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Bungie condemns potential Supreme Court decision to end Roe v. Wade

Update: Destiny 2 developer Bungie, Guild Wars 2 developer ArenaNet, and other studios are publicly decrying efforts to end access to reproductive health care in the United States.

Bryant Francis, Senior Editor

May 4, 2022

3 Min Read
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Destiny 2 developer Bungie has taken the unconventional move of publicly decrying a potential Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe V. Wade, the 1973 legal precedent that declared legal bans of abortion to be unconstitutional. 

On Monday, Politico broke the news that the United States Supreme Court is circulating a draft legal opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that would overturn the fifty-year precedent. If the draft represents the court's final decision (Chief Justice Roberts says it does not), it would immediately allow several states to ban access to abortion, with many more to follow.

Critics of the decision have pointed out that this draft opinion would open the door to also reversing other notable Supreme Court decisions, including ones that overturned bans on gay marriage, bans on access to contraception, and quite possibly bans on racial discrimination.

On Tuesday night, Bungie became the first large game developer to decry the possibility that Alito's draft might become new legal precedent. "At Bungie we believe that everyone has a right to choose their own path and that freedom is expressed across all facets of life," it stated in a blog. "The leaked draft decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade represents a blow to freedom in America and is a direct attack on human rights."

The company alleged that the decision would create a "divide" between American residents who can possess the fundamental right to make healthcare decisions for themselves, and those who cannot. "This decision, should it become final, will have far-reaching consequences that will be felt for generations across socio-economic lines."

It also made a direct statement saying it would do its best to protect its employees from this decision. "Bungie is committed to safeguarding the freedom and privacy of its employees and providing support to all employees affected by this decision," it wrote.

As states like Texas have aggressively moved to restrict access to abortion in the last few months, game developers have begun to voice discomfort with how many studios are setting up shop in states that restrict reproductive rights. Many are beginning to worry that unequal access to healthcare could damage efforts to improve diversity in the video game industry.

Bungie is not the first large employer to make similar promises to employees. Both Citibank and Amazon have offered to help employees travel to states where abortion is legal if they require one. 

Bungie is, however, the first (and currently only) large employer in game development to make such a statement. As we close in on 48 hours after the draft's leak from Politico, no other game companies have voiced similar sentiments. This appears to be a contrast to how companies responded to the Black Lives Matter protests that erupted after the murder of George Floyd in 2020. 

We should note that though Bungie is committing to stand up for employees who might need abortions, it has struggled historically with how women, LGBTQ employees, and employees from other marginalized backgrounds have been treated at the company.

Now the studio seems to be making up for lost ground on this front. Not only did it encourage community members to donate to several abortion support networks, it offered the following rationale for why it is making this statement:

"Standing up for reproductive choice and liberty is not a difficult decision to make, and Bungie remains dedicated to upholding these values."

Update: Fellow Washington-area studios ArenaNet and Outerloop Games have joined Bungie in speaking out about Politico's leaked draft of the upcoming Supreme Court decision ending Roe v. Wade. 

Canadian studio Hinterland Games has also released a statement, stating that it is "consulting with both internal and external stakeholders around what concrete steps we can take to best address this assault on reproductive freedoms." 

About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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