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Report: Bungie at risk of full Sony takeover

Over a month after laying off 100 employees, Bungie's woes continue as its remaining independence seems to hinge wholly on Destiny 2: The Final Shape.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

December 6, 2023

2 Min Read
A trio of Guardians in the reveal trailer for Destiny 2: The Final Shape.
Image via Bungie.

The tumultuous saga at Bungie continues, with a new report from IGN claiming the studio may be completely taken over by Sony depending on the performance of June 2024'sDestiny 2: The Final Shape

Sources speaking to the outlet explained that when Sony acquired the developer last year, Bungie was contractually obligated to meet certain financial goals. Should those goals not be met by a particular amount, Sony can dissolve the current board and take full control of the company. 

Presently, Bungie's board is CEO Pete Parsons, co-founder Jason Jones, CTO Luis Villegas, PlayStation Studios head Herman Hulst, and Sony senior VP Eric Lampel. NetEase's Simon Zhu (which helped Bungie gain independence from Activision Blizzard) is believed to have left following the acquisition.

The potential takeover is what spurred the October layoffs, and sources also claim that Bungie has enacted further cost-cutting measures. Current staff confirmed a hiring freeze at the studio, and that several benefits like holiday bonuses and reduced travel benefits have been scaled back or wholly eliminated.

Morale at Bungie is said to be "soul-crushing" over the last month, not helped by an alleged indifference from management. Leadership reportedly told multiple employees that further layoffs may still be possible, depending entirely on the performance of Final Shape

Employees recalled how they asked leadership if they were taking pay cuts to prevent layoffs, the response to which was that Bungie was "not that kind of company." 

However, that leadership is allegedly a company that's heaped additional responsibilities on outsourced QA testers and become increasingly hostile towards them. Within the last year, workloads for QA staff have increased, while at the same time, management once referred to them in a team meeting as "non-developers."

Many speaking to IGN feel as though Bungie is falling apart, not helped by a leadership that's eroded trust and set up divisions between them and their workers. 

"This isn’t what I came here to do," said one source. "I’m upset. [...] Everyday I walk in afraid that I or my friends are next. No one is safe."

"We know we need Final Shape to do well," added a second source. "And the feeling at the studio is that if it doesn’t we’re definitely looking at more layoffs."

IGN's full report on the state of Bungie and its staff can be read here.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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