Divorces rarely run smoothly. They’re costly, time-consuming and hardly a barrel of laughs for either disputing couple. More often than not the dissolution of a marriage is attributed to “inconsolable differences”, which is a just polite way of saying “I can’t stand the sight of that conniving, adulterous prick. Give me half of your money and get out!”. The very formal legislation, complicated terminology and general legality of divorce can get a little messy, especially when it comes to which parent gets custody over their children. In the case of Bungie and Activision it appears that the former has not only profited from its detachment from its domestically abusive spouse, but has also restricted all visitation rights from their offspring: Destiny. I think it’s safe to assume that Bungie are the aggrieved party in this analogy, with Activision capably adopting the role of “Sadistic Husband” who doesn’t allow his wife to go out socialising with her friends or allow her to have an opinion of her own. And if we are honest it’s normally the male that messes relationships up and boy, did Activision do a spectacular job here.
Bungie somehow managing to retain the rights to Destiny is not only surprising, but implies that they believe they can redeem the underwhelming franchise, free from their former corporate overlords. But has the brand been tainted by its faltering reputation? No doubt there are some Destiny 2 fanatics that will proclaim it as an unparalleled experience, unworthy of such vitriolic ridicule. That the game is immeasurably better when you splurge £100 on content that should have been included from the beginning. I’m not judging, simply stating that these kind of business strategies are some of the most heinous supplements of modern game development. Still if the perpetrators were Activision, which I suspect that they were, then perhaps Bungie, free from their oppressors can salvage Destiny and perhaps thrive.
If I sound a little sceptical it’s because that the creative freedom granted by independence doesn’t necessarily ensure success. Unless Bungie are looking to negotiate with another publisher then the risk of failure increases. Even if the presumed successor to Destiny is their first initiative, there’s no guarantee that even fan goodwill will be enough to help, especially at a time when game developer’s/publishers are being so heavily scrutinised. For me personally it’s difficult to feel confident or even joyous about either Bungie’s independence or the acquisition of Destiny when their reputation as a game studio is tarnished by the only franchise of there’s I’ve played, that being the much maligned Destiny.
Whatever happens there’s no denying that this is a watershed moment for both the industry and consumers. And it will be interesting to see if anyone else begins to consider their own professional marriage?
Are you excited to see what Bungie does with its new-found freedom? Of course you, stupid question. Do you think they will be successful, with either Destiny or something new? Let me know in the comments below.