Disney Takes a Bungie Jump with Wideload

Alex SeropianDisney Interactive has announced that it is acquiring small Chicago-based game house Wideload Games…and The House of Mouse swallowing up a small game studio wouldn’t be all that newsworthy until one considers that Disney is getting Bungie co-founder Alex Seropian as part of the deal. For folks who’ve been off fighting aliens on another planet for the last several years, Seropian was one of the creators of games like Marathon, Myth, and the wildly successful Halo franchise. Seropian will come on board at Disney Interactive as the group’s newly-minted “vice president of creative,” and the acquisition marks Disney’s latest effort to move beyond a video game business based on media properties like Hannah Montana, Pixar films, and Kim Possible and into major-league territory in the console game arena.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

“Joining Disney is an ideal next step, both for our studio and me,” Seropian said in a statement. “At Wideload, we’ve conscientiously built a forward-looking approach to game development that borrows many techniques from the film industry. Now, Wideload will be a part of one of the largest, most respected entertainment companies in the world.”

Seropian left Bungie to found Wideload in 2004; in 2007, Bungie broke loose from Microsoft, although the company continues to work on the Halo franchise and Xbox 360 titles.

The Wideload acquisition follows Disney’s hiring of famed game developer Warren Spector (creator of Deus X) back in 2007, and the company’s announced plans to acquire super-hero house Marvel Entertainment, which would bring major franchises like Spider-Man, Iron Man, and the X-Men under the Disney umbrella.