It’s already been reported that life within Destiny 2 and Marathon developer Bungie is extremely unhappy in the wake of recent layoffs and the missed target of leadership’s sarcastically high revenue expectations, but some new insider reporting shows that things are even worse than first discovered, as Bungie’s developers face the closing walls of financial target requirements, the potential for even more layoffs, job outsourcing, and the very real threat of Sony taking over the formerly independent studio.
Multiple anonymous developers who are still employed at the studio report that Sony and Bungie split the studio’s board membership, with Bungie CEO Pete Parsons holding any tiebreaker vote. However, if Bungie misses unspecified financial thresholds by too great a margin, then Sony can dissolve the board completely and initiate a full takeover of the studio. This threat prompted not only the previously reported layoffs but additional cost-cutting measures like a hiring freeze, reduced travel budgets, elimination of holiday bonuses, and the dissolution of several morale-boosting company events.
Adding to these hits in studio morale are reports that management within Bungie reacted to employee anger at the layoffs with “a surprising amount of indifference or even outright flippancy or hostility,” and during multiple meetings employees were told that layoffs were another “lever” that leadership would pull again. Devs are also saying that those who were let go from Bungie were considered studio leaders who spearheaded multiple inclusion efforts within the company.
In addition to these threats, employees are expecting a push towards outsourcing jobs – an effort that has reportedly already begun at the QA department. QA workers within Bungie are also saying that they are facing increasing workloads, significant punishments for even minor infractions, and a noted level of hostility and dismissive attitude from leadership, with employees in QA being called “non-developers” during one department meeting.
It’s all adding up to what’s being called a “soul-crushing” atmosphere and a feeling of “‘us vs them’ between leadership and workers” according to current developers. “We know we need Final Shape to do well,” one source is quoted as saying. “And the feeling at the studio is that if it doesn’t we’re definitely looking at more layoffs.”