On a recent podcast, Kotaku‘s Jason Schreier, who is their “Destiny authority,” stated, “What Bungie decided was: ‘we can’t do this any more. This is just too much, this is too hard for us to do – the tools that we work with are really hard to deal with. It’s hard for us to make this much content. It’s just hard making content in general.’ And they said ‘we are going to do a drip feed of smaller stuff, and we’re going to put up the Eververse, sell microtransactions, and make money that way.’ And Activision said ‘okay’ – it was a part of their renegotiated deal – and they got to a point where they didn’t have to be cranking out as much content. And now they’re back to the same pattern, where they have to crank out these DLCs and just be making content constantly.”
Let’s be clear about the statement attributed to Bungie; “It’s hard for us to make this much content.” What they are talking about is the time-frame for producing a specific number of DLCs annually based on the contractual agreement between Bungie and Activision.
Bungie certainly has the technical ability to make new content, just not at a speed that maximizes profits on Activision’s schedule. It would require hiring more people at Bungie or outsourcing some of the work, and that means lower profits.
While Bungie is not owned by Activision, they are apparently unable to produce enough content to satisfy the terms of their agreement. This has resulted in two highly flawed Destiny games, one after another, and the loss of massive numbers of active players. The once-loyal player community has also lost almost all of their trust in Bungie. This is truly sad, as Bungie was once beloved in the gaming world.
Trust and player satisfaction are priceless commodities, and both Bungie and Activision must decide what is more important to them. Do they want maximum profits or do they want to produce a great, complete game that players love, play regularly, and stay with for months and years? If they care anything about making a great game, then the two companies must find a way to solve this problem by hiring enough people to produce a complete, content-rich game at launch and maintain a steady flow of exciting, valuable new content.
In the long run, any money that is spent on making a better game will come back to them as players will continue to play the game and buy the DLCs instead of abandoning Destiny 2 by the tens of thousands. If Destiny 2 had been the amazing game we were promised, Bungie would not have needed to lock progression behind a paywall, and players would not be complaining bitterly about the game’s countless flaws. Bungie brought this disaster on themselves through corporate greed and by agreeing to a deal with Activision with terms that Bungie was obviously unable to satisfy.
In 2016, Activision had a net income of $966 million and net revenues of $6.6 billion. Bungie is a private company and does not make their financial statement public, but one would imagine that they are also making a profit — at least, at the moment. Whether Bungie finds continued success is a matter of conjecture, given the problems we are seeing with Destiny 2, their questionable design decisions, their tone-deaf responses to the player community, and their lack of transparency. Restoring our trust will require a Herculean effort, and one must seriously wonder if Bungie is up to the task and willing to make the necessary changes to a very flawed game.
Repeatedly saying “We are listening to your feedback” and then doing little to nothing to resolve the many problems in the game is just a lot of hot air. The player community deserves solutions, with specifics and a time-frame, not vague promises and “lots of discussions with the dev team.”‘
Bungie needs to step up to the plate, admit their mistakes, and show the world they can still make a world-class AAA game. Time’s a wastin, Bungie, so hop to it.