Last Thursday, the game-industry's collective consciousness was coldcocked by the announcement that Activision had signed a 10-year publishing deal with Bungie. Specifically, the agreement gave the Call of Duty publisher exclusive rights to distribute games based on the Halo-maker's all-new property through 2020.
Few details were made available about the new game other than it would be an "action" title. Now, job listings on the official Bungie Web site have revealed its storyline will be more complex than the Halo series. The studio is currently hiring a writing lead to help craft its "next game universe" and is especially interested in scribes with "branching or nonlinear narrative experience."
Though Halo 3: ODST experimented with flashbacks, all Halo games have had a fairly linear storyline. The fact Bungie's next title will have a branching plot indicates it could be an action role-playing game along the lines of Mass Effect 2 or the original Deus Ex.
Another sign pointing toward an action RPG is the fact Bungie is also hiring a "Player Investment Designer" to create "worlds imbued with real value and consequence" and "give players long-term goals to invest them in the world and their character." Long-term character development and storylines that deliver consequences for a player's actions are hallmarks of role-playing games.
Unfortunately, during an interview with GameSpot last week, Bungie reps didn't elaborate on the game's story or subgenre. However, the studio has made it clear that the game will be available on "all platforms," meaning the developer is abandoning the Xbox exclusivity it has maintained since 2001. (The PC ports of Halo and Halo 2 were handled by other developers.) The last game Bungie developed for a PlayStation platform was 2000's Oni.