Halo creator Bungie is making a first-person MMO for Activision that will be called Destiny, according to a new report.
Codenamed Tiger, the game is to be powered by a brand new game engine and boast matchmaking as well as a host of other online modes.
The project is defined crudely as "WOW in space".
Kotaku broke the news based on evidence from a freshly laid-off Bungie contractor. Apparently 30 other staff left amid "bugetary concerns". The source also mentioned unfair treatment.
"This evening, Kotaku Australia published a blog entry to their website claiming that Bungie recently terminated as many as thirty contract employees without notice or justification, effectively eliminating all non full time staff at the request of our publisher, Activision Blizzard."
"The claim is false.
"Bungie has never been asked to lay off any employees or contract employees by our publisher, Activision Blizzard, for any reason. The talented professionals who grace our offices day in and day out are the lifeblood of Bungie – our most cherished commodity – and the unsubstantiated rumours posted today are in direct opposition to the culture and values that we believe make Bungie an exceptional place to work, and to call home."
Bungie didn't comment directly on the rumoured Destiny MMO project.
In early 2010, Bungie's Joseph Staten teased a GDC audience by asking, "Wouldn't it be great if we could make a world that was always there for you?"
In late April 2010, Bungie and Activision announced a 10-year multi-platform publishing deal. To make an MMO?
"I can't get into specifics," answered Bungie community director Brian Jarrard, "but we're definitely looking at building a universe that people want to spend time in."
"Much like Halo but we have much more grandiose vision here, so it's a long-term partnership for us.
"We're really embarking on something that will be a significant undertaking for the studio that will involve multiple games set inside this brand new IP and universe."
Barely a month later, in May 2010, a Bungie job vacancy advertising for someone with RPG know-how appeared.
Microsoft never commissioned Bungie to make a Halo MMO; that challenge fell on Ensemble Studios' shoulder. A project was green-lit, the Age of Empires and Halo Wars developer revealed, and worked on by 40 people. The game was to be set before the Halo games and be "definitely more actiony than WOW".
Bungie, upon hearing the news, decided a Halo MMO would be "pretty challenging" without a "whole new layer of fiction and new characters that don't currently exist".