Recently, Rebekah Valentine reported from IGN about the prevailing work culture at Bungie, the creator and publisher of Destiny 2. The article presents several testimonials from current and former employees of the studio. Their stories are shocking to me! Compared to the image of the equal and inclusive Bungie I imagined, the studio has for several years had a boy culture that rewarded men over women and minority groups. The report concerns both sexism and brutal overtime work.
Rebekah Valentin has written a great article and I think you should definitely read it for a deeper understanding of the events at Bungie. In the wake of the article came Bungie’s CEO Pete Parson issued an open letter which confirms and excuses the atrocities that have now been highlighted. He also mentions what we already knew: that Bungie has several initiatives that are meant to create structures for all employees to be safe. Parson also promises that Bungie will do everything they can to achieve a gender-equal studio.
Bad end to the year
The reports on Activision Blizzard completely killed all the gaming joy I had this fall. The hype for Diablo II: Ressurected was high, but after the revelation about the work culture on Activision Blizzard – which has been going on for many years! – it was no longer possible to look forward to something Blizzard has on the horizon.
Blizzard, a traditional studio with classics after classics in its summary, among other things Overwatch which we at Varvat have supported for many years thanks to superb gameplay and colorful and inclusive characters, would prove to be thorough. The betrayal burned in my gamer heart! Not only because I felt cheated and deceived, but also because I supported them for over 15 years.
But before the wounds would heal, another studio would come to light. Bungie. The studio that I have supported for several years and that I have praised for its proactive, ethical and political stances, would also prove to have a naughty side. Now the destructive culture on Bungie does not seem to be as consistent as on Activision Blizzard, but it is still clear that it is a significant problem.
Destiny 2 is a game I am deeply involved in. Over the years, I have spent thousands of hours and dollars on Bungie’s space opera. It’s a game series I want to continue to be in and write about. But the enlightenment of their work culture makes me doubtful. The Moments of Triumph shirt I usually buy every year is no longer a given purchase. At the same time, I want the money I spend on their merchandise and games to help fund their work for gender equality.
Right now I am most shocked and confused. And I pray to the cosmos that From Software does not hide a lot of skeletons in its closet. Let me at least look forward to a game!