All the pieces fit together now. Halo creator Bungie put a call out in June to steampunk fans with cosplay gear, asking them to show up in costume for a photo shoot for some game art. It turns out that this was connected to the very first game from Bungie Aerospace, an iPad-only strategy game called Crimson: Steam Pirates.
The game, which is coming to the iPad's App Store next week on September 1 as a free download, puts players in the shoes of steampunk pirates for turn-based ship-to-ship battles. Developer Harebrained Schemes received support and resources from Bungie under its Aerospace program, which seeks to aid mobile and social game developers. To be clear: this has nothing to do with Bungie's work on an Activision title.
Crimson's first chapter, consisting of eight adventures with protagonist Thomas Blood, will be free, but the story will continue in the $1.99 second chapter. The game's website mentions two "pass-and-play" multiplayer scenarios, multiple ship types and crew members with unique abilities, and stats, leaderboards and Facebook integration through Bungie.net. It looks pretty neat, and certainly no one can argue with paying nothing just to try it out.