Move Along, Nothing To See Here

Frankie does a good impression of Officer Barbrady while talking to Game Informer about the Microsoft-Bungie split:

GI: Are you at all surprised by the response to this?

O'Connor: Not really. It's Microsoft, and that's the big story, right? The Wall Street Journal doesn't care about Bungie Studios, but it cares about Microsoft business, and that's how they see it. So I'm not that surprised. I think the problem for some of those guys is when they actually talk to us and see what the real story is, it's just not terribly controversial for either the platform or the business. It's a nice, happy story where everyone makes out like a bandit.

If you're looking for controversy, though, he does manage to refute Shane Kim's spartan comments about the financial impact of the deal, as well as Neill Blomkamp's statement that the Halo movie project is dead:

Fiscally speaking, we get a better share of profits because we own Bungie now, so our future IPs--or at least the things that we create in the future--we'll do better from.

Another situation where some well-applied zero sum analysis shows that someone's not telling the whole truth. Asked how much Microsoft would lose from publishing future third party Bungie projects, as opposed to first party, Kim said "none". Now Frankie's saying Bungie will get to keep more of their own revenue, which is entirely reasonable as an independent studio. They also get to cover their own costs, of course, which Microsoft no longer has to do.

There are only two ways to look at these opposing viewpoints. Either Bungie cost Microsoft as much as they made (very unlikely) or Kim is not being entirely factual when he says this deal has no financial impact on Microsoft.

Oh, and that Halo movie? Perhaps not as dead as was thought:

O'Connor: I haven't seen that, but being declared dead is probably one studio's viewpoint, and we still own the intellectual property, as far as Microsoft is concerned. Nobody can declare it dead except the owner of the IP.

Which, in this case, is Microsoft, and not Bungie.

Did Bungie seek independence because it wanted to work on non-Halo projects, projects Microsoft did not support? Not so, says Frankie:

O'Connor: You know, the funny thing about that is that Microsoft has always been supportive of us making new IPs--our timeline and the size of our studio has prevented any really serious branching, but we've always had people working on other ideas. It's scheduling. We made Halo--a huge success--decided to make a Halo 2, and that pretty much guaranteed that we would be making a trilogy at that point, because we had a lot of story to tell.

Honestly, if we'd said to Microsoft after Halo 1, "We want to go make something different, would you support us?" they would have said, "Yes, of course. Just tell us what you need." They've never stymied our creative endeavors. They've simply held us to the promises that we'd made to them--and those promises were Halo 1, Halo 2 and Halo 3. If we'd said we want to go off and make a puzzle game, they'd have supported us whole-heartedly, with the assumption that we'd make a good puzzle game.

One final thing: perhaps this will finally put to rest the Marathon-Halo connections people keep making:

O'Connor: There was no legal reason for that, but Bungie will continue to be coy about the relationship between Marathon and Halo. They do exist in separate universes and timelines, but I wouldn't rule out any possible linkages.

That ought to do it.

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