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Bungie expands diversity, inclusion, and accessibility initiatives to "be better"

"I want to empower people no matter who they are, where they are from, or how they identify, to do their best work."

Destiny developer Bungie has pledged to work harder to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace, and has also committed to making its games and studio more accessible.

In a series of blog posts, the company said the continued wave of misconduct allegations at major studios like Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard had sparked an internal conversation about its own policies and practices.

Bungie CEO Pete Parsons described the reports of systemic toxicity at those companies as "sobering," and conceded that it could be doing more to "fully live up to our values."

"Inside Bungie, recent news and conversations related to Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) in our industry have opened an honest conversation about how we can be better, both as we look to make forward progress, and as we examine and acknowledge our past," said the chief exec.

"We aren't perfect and appreciate it when concerns are brought to our attention. For the things we've known about, we've taken action, and we are working to address issues as they come up.

"I know speaking up takes real courage, so I'm always grateful when people come forward. I want Bungie to be the best place anyone can ever work in our industry, and I want to empower people no matter who they are, where they are from, or how they identify, to do their best work."

Emphasizing that the work of diversity and inclusion is "never truly complete," Parsons said Bungie will make look to make steady progress by eliminating the mandatory arbitration clause in all of its employee agreements, largely because of a growing concern that arbitration may not be the fairest way to resolve employment complaints.

The studio will also conduct a review of its hiring practices and documents to ensure it does not use "biased language or unfairly subjective or unnecessary requirements," while continuing to invest in tools and processes designed to avoid bias during the application review process.

To remove any hesitancy that Bungie employees might have when it comes to reporting abuse, the company will implement a third-party, anonymous reporting tool that will be hosted by an external organization. That tool will sit alongside the studio's other reporting options, including an internal anonymous channel. 

Other steps, such as the hiring of a chief people officer and diversity and inclusion directior, have also been taken, but Parsons reiterated there is still "more that can be done."

"To anyone who has ever worked for Bungie, who works here today, or will work here in the future: It is our responsibility to keep you safe, to earn your trust, to ensure you have supportive channels to share your experiences, and to demonstrate through our actions that we hold everyone -- at every level -- to the highest standard of personal and professional behavior. It is our responsibility to be better and to do better," added the CEO.

Meanwhile, to help cultivate a culture of accessibility for both players and workers, Bungie has established a new inclusion club called "Accessibility at Bungie."

The group has been founded with the mission of educating everyone in the company to better identify barriers, improving workplace accessibility and the playability of its games, and partnering with other accessibility organizations throughout the games industry.

"Accessibility at Bungie is proud to have representation from a wide variety of disciplines in its membership. They are the people who create systems, interfaces, experiences, audio, and visuals, coordinators of Bungie’s talent, and professionals who listen to Bungie's community," reads a blog post.

"When Accessibility at Bungie can advise Bungie's talented coworkers and leadership on keeping their experiences as inclusive as possible, we can improve the way we make games that the club hopes everyone will love, regardless of a disability or barrier some might encounter."

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