Earlier today Activision announced a 10-year deal to publish and distribute games based on Bungie's new, non-Halo IP, and the internet went predictably mental. We got Bungie's Brian Jarrard on the phone this afternoon to talk about the deal, the new IP and what it means for the developer.
Eurogamer: To paraphrase a question I recently asked Jason West and Vince Zampella, what first attracted you to multi-billionaire publisher Activision?
Brian Jarrard: Well you know, honestly, Bungie for over the past year has been working really hard on trying to secure our future, and it's been no secret that Jason Jones and our core team have been working on sort of the initial foundations of our next big IP and our next big universe in parallel to the team making Halo: Reach. This is a big step for us, this is a huge chapter, and it's not something the studio has taken lightly.
So, Activision was one of many partners that Bungie has been in talks with, and this discussion began in earnest about nine months ago, so there's only a couple of publishers in the world who could have the scale and scope to align with what we would like to achieve in our visions for our next creative universe, so I think at the end of the day there's a couple of reasons why it ended up being Activision.
Most importantly was that we have a tremendous deal, we have a tremendous partnership, and Bungie did not have to compromise sort of the core values of our studio. We have these seven principles of our constitution, and we stuck by those and were able to find a deal that aligned perfectly.
Specifically I'm referring to really important things to us like the fact that we remain an independent company, the fact that we will actually own this IP outright, the fact that we have a significant degree of creative control and this will be a true partnership for us. So Activision was the partner that ultimately believed in those terms for us, and in return we definitely can't deny their ability to bring huge entertainment to market on a global scale, their multi-platform experience and expertise, and they're just a really great marketing and distribution company, so I think all those things together made Activision the clear choice for Bungie.
Eurogamer: One of the things Activision brings to the party of course is their ability to handle games that have plastic peripherals that cost $100. Is that the direction you'll be taking with your new IP?
Brian Jarrard: [Laughs politely.] Um, you know we haven't got that far into it, but that definitely wasn't one of the initial discussions that we had. I could say that more interestingly to us and possibly more appropriate in the future was Activision's experience in the online space.
Eurogamer: It's funny you should say that, because one of the weird things in the press release is the "10 year" thing rather than it being a two or three game deal, which makes me wonder if this is an MMO maybe.
Brian Jarrard: I can't get into specifics, 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. But clearly Activision does have good experience running large-scale universes over a long period of time, so that was one appealing attribute that drew us to them.
Eurogamer: Yeah, they've got a fairly successful massively multiplayer game.
Brian Jarrard: I've heard that, yes.