You might have heard yesterday that Bungie has split from Activision after an 8 year partnership. This partnership allowed Bungie to do some incredible things with the Destiny IP, and Destiny 2 in particular. However, the split isn’t bad news at all, in fact some employees were reportedly popping champagne during the celebratory announcement at the studio.
This isn’t the first time Bungie has had to wrestle independence from a publisher either. During their work on the Halo IP Bungie were acquired by Microsoft, and only established independence in 2007. Apparently champagne was popped at the celebratory announcement meeting for that one too.
Activision has been a pretty terrible influence on Bungie and the Destiny games. I think we can all admit that. With Destiny 1 they were very much the driving influence behind the focus on monetisation. When it came to Destiny 2 that didn’t change much, but at least the monetisation was scaled back. What hurt for Destiny 2 was the fact that Activision were so blatant with their disappointment in Forsaken sales, while Bungie were very happy with how the DLC had performed.
So will Destiny 2 benefit from the Bungie and Activision split?
In my opinion yes, the game is going to benefit massively from the split. Bungie have already come out and said that their roadmap for the future of Destiny 2 remains unchanged. This means that the seasons they laid out in the roadmap for the Annual Pass content drops are still going to come to Destiny 2.
However, I think that the fact that this news has come a day or so after what is being called the disaster of Niobe Labs is very telling. Guardians were extremely unhappy with how long it was taking the community to solve the Niobe Labs puzzles, but the wider community were more bothered about the fact that this puzzle seemed to be geared towards drawing views for the game on Twitch and YouTube.
This is where the first benefit to the game comes in. Without Activision constantly watching for monetisation options, I think Bungie is going to scale back on where they charge Guardians for content a lot. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see less and less stuff that’s restricted to the Eververse in the not too distant future.
While they don’t go into it in their post, I think bungie is going to be bringing a lot more free live events to Destiny 2 in the future too. Events such as Crimson Days, The Dawning, and Festival of the Lost, are all great and add something unique for a brief window of time. They’re also events that were marred by the many opportunities to buy cosmetics, something that takes away from the most special and rare of collectibles from them.
Now Bungie has split from Activision they’re effectively an independent developer. Indie developers put more time and effort into their games than most, and Destiny 2 could certainly do with more of the indie treatment.
I’ve seen big budget games with roadmaps go down one particular path, the one that was defined before the game launched. This is the case for a lot of titles because the publishers, or Triple A developers, want to see how the title is going to bring in extra cash throughout its lifecycle.
Indie games are different in that they aren’t built around a content distribution plan. They’re built to please the community. If community members say something should change, it does. If the community asks for something for long enough, it gets added.
We’ve seen bungie act like an indie developer before, bringing the Sparrow Racing League to life, nerfing and buffing weapons in the Crucible each week, and adding brand new surprising game modes such as Gambit.
I believe that without the tie to Activision, Bungie can make Destiny 2 a truly wonderful game to be a part of as a community. Even if they’re working on a Destiny 3 for the Playstation 5 and Xbox Two, I think it’s going to be all the better for this divergence. Let me know what you think in the comments.
Image Source: Bungie