Bungie and Activision have announced that they are ending their eight year relationship, and as part of the divorce settlement Bungie are assuming full publishing rights for the Destiny franchise.
The news brings a somewhat premature end to the 10-year publishing deal that the two companies agreed back in 2010. In a joint statement announcing the news, Bungie and Activision said:
“Today, we’re announcing plans for Bungie to assume full publishing rights and responsibilities for the Destiny franchise. Going forward, Bungie will own and develop the franchise, and Activision will increase its focus on owned IP and other projects. Activision and Bungie are committed to a seamless transition for the Destiny franchise and will continue to work closely together during the transition on behalf of the community of Destiny players around the world.”
Activision acknowledged this news on their Twitter account, posting a thank you message to Destiny fans.
Thank you Guardians. It’s been an honor and a privilege to help bring the world of Destiny to life for you. pic.twitter.com/EB1y19OTD8
— Activision (@Activision) 10 January 2019
In a seperate statement over on their website, Bungie explained their need for Activision in the early days of Destiny, before explaining that the transition is already underway and talking about looking forward to future content:
“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.
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.
The planned transition process is already underway in its early stages, with Bungie and Activision both committed to making sure the handoff is as seamless as possible.
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.”
In the meantime, Blizzard has also taken to Twitter to confirm that Destiny 2 on PC will still be supported on BattleNet, so players shouldn’t see any disruption.
Destiny 2 will still receive full support on BattleNet and we do not anticipate any disruption to our services or your gameplay experience. https://t.co/FFOE1iae3R
— BlizzardCS (@BlizzardCS) 10 January 2019
While this news is somewhat surprising and does spell a premature end to the 10-year deal between the two parties, there have been some signs of tension between the two companies throughout the years, and fans have also been quite vocal about Activision’s involvement. Back in November, Activision publicly displayed disappointment in Destiny 2, saying that the game was “not performing as well as we’d like” and adding that they were “working to accelerate the pace of live operations innovation and improve the speed with which we release new content to keep our players engaged and to provide new opportunities for monetisation.”
It’s that final word, monetisation, that many players have a problem with, feeling that Activision are more focused on how they can rinse more money from players rather than provide a better experience. Destiny 2 has faced a lot of backlash from players about its use of microtransactions, something which most players are blaming on Activision. While there is no confirmation on who makes those kind of decisions, it would be hard to argue that Activision’s influence hasn’t played a big part considering their implementation of similiar systems in franchises such as Call of Duty.
Bungie, understandably, didn’t take too well to the public criticism from Activision, with Destiny 2 Director Luke Smith saying on Twitter: “We are not disappointed with Forsaken. We set out to build a game that Destiny players would love, and at Bungie, we love it too. Building Destiny for players who love it is and will remain our focus going forward.”
So, Bungie have set out on their own, and they know that they have a long road ahead. Concluding their statement, Bungie said:
“We know self-publishing won’t be easy; there’s still much for us to learn as we grow as an independent, global studio, but we see unbounded opportunities and potential in Destiny. We know that new adventures await us all on new worlds filled with mystery, adventure, and hope. We hope you’ll join us there.”
We don’t know how this split will affect the future of Destiny, but I do know one thing – I have more faith in it now that it’s entirely in Bungie’s hands.