The former Bungie composer Martin O’Donnell has spilled some pretty serious tea regarding the partnership with Activision, calling the deal “bad from the start” and “not a match made in heaven at all” during an interview with HiddenXperia and flying directly in the face of Bungie’s official line that Activision wasn’t an “overlord.”
O’Donnell, who was on the board of directors at the time, shouldered some of the blame for the decision in spite of assumptions that making the deal was “a risk right from the get go” and “exactly as bad as we thought it to be. ” He also recounts what he called a “red flag” moment while having dinner with some of the big execs at Activision before the deal was signed.
“I’m sitting next to this Austrian guy, and he says ‘Hey, Marty, I hear that you have this saying: be nice to the goose.’ […] and I told him it’s important to be nice to the goose, because the goose is where the golden egg comes from. […] And he goes, ‘Yeah, I like that story, golden eggs, the goose, you know but sometimes there’s nothing like a good foie gras.’
“I’m in the middle of sipping some wine and he says that and I’m like ‘Oh my God.’ I felt like I was in a Twilight Zone episode. What I should have done is stood up, flipped the table, and told all the other Bungie guys, ‘We have to get away from here, now.'”
“I thought we were protected […] and I was wrong, My gut instinct was ‘This is bad, we shouldn’t do this.’ That’s hindsight, though.”
Readers will recall that Bungie and Activision signed a four-game partnership in 2010 that was suddenly split, causing no less than three different lawsuit threats from investors. Martin O’Donnell was also the one who won his court case against Bungie, retaining the shares that he was owed after he was terminated “without cause” in 2014.
The video is embedded after the break, set to the point where O’Donnell answers the question about his feelings regarding the Activision/Bungie split.