The rumours were true all along; Microsoft has finally come out and confirmed that Halo dev Bungie is to embark on a path to become an independent company.
Microsoft will retain an "equity interest" in Bungie, at the same time continuing its publishing agreement between for the now Microsoft-owned Halo IP as well as other future properties developed by Bungie.
It sounds like an acceptable compromise for both companies then; Bungie keeps making Xbox 360 games - but not just the ones MS wants it to make. As an independent company Bungie will be able to make the games it wants to make, without (as much) influence from the platform holder.
"Our collaboration with Bungie has resulted in 'Halo' becoming an enduring mainstream hit," said Shane Kim, corporate vp of Microsoft Game Studios.
"While we are supporting Bungie's desire to return to its independent roots, we will continue to invest in our 'Halo' entertainment property with Bungie and other partners, such as Peter Jackson, on a new interactive series set in the 'Halo' universe.
"We look forward to great success with Bungie as our long-term relationship continues to evolve through 'Halo'-related titles and new IP created by Bungie."
"This exciting evolution of our relationship with Microsoft will enable us to expand both creatively and organizationally in our mission to create world-class games," said Harold Ryan, studio head for Bungie.
"We will continue to develop with our primary focus on Microsoft platforms; we greatly value our mutually prosperous relationship with our publisher, Microsoft Game Studios; and we look forward to continuing that affiliation through 'Halo' and beyond."
The studio's new found freedom will almost definitely lead to a new non-Halo franchise cropping up soon - and perhaps even a return to the PC platform. And seeming as Microsoft still has a stake in the developer we doubt Bungie will be working on PS3 or Wii anytime soon.
We can't wait to see what it comes up with now that the MS shackles have been unlocked...