Activision and Bungie broke up recently, with Bungie getting the rights to Destiny and announcing it will self-publish the sci-fi series going forward. Now, for the first time Destiny’s franchise director, Luke Smith, is speaking out about the breakup and what it means. OK, so Smith did already respond with a fiery tweet, but this is his first full statement on the matter.
Speaking on behalf of the Destiny team, Smith started off his note by thanking Activision for supporting Bungie and the Destiny franchise over the years. Bungie and Activision locked down a 10-year publishing deal back in 2010 for a game that we now know is Destiny. The first game was released in 2014 with a sequel arriving in 2017, in addition to numerous expansions. Activision was behind Destiny and Bungie in a big way, even if the relationship isn’t continuing. Smith also thanked Destiny support studios High Moon and Vicarious Visions, the latter of which continues to work on a new piece of content for Destiny 2. Smith teased that Vicarious Visions is «currently readying their Destiny swan song with content that will appear in the upcoming Season of Redacted.»
After this, however, it remains to be seen if Bungie will enlist the help of other outside studios to work on new Destiny content or if Bungie will develop everything in-house. We also don’t know what this move means for High Moon and Vicarious Visions; it’s possible that the studios, which are owned by Activision, will shift to other projects within the publisher.
On a short-term basis, Smith said Bungie is committed to releasing all of the Annual Pass content for Destiny 2 that it promised to deliver. Smith also said Destiny 2’s recent Black Armory release was a learning experience of sorts for Bungie.
«We’ve learned a lot from Black Armory that we will apply to future releases, most notably that we’d like the beginning experiences of content drops to be a better point of convergence for the playerbase,» he said. «In Black Armory, we set the Power requirement for the first forge too high, and that meant it wasn’t a great chance to jump into some new content. We want to find the line between new content that many players can play, and aspirational content for players to progress toward. We’re exploring improvements to catch-up mechanics for players in upcoming seasons.»
On a longer timeline, Smith said Destiny fans can rest assured that Bungie is «committed to Destiny.» Now that Activision is out of the picture, Bungie controls its destiny (sorry).
«We created the universe and we hold its future entirely in our hands,» Smith said. «The vast majority of the team is hard at work envisioning future experiences, enemies, and ways to play the Guardian you’ve been building since 2014. We’re going to keep doing that.»
Without the help of an established, global publishing leader like Activision, it sounds like Bungie is moving fast to determine the best way forward.
«We’re thinking about what it means to be truly independent, what it means to self-publish, and crucially, what Destiny’s future can now look like for our players,» Smith said. «It was a busy Fall, and it is going to be a busy year. When I look ahead and think about Destiny and where it could go, I see a bright future, with roots in a memorable past. Not everything has been lost in the dark corners of time. See you soon.»
On the immediate horizon for Destiny are changes to Super Abilities, and fine-tuning for weapon balance in the forthcoming 2.1.4 update. A number of changes for the Black Armory are also planned for the next update; head to Bungie’s website to see a full rundown of the changes.
Destiny 3 is expected to launch in 2020, according to an analyst, who also said Bungie likely paid Activision a fee to end its publishing arrangement. In addition to more Destiny content, Bungie recently raised $100 million from Chinese internet company NetEase for non-Destiny projects, so it seems the studio is keeping itself very busy these days.