The Bungie-Activision split could herald tough times ahead for Destiny 2

    
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Following last week’s announcement that Bungie would be cutting its business ties with Activision and taking sole control of Destiny 2, fans and players rejoiced that the studio was finally out from under the proverbial thumb of the publisher that many saw as the source of many of the game’s more maligned design decisions. According to a recent piece from Polygon, however, the split might not be entirely worth celebrating just yet.

The article points out that “while Bungie ended its partnership with Activision, Destiny 2 is still a legacy product designed and launched as part of a deal that no longer exists,” and as such, the studio “could be tempted to bring Destiny 2’s run to an early end once it has satisfied all of its existing promises.” Although Bungie has confirmed that it plans to deliver on all of the content updates laid out in its 2019 roadmap, the studio has been rather vague on what lies beyond.

In addition, the article warns of the potential influence of NetEase on Bungie’s future endeavors, as the Chinese company — which achieved recent notoriety for its partnership with Blizzard to create Diablo Immortal but in fact has been partnered with Blizzard for over a decade on multiple projects — “invested $100 million in Bungie in June 2018,” and it’s this funding, in part, that is allowing Bungie to pull away from Activision’s grasp. Of course, as the article itself notes, just because NetEase has a stake in Bungie doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to meddle in the studio’s affairs, and it’s probably too early to be jumping to any conclusions.

The takeaway here seems to be that, although the Bungie-Activision split could be just the good news that it’s been hailed as so far, it may have some negative effects on the future of Destiny 2 and, if it comes to that, Destiny 3 or whatever else Bungie has in store for the future. How exactly the effects of the separation will ultimately materialize, however, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Source: Polygon

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rafael12104

Bungie’s saga is beginning to sound like a new epic Netflix episodic show.

I’m clueless as to how this will all shake out.

BUT, I’m starting to cringe at the thought of Netease putting their paws on everything.

Waiting for the betrayal plot twist in the aforementioned Netflix drama. I’ll call it “Code Red.”

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Armsman

Of course, as the article itself notes, just because NetEase has a stake in Bungie doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to meddle in the studio’s affairs, and it’s probably too early to be jumping to any conclusions.

^^^
Uh huh. No Corporation just ‘gives’ $100 million to keep their hands off. I’m sure Netease has an idea of what and how they want to leverage the investment (on which I’m sure they expect returns); they’ve made in Bungie.

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Tuor of Gondolin

Yep. Bungie just seems to go from bad to worse when it comes to being under other companies’ control. Microsoft. Activision. Now the Chinese. Sad.

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qweazdak

So far Tencent has done a good job keeping out of path of exiles development.

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Bruno Brito

Activision itself heralds tough times ahead for everyone.

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Danny Smith

Yeah no shit, how many millions in marketing alone have they lost? to say nothing of your flaws no longer being able to shift blame wise.

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bobfish

Can anyone tell me what in Destiny 1/2 Activision is responsible for?

I play the game casually, but I haven’t come across anything which was obviously pushed from the publisher, even the biggest complaint thing, Eververse and micro trans are a Bungie thing.

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Greaterdivinity

Funding development and handling pretty much all the marketing/publishing duties (ads, pr efforts, manufacturing of boxes, getting into retail channels etc. etc.)

The reason you don’t see anything “pushed” is because that’s not really how publishers work. There’s nothing that’s going to have a flashing “ACTIVISION APPROVED” sign on it or anything. And reportedly, Activision hasn’t been super hands-on with the game, though they have pushed for things like more Eververse integration (which, as you said, was Bungie’s idea to begin with) and were apparently going to continue to push Bungie for more monetization as Destiny 2, or at least Forsaken, missed their performance targets according to earnings calls.

TLDR: Probably not a big shift in terms of in-game decisions, especially in the short term, the biggest change this brings is freeing Bungie from their contractual obligations for Destiny 3.

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Roger Melly

Maybe it will be tough times for Destiny 2 but perhaps Bungie will have a brighter future without Activision’s influence ?

It is a pity Blizzard ever got involved with Activision in the first place , the quality of the games they produced and the content for WoW went downhill after Activision came on the scene .

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Jaymes Buckman

“Legion”by itself is proof pf the Activisoon era’s worthiness.

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Greaterdivinity

They merged at the end of 2007. Lich King released at the end of 2008, and was the peek of WoW subscriptions and popularity over a year into its launch. And by all accounts MoP was solid (except IIRC for its content drought, though that was far from new for WoW) as was Legion.

