Bungie and Activision worked together on the Destiny franchise up until the two companies split up earlier this year, with Bungie self-publishing the sci-fi series going forward. Bungie’s David Dague has now discussed the split-up in more detail, notably dispelling the idea that Activision was a “prohibitive overlord.”
“I think we need to dispel the notion Activision was some prohibitive overlord that wasn’t letting us do awesome things,” Dague told Eurogamer. “We launched this franchise with Activision, naturally and over the course of time we both decided we had different goals for what we wanted it to be, so we both went our separate ways. It was amicable, and here we are making this game on our own, doing what we think we need to do to make it awesome.”
In addition to funding and offering a deep network of resources in publishing, sales, marketing, and more, Activision put some of its own studios, High Moon and Vicarious Visions, to work on Destiny content to help spread the development load. Those studios will no longer be working on Destiny, so how does Bungie plan to fill that gap?
“By doing all the work ourselves!” Dague said. “We’re committed to doing all the things we’re doing right now–Solstice of Heroes is ours, Moments of Triumph, Shadowkeep, Season of the Undying and three more seasons after that… There’s really nothing more to say but we’re on our own now and Destiny will be what we make of it.”
“Working on the game was starting to wear people down,” Smith said. He added that all of the work that went into creating the new content “put the team into an unsustainable development cycle.”
Going forward, and now with Activision no longer having a say, Smith said Bungie has developed a “more systemic, standardized set of mechanics for progression to keep our teams healthier.”
Going back to Dague, he told Eurogamer that the day-to-day development on Destiny hasn’t changed that much following Bungie’s split with Activision. “Things aren’t that different, really,” Dague said.
Discussing the Activision-Bungie break-up earlier this year, Activision management said the Destiny franchise was failing to meet its commercial projections. “Destiny is highly critically acclaimed, high quality content, but it was not meeting our financial expectations,” executive Coddy Johnson said.