A news story I couldn’t afford not to mention. Seeing as how Destiny is still the game I am spending most of my time with, despite having a “to play” list as long as my arm.
Bungie posted on their website, via Twitter that they were ending their ten year partnership with publisher Activision and breaking away on their own. Meaning that going forward they own the full publishing rights to the franchise and can make all their own designs, free from a profit driven publisher.
Bungie had massive ambitions when it came to originally making Destiny, but lacked the financial capital to make their lofty dreams a reality back in 2008. Thus they gained funding through a publisher. In this case, the publisher being Activision.
In the time since then, Activision’s dabbling in Bungie’s affairs has always been a contentious topic amongst fans of the Destiny franchise. And with Activation’s recent announcement that Destiny wasn’t performing to their financial expectations, it was obvious their ethos and Bungie’s (their public one at least) were really not on the same page.
This announcement doesn’t come as a completely shock though. Last year, Bungie struck a deal with Chinese internet company NetEase. As a part of this deal, they received a $100 million investment from the company to “help the studio build new teams and worlds”.
To translate, this means Bungie have ambitions to become a publishing house themselves and not just a one game developer, which is exciting for them. Between the Halo and Destiny, Bungie have proven themselves more than capable of producing some exceptional video games with very long lasting legacies. I mean, they made two games that redefined the first person shooter genre.
As a person who has no experience in any aspect of how these businesses work, you know my finger is right there on that pulse. So I’ll just list some of the reasons why I think this is a great move for them and mainly for Destiny as an ongoing game:
Why it’s good
- No more console exclusives. I hate any kind of platform exclusive, whether I’m benefiting from them or not. And I get the impression Bungie do too, considering how consumer friendly their forward facing persona is. I’d imagine they’d be up for making the game console cross platform too, although if Sony won’t do it for Fortnite, Bungie have no chance of getting PS4 and Xbox players in the same place.
- Lesser focus on Micro transactions. This one is debatable, Destiny’s implementation of micro transactions has been relatively painless all things considered, with very few items actually locked behind their Silver currency. Eververse has been received well enough at this point that I don’t think they’ll take it out. But it’d be nice to see it become even friendlier.
- More surprises and more risks. Without Activision there to slap them on the wrists. I could see Bungie being a lot more daring and surprising with how they dole out content. They’ve already shown they want to do that with the complex weapon puzzles and staggered release of content. I can see people at Bungie being rewarded for innovative ideas rather than being squashed down for them.
Why it could be bad
- It seems like a big part of the reason that Bungie managed to get their autonomy was thanks to the money that came from NetEase. So I have to wonder if this is just them trading one corporate overlord for another, much like then they left Microsoft initially, only to end up tied to Activision. They might still have the sceptre of the money hanging over them and end up making choices that get them from under another big company like they’ve done multiple times before.
- No safety net. If NetEase do leave them to their own devices, Bungie really are on their own here. If things awry, there is much less wiggle room for them to recover from it. The problems people have had with Destiny since it’s creation, there’s no real way of knowing how much of this was Activision’s influence and how much was just Bungie bumbling their decisions. For better or worse, this will help us know.
Honestly though, I think this is a positive move for both Destiny and Bungie. While I don’t think we’ll see any fruit from this move for a while, I think we’re going to see some wild and adventurous new things out of the studio. And I, for one, can’t wait for it.