An Ex-Bungie board member shared his thoughts on the now-over partnership between Destiny developer and Activision. For those who don’t remember, back in 2010, Bungie signed a deal with Activision which lasted until 2019 when the two broke ties. Activision was not happy with the money Destiny 2 was making them so they moved away forcing Bungie to self-publish Shadowkeep and this yeat’s Beyond Light expansion.
In an interview with HiddenXperia, composer Marty O’Donnell explained that although he was part of the board of directors who made the initial decision back in 2010, the partnership was not “a marriage made in heaven.”
O’Donnell described a dinner between Activision and Bungie before the deal was signed. O’Donnell says he was talking to Activision CFO saying “be nice to the goose”. This was referring to Bungie being the goose that laid the golden egg for Activision. According to O’Donnell, Activision CFO told him sometimes “there’s nothing like a good Foie Gras” (the method of force-feeding geese before slaughter). O’Donnell says that was the moment when the red flag went off.
O’Donnell was fired from Bungie back in 2014 where he soon after sued them for damages and won the case. He claims the problem was with Activision trying to control the Destiny IP. The publisher did not own it and from the start, this was made clear. However, it was the main reason why Bungie went with Activision for the fact that they would not own the IP during the partnership.
He also claims that despite the contract, Activision still insisted on moulding the IP due to the actions of Bungie leadership. According to O’Donnell, the publisher did not have the legal right to mess with the IP. However, poor leadership at the studio allowed Activision to walk all over them. O’Donnell did not stand for it and he was fired.
With all this going on, Destiny 2 is still a success and coming to PS5 and Xbox Series X. Sure, it is not as strong as the original game but Bungie is doing a decent job keeping it afloat. At least the studio still owns its property. O’Donnell adds that other publishers were in talks with Bungie during the move away from Microsoft. However, none of them allowed Bungie to retain the IP as Activision did. At one stage, the studio almost went back to its former owner Microsoft.
You can watch the full interview down below;