This news update is essentially a tale of two sides of the same Destiny 2 coin: On the one side, there’s the public-facing statement from Bungie as it acknowledges reaction to layoffs, game delays, and the looter shooter wildly missing a revenue mark, while on the other, there’s new insight that characterizes a “general mood […] of anger, sadness and fear” within the studio.
Insider reporting from Forbes offers up summaries of various discussions among Bungie’s devs and leadership, including word that leadership looked at “other levers” to avoid layoffs, confirmation that CEO Pete Parsons and other executives forfeited bonuses ahead of layoffs (although employees weren’t made aware of this until later), and explanation about the previously referenced 45% revenue dip, which is characterized by Bungie as “logical” and not a “wildly inflated projection” thanks to a drop in player engagement and spending post-Lightfall despite the expansion selling “very well.”
As for the teams that were hit by layoffs, Forbes reports the ones that were most affected include members of a previously formed PvP “strike team” and the player security team. On the former point, the previously promised PvP map pack should still release on schedule despite the headcount hit.
Despite these explanations, the overall level of morale within Bungie is understandably low. Insiders are saying that many devs are angry that the leaders who made these bad decisions are still holding their jobs (and employees are reportedly not being quiet about the fact in meetings). Employee pushback against microtransaction practices is being met with resistance from leadership as “necessary” (players are still buying old expansions and event cards). And there are concerns that the desire to make The Final Shape better than previous expansions will impose crunch on developers even with the multi-month delay.
It’s all building up to a point where Final Shape is becoming a make-or-break release for Bungie, adding further pressure and toil on devs who are already reportedly crestfallen by the layoffs and player negativity.
As for that statement from Bungie to players, it acknowledges feedback and concerns about the Lightfall expansion, the reveal of Final Shape, and the game’s recent seasons, while closing with the promise to make the next expansion on par with other beloved ones like Forsaken and The Witch Queen. “We know we have lost a lot of your trust,” reads part of the statement. “Destiny needs to surprise and delight. We haven’t done this enough and that’s going to change.”
Player reaction on Reddit has been similarly morose, with people discussing the reported situation within Bungie, the dire straits Destiny 2 is now in, and what it all means for the next expansion. In short, there is a lot to digest right now for both fans and employees.