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July 16, 2008 11:28 AM

Another Halo game coming, Microsoft exec says; Bungie goes quiet

Posted by Brier Dudley

Apparently Microsoft wasn't ready to put its Xbox cash cow out to pasture -- a new version of the blockbuster Halo series is in the works, according to comments that Xbox boss Don Mattrick made to MTV.

Mattrick apparently was referring to a new Halo game being developed by Bungie, the studio that created the series and spun itself out of Microsoft last year.

Even before the Halo news surfaced today, there was plenty of chatter about Bungie's next project (or projects?), fueled by a last-minute cancellation of an announcement that was supposed to happen at E3.

Bungie's explanations suggested that the announcement was quashed by Microsoft, whose studio boss said they didn't want to announce games that won't be ready this fall.

If this stuff is correct, Bungie's working on a new Halo title but it won't be done by the holiday season.

The news is still a little fuzzy, though.

Almost as interesting is the obvious tension between Bungie and Microsoft revealed by the jumbled messages out of E3.

On Tuesday, Bungie President Harold Ryan posted a statement about the canceled announcement, saying "we realize that many of our fans are disappointed by this turn of events; members of the Bungie team share that disappointment."

Meanwhile, Mattrick was apparently spilling Bungie's beans, if MTV got it right.

Did Mattrick really make that slip? The flap over Bungie's E3 announcement seemed like the result of Microsoft trying to carefully manage the studio's news flow. Is it trying to time the "Halo 4" buzz for strategic reasons against Sony? Maybe Robbie Bach wants Halo news to anchor his keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

I can't wait for the next installment of this game.

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.