In a move with significant implications for the gaming industry, Bungie Inc. on Thursday revealed that it will split from its partnership with Activision, the massive gaming studio with which it signed a 10-year publishing deal in 2010.
“When we first launched our partnership with Activision in 2010, the gaming industry was in a pretty different place,” Bungie’s company statement read. “As an independent studio setting out to build a brand new experience, we wanted a partner willing to take a big leap of faith with us.”
The company’s most recent game, 2017’s Destiny 2 (developed by Bungie and published by Activision), earned better critical reception than its 2014 predecessor but failed to live up to the sales expectations of Activision.
Bungie announced that it would be taking over the publishing rights to the series moving forward: “We have enjoyed a successful eight-year run and would like to thank Activision for their partnership on Destiny. Looking ahead, we’re excited to announce plans for Activision to transfer publishing rights for Destiny to Bungie.”
The company went on to say that with Destiny now under its control, Activision “will increase their focus on owned IP projects.” Activision’s next upcoming game is FromSoftware’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, which is due out March 22.
This is not the first time Bungie has split from a bigger distributor. In 2000, the company signed a deal with Microsoft which secured Halo: Combat Evolved as a launch title for the new Xbox console. Seven years later, Bungie broke from Microsoft to become a privately held independent company, while Microsoft maintained a minority stake. Microsoft maintained the rights to the Halo series, of which a new installment, Halo Infinite, is in the works from developer 343 Industries to be published by Microsoft Studios.
Activision, which is itself a subsidiary of holding company Activision Blizzard, still maintains a number of other major gaming developers as subsidiaries, including Call of Duty developers Sledgehammer Games and Treyarch.
In a joint statement, Activision and Bungie promised they are “committed to a seamless transition for the Destiny franchise and will continue to work closely together during the transition on behalf of the community of Destiny players around the world.”