So Bungie signed a deal with Activision, which will see the publisher holding exclusive rights to the studio's new IP for the next ten years.
The Halo developer has told CVG that it has no interest in helping out on the Call Of Duty series while it beavers away on this nascent "action universe".
But Infinity Ward are shedding staff like nobody's business - and the MW franchise is 'damaged', according to rival EA. Who better to save the Modern Warfare series from oblivion than the most celebrated FPS developer in the world?
Bungie and Activision are bosom buddies - and it's not as if the publisher doesn't have the money and power to (a) Increase Bungie's headcount so it can work on two projects and (b) Change the Washington-based firm's mentality of concentrating solely on one IP.
There are plenty of reasons it makes sense...
Modern Warfare Series Is Becoming Stale
Not just the Modern Warfare series, which is only two games old, but Call of Duty is a series that finds itself in danger of wearing out its welcome. Infinity Ward's take on Call of Duty this generation has seen the releases of Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. It's fair to say that while the locations have changed and multiplayer has evolved, the basic gameplay hasn't really been nudged forward.
This explains why Modern Warfare 2 was left vulnerable to a backlash. When major characters died, we didn't care because we had already seen the same trick in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. When set-pieces pulled down the world around us, the impact wasn't quite as powerful as Call of Duty 2, when we were first shown how dramatic scripted moments could be. In light of the been there, done that feeling punctuated the rest of the game, it arguably makes the infamous No Russian level feel like a shock tactic to shake things up rather than something deep and meaningful, barely making it feel like something to further advance the plot for most players.
The Infinity Ward studio isn't the same as it was before thanks to the mass exodus of staff but even so, asking the remaining heads to knock together and come up with yet another helping of Modern Warfare while making it feel fresh and invigorating... so wouldn't it make more sense to give it to someone new? Who will naturally come at it from a fresh angle and perspective? Which leads onto the next point...
Bungie Has New Ideas
Dual-wielding, jetpacks, items, ODST, the sword... Bungie doesn't just come up with new ideas but isn't afraid to implement them either. It's that pursuit of new ideas that hasn't just seen the Halo series hit dizzying heights of excellence but arguably helped drag Xbox Live up a few notches too, as developers looked to Bungie to riff on their online ideas.
Infinity Ward has shown it has ideas too but nothing that has managed to define the genre in the way Bungie did with its original two Halo games and certainly, nothing that has stuck in single player in the same way its multiplayer ideas have (levelling up, killstreak awards, unlocking icons and so on). Tied in with the fact that the Call of Duty series is in danger of going stale is the lack of new ideas at its core. Bungie wouldn't just have the ideas to address this problem but Bungie would also have the balls to try them out.