Bungie's Brian Jarrard

The Halo studio's community boss reveals all about its deal with Activision...

You could feel the tremor from Washington to Santa Monica and beyond. When Activision announced its exclusive ten-year publishing deal with Bungie last month, the video games industry came to a fleeting standstill.

We've all had time to digest the news since then, of course - and realise what a great deal both parties seem to have done.

Activision gets to publish what will surely be one of the biggest franchises of the next decade. It also smartly associates itself with a truly respected, secure creative organisation - at a time when the jewel in its own crown is getting a little wobbly.

Bungie, meanwhile, gets a publishing partner with a proven track record of delivering a cross-console smash - and the security of owning its own franchise at the same time. We'd wager it's also earned itself a nice chunk o' mulla.

But what exactly is this new franchise - over and above an 'action universe'? And what does it all mean for the long-term future of Bungie?

We caught up with the studio's community boss Brian Jarrard to ask about the whispers behind the 'alliance'...

What's the reaction been from the Halo community to the news?
The reaction has been exactly what we expected it to be. It's just unfortunate that we had to make this announcement when it had to compete with all the other noise that's taking place right now. There's a lot of noise right now about Activision.

We fully expected people's knee-jerk reaction to be what it is right now and based on what they've been reading about [the Infinity Ward] situation, people have kind of formed their own perceptions of Activision as a publisher and we have anticipated that.

It is good to see that as the news starts to sink in - as people start to really look into the fine print - they see the deal we have puts Bungie in a pretty radically different situation.

To what's going on with Infinity Ward?
Exactly. Obviously everyone's asked us about it and from our perspective, the only concern we have in that regard is that we knew making this announcement in the midst of all this [IW chatter] would not be received very well by our fan community.

It's unfortunate that's the case, but if you look at what we have, the two situations are so fundamentally different. Bungie is going to remain a fully independent company without being purchased or becoming part of Activision.

We are going to own our own IP and we have creative control to create these games. We can really realise our vision in this new universe, so we feel incredibly excited and happy that we were able to get the exact deal the way we wanted it.


We feel like we're in the situation to really move Bungie forward in this next decade and create an interesting universe in which we can tell great stories and make great games.

You've chosen to be in an 'alliance' with Activision on this one IP - but if there was the opportunity to work on other Activision franchises would you consider it? Does the prospect excite you at all?
No, actually. That's not something we are or would ever be excited about or would even discuss. This partnership is very specifically around allowing Bungie the resources and support to bring our next big universe and IP to life.

After spending the last ten years working on somebody else's IP, when the studio became independent back in 2007, one of our core charters in our constitution was that from now on, we would own what we create. Working on somebody else's intellectual property is just not interesting or compelling to us at all.

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