Behind the scenes at Destiny 2 developer Bungie, morale is reportedly at an all-time low following massive layoffs at the company and other cost-cutting measures. in a new IGN reportssources at the studio claim that a “spirit-crushing” atmosphere has been created and that the company is in danger of being completely absorbed by Sony.
While Bungie was acquired by Sony in 2022 for $3.6 billion, on paper the company has still managed to operate relatively independently. After the acquisition, its board consists of Herman Halst, president of PlayStation Studios, Eric Lempel, Sony’s senior vice president, Luis Villegas, Bungie’s chief technology officer, Jason Jones, Bungie’s co-founder, and Pete Parsons, Bungie’s CEO. Basically, Parsons has the final say on decisions, but the point is that Bungie is bound by Sony to meet certain financial goals.
If Bungie fails to meet these goals, Sony can legally dissolve the board and take full voting power of the company. It’s a scenario that seemed likely after Lightfall was released earlier this year, as poor expansion caused the studio to miss its 2023 financial forecast by 45% and Destiny 2’s player count to hit an all-time low. . According to IGN, Parsons decided to lay off 100 employees across multiple divisions in an effort to cut costs, while other morale-boosting initiatives at the company were scaled back significantly.
Bungie has also instituted a hiring freeze, eliminated vacation bonuses, cut travel budgets, as well as halted or ended several employee benefits, such as annual compensation adjustments that align with market rates. According to the report, when employees asked if Bungie’s leadership would also cut wages to avoid layoffs, a division manager said Bungie “isn’t that kind of company.”
Morale has taken a big hit, with IGN reporting that Bungie’s top management seems to be showing “a surprising amount of indifference or even flippant or outright hostility” about the current situation. There are reportedly more layoffs if The Final Shape fails to outperform Lightfall, something Bungie is looking to avoid by delaying development from February to June.
The developer has balanced its independence between periods working under Microsoft and a publishing deal with Activision Blizzard. After splitting from Activision Blizzard in 2019, Bungie quickly established itself as a leader in the live-service games market while maintaining a high level of employee morale. According to IGN’s sources, the current mood at Bungie is that the era of “populism” is over, and trust between employees and management is broken.
Currently, Bungie is in a precarious position as employees find themselves caught in the middle of weak leadership and Sony’s high expectations for Destiny Studios.
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