Reports have surfaced on the web that Halo: Reach will be Bungie's last game in the franchise, while the company's first original IP, yet to be announced, is "close" to finding its publisher -- and Peter Jackson's Halo game appears to be dead.
Consumer site IGN quotes Bungie senior designer Lars Bakken as saying, "After Reach that's it for us. We're already working on a new IP that we can't talk about yet, I don't know when we'll be talking about it -- when we're ready I suppose."
However, Computer and Video Games has a slightly different version of the story. When asked by C&VG whether any more Bungie-developed Halo games will appear on the Xbox 360, Bakken responded, "In terms of a platform for Halo games made by Bungie, yes... in terms of Bungie-produced Halo games, ODST and then Reach is probably all you're going to get."
This answer is much less definitive, and also leaves a lot of wiggle-room for Bungie Halo projects on future Microsoft hardware.
Meanwhile, Bakken also spoke to Eurogamer, saying that a deal to publish Bungie's new, original IP game is "close". "I think internally we'll know sometime soon," said Bakken. "I don't handle these things, but I'd imagine we're going to know way before we make the public announcement of who's handling that! But sure, I think those talks are, I guess, close." No details are publicly available about what form the game will take.
As announced alongside the reveal of the Halo: Legends anime shorts compilation and Halo Waypoint Xbox Live destination site, Microsoft has formed a new internal division called 343 Industries, which, according to this LA Times report, "oversees all Halo products."
According to the Microsoft press release about Legends and Waypoint, Frank O'Connor -- who moved from Bungie to Microsoft last year alongside Kojima Productions' Ryan Payton and Gearbox's Corrine Yu, among others -- serves as 343 Industries' development and creative director.
"That Halo project is no longer happening, it sort of collapsed when the movie didn't end up happening," said Jackson, referring to the film project that was "postponed" in 2006, and which has never resurfaced.