March 31st. Mark the date in your diary, as that's when legendary developer Bungie finally cuts the cord and officially hands over the Halo baby to its new mummy, 323 Industries.
343 has already taken over development on the new Halo titles, including last year's Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary remake and the upcoming Halo 4, but the behind-the-scenes systems powering all those multiplayer matches and stats were Bungie's. That changes at the end of March, and from that date Bungie will have nothing more to do with the franchise it created way back in 2002.
"Bungie will no longer be able to update game stats and player service records, to host new user generated content, or to operate the Bungie Pro service. All currently supported, Bungie-developed Halo titles will be impacted by this change," the Bungie website explains. "Any replacement functionality, and all future Halo support, will be provided by Microsoft and 343 Industries via Halo Waypoint at http://halo.xbox.com."
"Thanks for making the Halo-era version of Bungie.net more successful than we could have possibly imagined," the post concluded. "You complete us."
No, no, we're fine. We've just got something in our eye.
Halo 4 is set for release later this year on Xbox 360, of course. Bungie's next project is a mysterious new multi-console game, set to be published by Activision.