E3 2008: Microsoft behind Bungie misfire

Publisher veep Don Mattrick tells <em>LA Times</em> that developer's new Halo project pulled from press conference due to time constraints; now slated for "more dedicated event."

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It's been a turbulent past couple of weeks for Microsoft-emancipated studio Bungie. After churning up a good deal of excitement last Monday with news that an announcement was imminent, the Kirkland, Washington-based outfit proved that its operations are not as autonomous as many may have perceived them to be. In the midst of a teaser campaign, the developer abruptly announced that it would not be revealing its new project as anticipated, at the bidding of "our publisher."

While it was commonly held that the unnamed publisher in question was Microsoft, that fact was confirmed last night by the Los Angeles Times. Speaking to the news outlet, Microsoft senior vice president of interactive entertainment Don Mattrick said that the reveal of Bungie's newest Halo game was pulled from the publisher's E3 Media & Business Summit press conference to keep the event under the 90-minute mark.

"We had an embarrassment of riches," Mattrick told the LA Times. "We felt we could do this game more justice with a more dedicated event."

No other details on what that new Halo game might be were revealed. However, it is likely in reference to the as-yet-unconfirmed squad-based tactical spin-off first revealed on Sunday. According to a GameSpot source, Bungie's next Halo project will be "a cross between Ghost Recon and Gears of War." Also, instead of monolithic franchise protagonist the Master Chief, the game will supposedly follow the exploits of a squad of colonial marines in a "less cartoony" and "more bloody, violent, and grim" tale of a battle between UNSC forces and the pan-racial religious empire known as the Covenant.

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