It's been an awful year for the gaming industry as various fields from developers and publishers to journalists, have been facing devastating layoffs. Continuing this vicious trend is Sony-owned Bungie.
The developer best known for its gargantuan hits like Halo and Destiny 2 has laid off staff from various divisions, including PR and Art. Amid the layoffs, the developer has told staff that Destiny 2's The Final Shape expansion and the rebooted Marathon have been pushed back.
Destiny 2 The Final Shape and Marathon delayed
Update (10/31/2023)Additional information provided based on insider reports to Jason Schreier and Paul Tassi.
The news first began to appear this afternoon via tweets by now-former Bungie staff. People who were core pillars of the Destiny 2 team, like Liana Ruppert, known as Hippy, a Community Manager and Co-Lead of Accessibility, largely responsible for the weekly TWID, received notice of the layoffs this morning.
Related: When does Destiny 2 maintenance end?
As she mentioned in her tweet, this is an incredibly heartbreaking situation. While staff losing their jobs and security is the most important part of this story, the news doesn't get much better for fans of Bungie's games. In an article by Bloomberg's Jason Schreier, it was reported that Destiny 2: The Final Shape would be delayed by four months, pushing it into June 2024. Also pushed back was the upcoming competitive shooter, Marathon, which now has a tentative 2025 release date.
Bungie has yet to make any official statement regarding the layoffs or delays. The developer and publisher was purchased by Sony on July 15, 2022, for $3.6 billion, with a reported $1.2 billion being spent on retaining staff. This clearly did not happen. What also has failed to bear fruit was Sony's plan for Bungie to help Sony break new ground in the live service games market. Most notable was the cancellation of an announced The Last of Us multiplayer title.
Bloomberg's Jason Schreier released a follow-up report after receiving additional information from insider sources. Bungie has cut an estimated 8% of its workforce, roughly 100 people, weeks after stating revenue was down 45% from projections.
While the plan was to cut costs, employees were instead laid off through various informal means. Much of the staff learned of the layoff after finding their access to systems revoked. Some were called into the office simply to clean out their desks, while managers were not aware of who they would be losing.
Those laid off will receive a minimum of three months severance and Bungie-paid COBRA health insurance. While those eligible will still receive prorated bonuses, any employees on a vested schedule will lose any shares that weren't already vested.
The Destiny 2 community has already been vocal about their lack of confidence in Bungie's ability to nail the landing of the 10-year-long Destiny saga. Multiple rumors have swirled that Destiny 2's PvP modes had all but been abandoned due to staff being moved to Marathon. Additionally, it's abundantly clear that Bungie has been putting in the bare minimum effort for events like Festival of the Lost.
For a live service game that is already starved for meaningful content, this delay means that the upcoming Season 23 will last at least twice as long at six to seven months. Additionally, the proposed plan of releasing seasonal content in meatier batches of three instead of four now seems to be in jeopardy.
In a year fraught with uncertainty in terms of job stability, this is yet another punch to the gut. As someone who has also been affected by the gaming industry's layoffs this year, my heart goes out to these individuals. So, if you see them looking for work via Twitter, be sure to retweet it and give them all the visibility you can.
For more things Bungie, check out How to get the Festival of the Lost Memento in Destiny 2 on Pro Game Guides.