Destiny 2 in December has been…eventful. It saw the launch of the Bungie 30th Anniversary DLC, which has brought a whole lot of new content to the game, and has been, in a word, hilarious. I’ve been having a blast in the new Grasp of Avarice dungeon and playing Dares of Eternity, where the dialogue is excellent. The new guns inspired by Bungie’s past games, including Halo, all feel great. Mostly, the whole experience has just been extremely lighthearted and fun, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.
Not everything was positive, though. Last week, IGN’s Rebekah Valentine published an excellent, lengthy report detailing stories from current and former Bungie employees about the culture of the studio. It’s a long, worthy read about conditions at the studio both past and present, and points out a lot of problems from throughout Bungie’s history. It also seems the developer is making some real improvements in the realms of its culture, the safety of its workplace, its dedication to the well-being of its staff, and its inclusivity. Following the report, Bungie CEO Pete Parsons released a statement detailing improvements Bungie said it has made, as well as strides it is making toward being better. Most recently, Bungie’s long-time head of human resources stepped down.
Reports of frat-like culture, discrimination, and poor working conditions abound in the video games industry, and the IGN report shows that Bungie has suffered from a lot of that same rot. The studio also seems to have been working toward bettering that situation, and I doubt it’s a coincidence that Destiny 2 has improved significantly as a game during the same period that Bungie has been trying to advance as a studio. IGN’s report shows that the studio has a long way to go, however, and it’s important to shine a light on stories such as these in order to hold studios accountable and to try to help improve the conditions under which video games are made. Hopefully, Bungie really is making itself the kind of place to work that its developers and fans can be proud of.