The dust has cleared, and the smoke has settled after one of the most unexpected separations to shake the industry in quite some time. Bungie – after nearly a decade – has elected to end their relationship with their publisher, Activision.
For some, this may be a shock. For others, it’s been a long time coming. Yet, now that it’s here, what does it mean for the future of their beloved spacefaring franchise? It’s no secret that Destiny 2 shared the same rocky beginning that its predecessor did, but now – it very much feels like its in a place that it needs to be. As for the repeated launch woes… well, we’ve an idea or two about that.
You see, if there is one thing that Activision is famous for in the industry – like many other AAA publishers – it’s that they love their annual releases. Call of Duty has been rocking the annual release model now for more than a decade, and it’s absolutely guaranteed that we’ll see the announcement / promo for this year’s Call of Duty iteration just around the corner.
As part of the Activision family, Bungie ultimately answered to them – and not always for the better. It’s hard to look at the decisions that Bungie made regarding Destiny 2’s active lifespan and not feel the shadowy specter of Activison lurking ominously behind them. It seems that for the publisher, making money takes a far, far higher precedence than any other mode of operation. On one hand, they’re only doing what they need to from a business outlook. And yet, the degree to which Activision has pursued their fatter margins deserves to be blasted on all angles.
A key example of this would be Activision’s reaction to the Forsaken expansion that Bungie put out in 2018. Forsaken was, arguably, exactly what Destiny 2 needed to right the ship that it was on. Yet, for Activison, it was viewed as a “failure” for not hitting their projected marks – a point that Bungie has publicly contested vehemently.
We still don’t know the details of the split – or just how Bungie managed to part ways with a publisher that is seemingly during a massive internal overhaul. But what we know beyond any shadow of a doubt is that Bungie is on its own now – for better or for worse.
For al of the die-hard Destiny fans out there, this separation marks a new beginning. Now that Bungie is not beholden to Activision’s annual release schedule, the studio has the potential to drop the sequential installments to the franchise a la Destiny 3 and just keep growing and upgrading their ever-expanding universe. No Destiny 1 or 2 or 3, just Destiny. Just one massive, ever-evolving narrative that continues to expand the locales, characters, and activities that guardians can undertake as they continue on their eternal quest to safeguard the solar system.
Whether this grand vision comes to pass is still up in the air – and it now squarely rests in the hands of Bungie. Given that they know own all of the responsibility for Destiny, the next steps will not only be crucial for their game, but also absolutely vital to demonstrating that the studio is capable of leading itself to glory.