Halo maker Bungie focuses on mobile, social gaming with new venture

Bungie, creator of the legendary Halo video game franchise, is turning its attention to mobile and social gaming with its new Bungie Aerospace venture.

Bungie is the video game developer behind the legendary Halo franchise, so when it makes a move, gamers and game industry analysts tend to pay attention. Now the company's turning its sites to mobile and social gaming with a new effort it calls Bungie Aerospace.

Bungie Aerospace was "created to help independent developers create brilliant mobile and social games," according to a press release from the company. Bungie COO Pete Parsons describes Bungie Aerospace as an opportunity to support and foster independent developers cut from similar cloth.

"Bungie Aerospace will allow us to explore game creation in multiple formats with some amazingly talented teams," said Parsons in a statement.

For its first effort, Bungie Aerospace has partnered with Seattle-based Harebrained Schemes, a company whose founder, Jordan Weisman, worked with Bungie before on the I Love Bees project, an "Alternate Reality" game that served as part of the viral marketing campaign for Halo 2's release in 2004.

Bungie said that Harebrained Schemes is working on Crimson, a new game for iOS and Android scheduled to launch this summer. While Crimson is planned for iOS and Android, Bungie Aerospace said in a tweet that it plans to stay platform-agnostic, relying on its development partners to decide what platforms they wish to support.

The announcement helps fill in the blanks from a mystery spawned earlier this year, when Halo fan site halo.bungie.org learned that Bungie president Harold Ryan and head of strategy and corporate development Ondraus Jenkins had filed a business license for "Bungie Aerospace Corporation." The company then filed a trademark for software called "Crimson."

Bungie started life in the early 1990s as an independent software development studio with its roots in the Macintosh game market. The company rose to prominence after it created the Marathon first person shooter game series and the Myth series of real-time strategy games. During its development of the original Halo for Mac and Windows, Bungie attracted the attention of Microsoft, which was looking for a showcase game for its then-nascent Xbox game console. Microsoft acquired Bungie, which then rewrote Halo as an Xbox game.

In 2007 Bungie announced that it was once again going indie, splitting from Microsoft, and in 2010 the company announced a decade-long publishing deal with Activision Blizzard.