Bungie, the acclaimed video game developer behind mega-hits Destiny 2 and Halo, is the latest studio to be impacted by widespread layoffs sweeping the gaming industry. Numerous former Bungie employees have reported being let go in recent days, though the exact number of job losses remains unclear.
The cuts come less than a year after Sony acquired the independent studio in a massive $3.6 billion deal. Bungie was expected to remain autonomous under Sony, operating independently while having access to the platform holder’s vast resources. However, it now appears the studio is not immune to the economic pressures forcing cutbacks across PlayStation and the gaming world as a whole. Former Community Manager dmg made a post today on Twitter shifting the blame towards poor management, it’s not his first time talking publically on the issue.
Getting texts from friends impacted by layoffs this morning.— dmg04 (@A_dmg04) October 30, 2023
It is frustrating – infuriating even – to continue seeing people who strap in to do good work losing their financial security due to poor management.
The continued echoes of poor decisions made that >feel< avoidable.
Bungie is arguably best known today for its work on Destiny and Destiny 2, the influential social shooter franchise that helped pioneer the “games as a service” model. However, the studio has a long and storied history dating back to its founding in 1991. It created the classic Halo franchise which served as the killer game for Microsoft’s original Xbox console.
The recent layoffs at Bungie are part of a wider trend of downsizing and cost-cutting across the industry. Sony’s own Naughty Dog studio, known for acclaimed games like The Last of Us and Uncharted, has also slashed staff numbers in 2022. Outside of PlayStation, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Take-Two, and Embracer Group have all initiated major reductions in headcount as well. Even juggernaut Microsoft made cuts earlier this year, notably at Halo developer 343 Industries.
Industry analysts cite various factors behind the wave of layoffs, including rising development costs, supply chain issues, and fears of a recession cutting into consumer spending. Game delays and closures of major projects have also necessitated reductions at some studios. Bungie was reportedly involved in evaluating the multiplayer spin-off for Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us 2 before that project was scrapped.
While the gaming industry remains highly profitable, these challenges have forced companies to tighten budgets and eliminate redundancy. Bungie CEO Pete Parsons expressed sadness about the layoffs on Twitter, hinting that the decision was imposed by Sony. It remains to be seen how severely the cuts will impact Bungie’s output and culture.
Delays, Setbacks and Layoffs
In addition to the layoffs, both Destiny 2’s The Final Shape and Bungie’s reboot of Marathon have both been delayed. For now however, the studio seems poised to push forward. With no announced content to fill the gap that this delay has created, reminding veteran players of the major content drought before Destiny 1’s April Update. But overall, the layoffs represent yet another sign of storm clouds gathering over the gaming industry.
UPDATE 31/10/23: Michael Salvatori, composer of the Destiny soundtrack, has also been laid off from Bungie. Confirmed by his personal page. Salvatori had been a fan-favourite composer, creating classic music starting back even in the Halo days.