Ashley Cheng, the production director at Bethesda Game Studios, posted on his personal blog a back-of-the-envelope guess at which publishers might take up Bungie's next, non-Halo game. Hint, one of the candidates rhymes with "Shmesmesda."

Based on recent reports, Cheng says, "Bungie only owes Microsoft two more games and they're done. Halo ODST and Reach and that's that. No more Halo for Bungie."

Following that, any publishing deal - which Bungie's Lars Bakken implies is close - can be bankrolled by about five entities: "EA (via EA Partners)," writes Cheng, "Activision, Ubisoft, Microsoft, and of course, Bethesda. I can only imagine how much it will cost to snag their next title."

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But wait, there is another.

"Sony," he says. "That would be interesting. Unlikely."

For a year, Bethesda reps have said they are not contractually bound to deliver their next IP for a certain platform. But you're also talking about a relationship with Microsoft going on a decade, so, Sony would stand to be a way outside shot. But who knows.

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Bethesda 'Can Afford' Bungie's New Game [Gamers Reports]