In a heart-felt letter on its blog, Bungie has bid farewell to the Halo series, which it has been responsible for over the last ten years.
"Some might consider the upcoming transition a bittersweet occasion punctuated by a sense of loss and sadness. We feel otherwise. Halo is in great hands... yours."
The goodbye was more than a little cheesy in places, but justifiably so; it's the end of an era for Bungie.
"We'll be undergoing a metamorphosis of our own. Very soon Bungie.net will change, culminating with the launch of our next universe at some unknown time in the future. The first small steps will be taken soon, with Halo playlist management changing hands on August 2nd."
"Afterwards, we'll be going dark on our studio’s next major endeavour – the creation of a brand new universe. You'll still have a home here should you choose to stay, but our next project demands an unwavering focus. We owe it to ourselves to make something better than we ever have before. We owe it to you, as well."
"So, this isn't a goodbye. It isn't The End. Instead, it's the very beginning of a new journey that will stretch the limits of what we are capable of. Ancient engines are now rumbling deep within the heart of our studio, and their energy will power us through the upcoming darkness.
"Like all dark times ours will be broken first by a single strand of light – a tether reaching out to bind us all together again. One day, we will awaken in a wondrous new place and we will remember just what it was that drew us together at the beginning of it all. We will look up to the heavens, and find hope."
While Bungie might be moving on to pastures new (perhaps poetry, too?), the Halo franchise will continue to grow on the Xbox 360. In addition to Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary on November 15, Master Chief will be returning for an all new trilogy, starting with Halo 4 in 2012.