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Bungie and Activision Split: Future for Destiny?

I’m sure by now we’ve all heard about the big Bungie and Activision split. If you don’t know what happened, let me be the one to break it to you: Bungie and Activision parted ways…. and that’s literally all that happened.

Activision stated that Destiny 2 had under-performed in an earnings call with their investors and Forsaken failed to bring back players who left after Destiny 2 had a rough release. Luke Smith, one of Bungie’s studio heads, responded that Forsaken was exactly what they set out to do and that they were happy with how it turned out. Now, whether this split was due to the low numbers of Forsaken copies sold or just Bungie unhappy with how Activision was trying to run things, one question still lingers: What will happen to both companies? Will Bungie be able to stand on their own, continuing with the Destiny franchise? What will Activision do next to show they bring more to the table than just Call of Duty?

 

First thing I want to tackle is the Activision ordeal. Activision said that they want to focus more on owned IP and try to help make this transition to Bungie, giving them full ownership of the game and IP, as smooth as they possibly can for all parties, including the players. What does “owned IP” mean for them? The only real money maker IP that they have is their Call of Duty games and even those, while a financial success, are lower than they have been in the overall Call of Duty franchise. So, what options does Activision have without Destiny?  

Crash Bandicoot has proven to be quite popular since Activision released all three of the original games fully remastered for all the current gen consoles. They own the Skylanders IP, but they canceled that game a while ago, so don’t hope for a comeback. I believe they still have the IP for Tony Hawk, but Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 proved to be the worst skating game that has ever had the privilege of bearing the Tony Hawk brand. My point being is that they don’t really have a lot to mess with in terms of IP, and due to them being a publicly owned company with shareholders to please, they won’t be putting their necks on the line and trusting the creation of a new IP. So, what is there for them to do? Do they create new Crash Bandicoot games? Possibly. Do they bring back Skylanders? Doubtful. Activision lacks a powerhouse IP to replace the likes of Destiny, and quite possibly never will.

What is Bungie’s next move? I’ve been pondering this question for quite some time, which equates to roughly the four to five hours leading up to me writing this.  What is Bungie going to do now that they don’t have a giant corporate overlord standing over them, watching and picking all their next moves? We know they received a $100 million dollar investment from NetEase to develop another game, which will most likely be a mobile game. We also know that they plan on going forward with the Destiny franchise and continuing with the road map they’ve already laid out. My question is, can Bungie continue with such a big budget game without the backing money that Activision was able to offer? Sure, $100 million dollars is a lot of money, but Bungie has roughly 750 employees and that much money might not be enough to keep their projects going, create another one, and pay all 700+ employees for very long. So, do they sign with another publisher and hope that they have more creative freedom than what Activision gave them? Only time will tell.

Another question that stands with their potential money issues is the fate of Destiny. Now that they aren’t under the Activision timeline of pumping so much content out, do they take their time in the development process?  They definitely could, prolonging the Destiny 2 game possibly into the next-gen consoles, but that would also include releasing more copies of the game ported on the new consoles, which costs money. I think they can continue with Destiny, but only as long as they create enough content to keep players interested for years to come.

Now, what do I mean by that?  They can’t keep following this trend they’ve set, where the first vanilla version of the game last players about 20 hrs before becoming stale then release two DLC bits that are anything but worth your money, only to turn around and ask for more money on a third piece of DLC that they hope answers all their prayers of reviving the player base.  They need to create an experience that comes out swinging with tons of interesting and cool looking loot, stories that they’ll tell their grandkids about, and most importantly, a full game that keeps players coming back.  Maybe make the two expansions, that will inevitably follow free, but that’s my own well-wishing, as nice as it sounds.

Kids, what did we learn about all of this? Don’t make games… just kidding. I personally think that the divorce from Activision will, overall, be good for Bungie. This allows them to create the content they want and feel, all the while giving what players want and on their own timeline without being rushed to put lackluster content out, only to disappoint fans and push people away from their game. Activision will no doubt benefit from this,  allowing them to take the funding they would have given Bungie and give it to another company to work on some of the aforementioned IP they own. While I’m curious to see what’s next from both Activision and Bungie, I’m even more excited to see what Avengers: Endgame leaves us with, as I want Spider-man to come back and Ironman to not look as depressed as he did in the teaser trailer.

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