Sunday, February 25, 2024

Bungie Becomes the Latest PlayStation Studio to Lay Off Workers, Destiny 2 The Final Shape Delayed

Destiny 2 maker Bungie is among the latest video game studios to be hit with layoffs. First reported by Bloomberg, the downsizing is part of a wide restructuring across Sony Interactive Entertainment, with no official numbers available yet. Based on social media posts from affected workers, the communications, social media, and publishing departments at the studio were hit the hardest. Sony acquired Bungie in January 2022 in a $3.6 billion (about Rs. 29,973 crore) deal, enabling them to function independently and push forward the former’s plans for more live-service games. The studio is also delaying its upcoming titles — a Destiny 2 expansion called The Final Shape and a reboot of Marathon, Bungie’s first-person shooter title from 1994.

“Today is a sad day at Bungie as we say goodbye to colleagues who have all made a significant impact on our studio,” Bungie CEO Pete Parsons tweeted after reports came out. “What these exceptional individuals have contributed to our games and Bungie culture has been enormous and will continue to be a part of Bungie long into the future.” Understandably, the post was met with collective disdain from others online, with many asking where exactly Sony’s money flows. It’s an interesting development, considering PlayStation had promised Bungie in 2022 that there would be ‘absolutely no layoffs’ as the company continued to restructure. As part of that, the former spent $1.2 billion (about Rs. 9,991 crore) to retain all the key staff members — paid out over multiple years.

As mentioned before, the upcoming Destiny 2 expansion The Final Shape has been delayed from February to June, which is poised to conclude its storyline by setting up a conflict against The Witness, the representation of darkness. Some of this lore was drip-fed to players as part of subsequent seasons, making the Lightfall expansion one of the worst received DLCs in the franchise. Back in May, during the PlayStation Showcase event, Bungie also revealed a reboot of Marathon, a sci-fi PvP extraction shooter, where the story evolves through completing objectives and participating in in-game events. No raw gameplay footage was released, but the developer revealed that it’s set on a low-orbit colony, whose 30,000 inhabitants just mysteriously disappeared. As a cybernetic Runner, it is our job to uncover mysterious artefacts and hunt down assailants to reveal the larger story. In light of the layoffs, Marathon has been delayed to 2025.

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Sony PlayStation had The Last of Us creators Naughty Dog let go of 25 employees, with the affected allegedly not receiving any severance payments. Despite being an incredible year for games, the people making them have been suffering through massive layoffs, studio shutdowns, and chief studio executives leaving. Fortnite maker Epic Games cut down 16 percent of its staff in September — about 830 employees — with CEO Tim Sweeney claiming that the company had been spending more money than it was earning. Industry giant Embracer Group has also been getting rid of the developers it had acquired, shutting down Saints Row creator Volition and putting Borderlands’ Gearbox up for sale.

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Destiny 2 The Final Shape is now slated to release sometime in June 2024, across PC, PS5, and Xbox Series S/X.


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