Bungie, Microsoft Split ConfirmedIt’s a major move, as the studio that helped put the Xbox platform on the map is stretching its legs as an independent once again. Bungie, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2000, will still have a strong relationship with Microsoft, as the software giant will hold a minority equity interest. “This exciting evolution of our relationship with Microsoft will enable us to expand both creatively and organizationally in our mission to create world-class games,” said Harold Ryan, studio head for Bungie. “We will continue to develop with our primary focus on Microsoft’s platforms; we greatly value our mutually prosperous relationship with our publisher, Microsoft Game Studios, and we look forward to continuing that affiliation through ‘Halo’ and beyond.” A statement about the move added that Bungie and Microsoft will continue to expand their partnership to include new IP “created and owned by Bungie.” Bungie’s latest hit was Halo 3, released September 25 in the US. Microsoft said this week that it generated $300 million in worldwide sales in its opening week, breaking sales records. Bungie founder and partner Jason Jones likened the situation to living the life aquatic. “Working with Microsoft was great for us, it allowed us to grow as a team and make the ambitious, blockbuster games we all wanted to work on. And they will continue to be a great partner. But Bungie is like a shark. We have to keep moving to survive. We have to continually test ourselves, or we might as well be dolphins. Or manatees.” Bungie, which was founded in 1991, will remain in Kirkland, Wash. Rumors of the split originally showed up at the small gaming site 8bitjoystick, with some major consumer gaming websites scoffing at the widespread coverage and even the idea of the admittedly unsubstantiated rumor. However, the rumor began to look increasingly possible as Microsoft avoided completely discounting the possibility of a split.