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Destiny 2 staff reportedly worried about Bungie’s future

Employees at Destiny 2 developer Bungie have said they feel anxious about their current status at the company, following layoffs earlier this year.

As you may recall, layoffs were first reported at the developer in October. At this time, studio CEO Pete Parsons publicly commented on the cuts, calling it “a sad day”. Around 100 employees were said to be affected.

Now, in a new report by IGN, many remaining at the company have said the studio is implementing a variety of other cost-cutting measures across the board, in order to remain an independent subsidiary within Sony (which acquired the developer in 2022). There is concern among staff that Bungie may lose its independence within Sony should Destiny 2 fail to meet financial goals.

Our video team plays Destiny 2.

Along with the aforementioned layoffs, Bungie has also reportedly initiated a hiring freeze, reduced travel budgets for its employees, delayed various get togethers such as its “Pentathlon” until this time next year and kept its annual Bungie Day event as virtual only. Other events aimed at boosting morale have also reportedly seen their occurrence reduced. Cooking and knitting classes now reportedly happen every quarter, rather than each month.

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In addition, the Marathon developer is said to be making adjustments across a variety of its current employee benefits, such as its new hire lunch program and more. This has left morale within Bungie low, sources told IGN, with one stating the mood right now is “soul-crushing”. But despite this mood, those still at the company said management is not doing anything to try and address this overall feeling.

IGN stated those employees that expressed sadness following October’s layoffs were “met with a surprising amount of indifference or even outright flippancy or hostility” from those higher up. Meanwhile, it was suggested to staff that further layoffs were not out of the question.

Two sources told the publication that chief people officer Holly Barbacovi outright stated layoffs were a “lever”, and one which Bungie would be able to pull on again. Others explained they were told not to discuss layoffs further, and during a post-layoff Q&A at the company, the notion of leadership taking a salary cut to prevent future cuts was rebuffed. Bungie is “not that type of company” came the reply.

“We know we need [Destiny 2 expansion] Final Shape to do well,” one source said. “And the feeling at the studio is that if it doesn’t we’re definitely looking at more layoffs.”

IGN’s sources stated many of those laid off earlier this year were community leaders, with the likes of Bungie general counsel Don McGowan being affected by the cuts. A large number of those made redundant were also part of Bungie’s DE&I clubs, which aim to ensure an inclusive environment at the studio.

“I’m angry. I’m upset. This isn’t what I came here to do,” one source said. “It feels like many higher ups aren’t listening to the data and are like, ‘We just need to win our fans back, they still like us.’ No. They don’t… We got rid of some of our most knowledgeable beloved folks who have been here for 20-plus years. Everyday I walk in afraid that I or my friends are next.

“No one is safe.”

Several Bungie employees stated they felt anxious that the studio is making a step towards outsourcing more work. These discussions were reportedly happening before October’s layoffs, as well.

“Folks still there are very much feeling ‘us vs them’ between leadership and workers,” one person told IGN. “That trust has been eroded.”

Sony and Bungie declined to respond to the original report. Eurogamer has asked Sony for comment.

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