Cow Until It And Transforms Into A Horse We Can Beat" company the chances of this changing are down to absolute 0. Not that I really give much of a damn anyway, but it's still not the kind of thing I like to see.

Pimppeter2:
Bungie signing with Activision is possibly the most logical thing they could do.

They were pretty much owned by Microsoft entirely, and they literally had to "buy themselves back".

Activision is a hurt giant that "needs" something like this.

So Bungie signing with them is the most logical step. They keep all forms of being independent (like control of the IP) and receiving the cash they need to make the game. Activision won't dare pull off another Infinity Ward scandal, so in a sense, they are Bungie's bitch. Not the other way around.

To use the overused phrase, while with Microsoft, when MS said "jump". Bungie said "how high".

Now with Activision, the relationship was switched.

Exactly. They've got one of the biggest publishers in the world kissing their feet, throwing wads of cash at them to save them. They just basically took that place over. For those who like Halo 1, you'll like the new IP. Jason Jones is Project Lead like he was for 1.

Call me naive, but this could be signaling a change in Activision's approach. Remember that several years ago, EA was in the position Activision is today...of being a publisher who is known to merely exploit existing IPs and destroy creative game studios that they purchased. But then they switched their approach to giving developers autonomy and supporting the creation of original IPs, which has contributed a lot to their reputation.

After the debacle with Infinity Ward, we could be seeing that same thing occuring with Activision here. But of course, I could be wrong and Bungie is merely an exception. Only time will tell.

Tom Phoenix:
Call me naive, but this could be signaling a change in Activision's approach. Remember that several years ago, EA was in the position Activision is today...of being a publisher who is known to merely exploit existing IPs and destroy creative game studios that they purchased. But then they switched their approach to giving developers autonomy and supporting the creation of original IPs, which has contributed a lot to their reputation.

After the debacle with Infinity Ward, we could be seeing that same thing occuring with Activision here. But of course, I could be wrong and Bungie is merely an exception. Only time will tell.

Actually, it's more Bungie is exploiting a weak but rich publisher. Activision needs good publicity. They'll throw money at Bungie to make them these new games. Basically, Bungie says Jump, Activision says "How high, where, when, how fast should we fall, how should we and, and how many times?"

HG131:

Tom Phoenix:
Call me naive, but this could be signaling a change in Activision's approach. Remember that several years ago, EA was in the position Activision is today...of being a publisher who is known to merely exploit existing IPs and destroy creative game studios that they purchased. But then they switched their approach to giving developers autonomy and supporting the creation of original IPs, which has contributed a lot to their reputation.

After the debacle with Infinity Ward, we could be seeing that same thing occuring with Activision here. But of course, I could be wrong and Bungie is merely an exception. Only time will tell.

Actually, it's more Bungie is exploiting a weak but rich publisher. Activision needs good publicity. They'll throw money at Bungie to make them these new games. Basically, Bungie says Jump, Activision says "How high, where, when, how fast should we fall, how should we and, and how many times?"

That is kind of my point. I think Activision is trying to regain some good publicity by using the approach that brough EA so much success.

Bigeyez:
If Bungie actually secured the full rights of whatever new IP they make and remain independant then there really isn't anything to worry about. If Activision decides to break their contract and not cough up dough for the project Bungie can easiy shop whatever game their making to any publisher they want to. So it would be in Activisions best interests to play nice with Bungie.

That what Doublefine the makers of Brutal Legend thought. Activision still sued them in an attempt to block Brutal Legend's release. hence why I jumped on the whole F#$%k Activision bandwagon.

Still maybe this whole Infinity Ward debacle will finally get Activision to get it's act together, like the how the whole Spore drm debacle got EA to get it's act together.

Tom Phoenix:

HG131:

Tom Phoenix:
Call me naive, but this could be signaling a change in Activision's approach. Remember that several years ago, EA was in the position Activision is today...of being a publisher who is known to merely exploit existing IPs and destroy creative game studios that they purchased. But then they switched their approach to giving developers autonomy and supporting the creation of original IPs, which has contributed a lot to their reputation.

After the debacle with Infinity Ward, we could be seeing that same thing occuring with Activision here. But of course, I could be wrong and Bungie is merely an exception. Only time will tell.

Actually, it's more Bungie is exploiting a weak but rich publisher. Activision needs good publicity. They'll throw money at Bungie to make them these new games. Basically, Bungie says Jump, Activision says "How high, where, when, how fast should we fall, how should we and, and how many times?"

That is kind of my point. I think Activision is trying to regain some good publicity by using the approach that brough EA so much success.

Yeah, but the difference is is that Bungie has chosen to abuse it, which is awesome.

Chalk up another one to "calling it now"

I bet 5 years.

Well I can't think of a single bad move Bungie have made in my lifetime, every game they have developed is among my favourites, with Halo 3 still neatly sitting atop the list years after its release, admittedly I am not a big fan of Activision, but if there is one developer that can get them to get their act together it is Bungie, I mean lets face it Activision has any doubts as to the chances of success of a Bungie game, all they need do is point towards the player count for Halo 3, which is still extremely high, unlike with MW2 which is constantly fluctuating and finding a game, even months after release is nowhere near as instantaneous as it was in the release month and Christmas period.

I am not one to say Bungie can do no wrong, but to use scientific method, my entire experience has been positive and it is reasonable to suggest that they aren't going to start screwing up now.

As regards the Halo franchise, it is in the hands of 343 industries now, with Microsoft ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL so, if nothing else, Activision can't hurt their baby, I can only hope that 343 industries can carry on doing the series justice.

And as for the Halo haters, well I can't be bothered with you any more.

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