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Bungie jumping to Activision

“Halo” developer and creator Bungie has signed an exclusive 10-year deal with mega-publisher Activision, the two companies announced early Thursday morning.

Under the terms of the deal, Bungie will retain ownership of all intellectual properties associated with its next project, while Activision will have exclusive publishing rights across multiple platforms.

Bungie will remain an independent development house.

The deal between the companies is similar to the one Bungie had with Microsoft that expired in 2007. During that partnership, Bungie created “Halo,” which quickly became one of the most popular gaming franchises of this generation and helped establish Microsoft’s place in the hardware market as an Xbox and Xbox 360 exclusive. Bungie’s final “Halo” project, “Halo: Reach,” is due out later this year.

With Microsoft retaining the rights to the “Halo” brand, it remains to be seen what Bungie’s next big project will be.

Will it be another first-person shooter?

Could Bungie create the next “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” title now that Infinity Ward has all but disintegrated?

Stay tuned.