The detailed contracted between publisher Activision and Halo developer Bungie has been made public, revealing plans for a mammoth new franchise from the shooter specialist and a launch date for Microsoft's next Xbox hardware.

Bungie's contract with Activision covers a sci-fi shooter currently codenamed Destiny, with the publisher agreeing to fund the initial title, three sequels, due every other year, and stacks of additional downloadable content, mirroring the strategy that saw Halo power Microsoft's Xbox consoles to success for a decade.

Also rather interesting is that the game is scheduled to arrive on Xbox 360 and a machine the contract refers to as Xbox 720 in late 2013. Not only that, but a version for PlayStation3 will arrive a year later, plus the sequels will also hit PS4. It's the most extraordinary gaming leak of the year. Enjoy the full contract with its mentions of Xbox 720 and PS4 here.

Plus there's good news for rather old Bungie fans. The terms of the contract state that the developer is allowed to put up to five per cent of its workforce on a project known as Marathon, which is presumably a next-next-generation update of its much-loved Apple Mac shooter.

In the wake of the publication of the contract, Bungie's put up a little statement on its web site, saying: "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. See you starside in 2013."

And there's a little bit of extra pressure on Bungie to deliver, as Activision's agreed to pay a $2.5m bonus should the first of the new games average 90/100 or higher on game review score aggregator GameRankings.com. [LA Times via CVG]