Beyond that we got Overwatch, which I think most would argue is a super high quality, ultra-polished game, regardless of whether or not you like it.

SC2 came out in 2010 and was well received, as were its expansions if memory serves.

D3 came out in 2012 and at launch was an unmitigated disaster for a whole host of reasons, though I’ve yet to see any evidence to suggest Activision was involved in any aspect of its development or monetization or that the RMAH was the idea of anyone else other than “Fuck that loser” and his team. The expansion was far better received and came out 2 years later.

HS/HotS are both pretty good. HotS was rough but Blizzard has spent years turning it into a very solid little MOBA, even if they did just drop it and deliver a gut-punch to the community. And HS was well received and popular for years, even if it’s quieting down now – in part from what I’ve read due to how Blizzard releases/balances cards leading to issues for serious players.

I mean outside of some spotty WoW expansions (which isn’t unusual really), I’m struggling to think of how the quality of Blizzard games has meaningfully changed in the years between pre-2007 and now. We’re starting to see bigger shifts as of this year when Activision is finally starting to exert their influence on Blizzard so this is fresh in everyone’s minds, but it’s also important to keep perspective and not let recent events cloud memories.

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Armsbend

SC2 had issue at launch with the fans. It was split into 3 games when normally it would have been one. So the story goes I didn’t buy at launch.

2010-2013 were bad years for Blizz. They got it together after D3 sucked it up. Hoping they can get it together now. Seems like they have to with ATVI not doing well lately.

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Greaterdivinity

Sorta kinda – their split was a different approach to expansions/campaign compared to the first release. The first one had short-ish campaigns for each race, with the sequel adding more campaigns for each. With this one they took each races campaign and essentially made it stand alone. Criticism of the direction shift is far, as plenty of folks didn’t like it, but it was hardly a major issue or indicative of anything negative beyond “we’re taking a different approach”.

Really, their only miss was D3 and that was a miss with player. It sold stupid well and was a critical darling (much to my continued consternation. How its server issues didn’t slaughter its review score at launch but it did for games like SimCity speaks more to reviewers fandom having a bigger impact on their scores than they’d like to admit), it was the player reaction as they saw how badly Blizzard fucked things up that was the issue.

But again, you’d be hard pressed to convince me that Activision was to blame for any of that right now. I’ve seen zero evidence to suggest Activision had any involvement in development or put any pressure on the team. Even in the D3 post-mortem at GDC after RoS (watched the whole thing not too long ago, regularly raging at some of the stupid decisions the team made early on even in the context of explanations as to why) there’s nary a mention of Activision, it’s purely about how it was the developers decisions that ended up missing the mark in a big way more than anything else.

Really, the Activision pressure only seems to be visible starting in recent years, with last year being obviously the most blatant examples of this. Prior to this it’s largely been folks, in my experience, looking to shift blame for bad choices from Blizzard, who they like, to Activision, who they don’t.

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BDJ

This times 1000, especially your last sentence.

The only people responsible for the design choices at blizzard are blizzard. Im sure they’re told stuff like get your numbers up or hit X metric, but blizzard in the end decides how to do that.

This isn’t like the situation where Lucas Arts stepped in and forced SOE to change SWG to NGE.

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xpsync

So busy, crazy swamped but like to mention this scenario quickly that i was talking with my boys about last night.

Wouldn’t it be epic if Bungie returns to glory, as in showing just how terrible it is for companies to be swallowed up by Activation, EA.

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BDJ

Return to glory? Activision published. They didn’t develop. The only people responsible for the design of D2 is Bungie. Period.

If they do make Destiny 3 and it happens to perform better, than D2, its because of lessons learned. Of course the conspiracy nutters will come out saying “ACTIVISION IS SATAN!!!”, but that’s simply not the case.

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Armsbend

Huh? Someone thinks the game isn’t dead? Find me that person I want to have them committed.

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wratts

The base campaign was meh, and Curse of Osiris was awful, but the content since then has been quite a bit better. Really enjoyed the Forsaken campaign and the Gambit mode is pretty addictive.

It’s not something I could call a main, everyday game, but for a B2P shooter to go in a couple times a week and blow stuff up it’s got a nice feel

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Armsbend

I am saying right now – after the split. I’m not talking about the game in December – I’m talking now to the future. It isn’t going to be worked on beyond a smidgen or two.