When one of the world’s biggest videogame publishers, Activision, paired with one of the greatest developers in the western world Bungie, to make an ambitious and innovative experience that would blur the lines between single and multiplayer gameplay the world waited with bated breath to see what wonders awaited us.
Both companies had a hand in creating and defining the first person shooter genre for the last few generations, Bungie with the Xbox affiliated Halo franchise and Activision with Call of Duty. The arrival of Destiny was supposed to be the culmination of two of the best minds in the business creating the next genre-defining masterpiece. It didn’t quite work out that way.
Since it’s release in 2014, the result of their collaboration, Destiny, has been plagued with controversy with both questionable design and anti-consumer practices. The original release was defined by a series of psychological tricks designed to get you hooked, only without any interesting content to make the skinner boxes worth it. The late game content was an endless grind for loot, and it even locked players out if they didn’t keep up with DLC purchases.
The announcement of Destiny 2 itself was a scandal, a word that kept cropping up throughout its time in the news cycle. There never seemed to be a month where it was free of consumer outrage and every time it was brought to the forefront of the minds of gamers, it was because of yet another fresh PR disaster.
Much of this ire was thought to be the fault of notoriously ruthless publisher Activision/Blizzard. After all, Halo never faced anywhere as many accusations of greed and avarice. Activision, however, have faced scrutiny every since their CEO Bobby Kotick claimed he kept his employees in a constant state of ‘scepticism and pessimism and fear’ for their jobs. This was ten years ago and pressure from the community hasn’t let up since. It should be noted, though, that Activision/Blizzard have rarely allowed such influence to affect their business practices.
However, after what they claim have been disappointing sales figures, Activision have decided not to renew their partnership with Bungie. It has been reported that nowhere has this news been celebrated as much as Bungie’s offices. Their employees met the story with the popping of champagne corks. It leaves the question, how will this change the destiny of Destiny? Will it mean a significant improvement in quality for Destiny 2? Or will they start from scratch and begin again with Destiny 3?
But in this new age for the studio, only one thing is for certain. However Bungie chooses to move forward, they no longer have Activision to shield them from the community. Whatever happens next is on them and them alone. It will be interesting to see how the post-Activision Destiny differs from one that was firmly under its control. If indeed there is any noticeable difference at all.