By Jeffrey Matulef
According to a recent 27-page contract between Bungie and Activision published by the L.A. Times, Bungie's next game, codenamed "Destiny," will be released as a timed exclusive on Xbox 360 and its successor -- currently referred to as Xbox 720 -- in the fall of 2013.
The contract states that Bungie will make four "sci-fantasy, action shooter games" in the Destiny series to be released every other year starting in 2013. Additionally, the Bellevue, WA-based developer will have to make four downloadable expansion packs, codenamed "Comet," every other year from 2014-2020.
While the first game would be a timed Microsoft exclusive, subsequent games in the franchise are slated for the Playstation 3's successor (I'm going to take a wild guess that it'll be called the PlayStation 4), and PC.
According to the contract, Bungie would be entitled to royalties ranging from 20% to 35% of "operating income," the amount left over after Activision deducts its costs, including development, production and marketing expenses.
Activision would also pay Bungie $2.5 million a year in bonuses between 2010-2013 if they meet certain budget and quality milestones, with another $2.5 awarded if the first Destiny title scores a 90% or higher on aggregate site, GameRankings.com. This contract was signed on April 16, 2010, so there's a chance these terms could have been amended since.
Long-time Bungie fans will be happy to hear that they're developing a new Marathon game as well, though the contract dictates that no more than five percent of their staff may work on it while under Activision's employ. This suggests a smaller scale game, possibly set for digital distribution.
Bungie staffer DeeJ teased on the studio's website, "So, yeah. While we’re not ready to show you what we’ve been working on, we can reconfirm that we are hard at work on our new universe. We can’t wait for you to see it." Then added, "See you starside in 2013."