Bungie becomes an independent studio after split with Activision
In an announcement that really comes as no surprise to anyone, Bungie and Activation today announced an end to their 8-year relationship.
Unlike its previous split with Microsoft, this time Bungie will retain full rights to all things Destiny and self-publish the game from today.
We have enjoyed a successful eight-year run and would like to thank Activision for their partnership on Destiny. Looking ahead, we’re excited to announce plans for Activision to transfer publishing rights for Destiny to Bungie.
With our remarkable Destiny community, we are ready to publish on our own, while Activision will increase their focus on owned IP projects.
In 2007, Bungie split with Microsoft with the latter retaining rights to Halo. Bungie had the ambitious dream of a first-person-shooter/ RPG existing in a shared online world. To do so, they needed some serious backup.
When we first launched our partnership with Activision in 2010, the gaming industry was in a pretty different place. As an independent studio setting out to build a brand new experience, we wanted a partner willing to take a big leap of faith with us.
We had a vision for Destiny that we believed in, but to launch a game of that magnitude, we needed the support of an established publishing partner.
However, the journey with Activision wasn’t all a bed of roses, with reports of tensions between the two. Destiny was delayed over a year, setting back the agreed 10-year schedule. Both Destiny games initially launched to complaints from players that the games never matched the vision they were sold.
Bungie reinvigorated both games with two notable DLCs — The Taken King and Forsaken— which are widely credited as being the only things that kept Destiny from death.
However, recent earnings results revealed by Activision that sales of Destiny 2 Forsaken didn’t meet expectations and many feared the implications of that. Players suspected this would lead to more unpleasant monetisation in-game.
Perhaps this was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and sealed the deal for both parties.
An interesting tweet from industry veteran Jason Schreier of Kotaku tells of Bungie staff cheering loudly at the announcement.
At today's meeting announcing the news, Bungie staff cheered loudly. Can't over-emphasize how happy they are not just to get away from Activision, but to have a game that they now own completely. Imagine a Destiny free from Activision's restrictive annualized schedule!
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) January 10, 2019
While the future of Destiny remains uncertain now that Bungie will self-publish going forward, it’s a lot of work to publish and distribute a game like Destiny. But not all is doom and gloom.
Last year, Bungie reportedly received a substantial $100m investment from Chinese Internet firm NetEase to help the studio in its projects.
It’s safe to assume that Destiny will benefit from that resource pool. Additionally, Bungie has outlined a new content payment model with an annual pass that serves up a constant feed of fresh content.
Perhaps now, free from publisher restrictions, Bungie will be more agile and try out fresh and exciting things more easily to satiate the player base and deliver the kind of game it wants to.
With Forsaken, we’ve learned, and listened, and leaned in to what we believe our players want from a great Destiny experience. Rest assured there is more of that on the way.
We’ll continue to deliver on the existing Destiny roadmap, and we’re looking forward to releasing more seasonal experiences in the coming months, as well as surprising our community with some exciting announcements about what lies beyond.
Ever since the release of Destiny 2 Forsaken last year, we’ve seen a shift in the way Bungie delivers the game and it’s been arguably been the best time for players of the game.
However, I’m excited to see what the team at Bungie do in the years to come. Here’s a link to the full statement from Bungie.