Bungie's 'Destiny' Is An FPS MMO, Claims Fired Contractor [UPDATE]

An anonymous source, who claims to have recently been let go by Bungie, has suggested their latest game - named 'Destiny' and codenamed 'Tiger' - mixes FPS elements into an MMO with a Sci-Fi setting. According to the source, he and roughly 30 other contractors were let go yesterday citing "budgetary concerns" from their "publisher". The game is set to be published by Activision Blizzard. Bungie has updated their site denying their publisher asked them to let go of any staff.

According to the source, every non-full time member of staff was let go with little to no notice.

I and about 30 other people were let go for no reason recently after Bungie decided to let go every employee who wasn't full-time employed, this included producers, artists, programmers, most of the IT staff, and security. We were given no warning and were actually told there was a "full-time employee only meeting" and that we had to leave the building early, only to find out once we left that our email accounts were killed.

The source claims contractors were given little time to leave the premises, with some not allowed to return to pick up personal belongings.

Bungie told our agencies that it was "performance related" - but one of our fellow fired-employees was an IT contractor, and showed us an email he received before his account was killed, citing "project sensitivity" and "budgetary concerns from our publisher" budgetary concerns is laughable considering the scraps we were paid.

The source stated that the claim contractors were released as a result of 'poor performance' were unfounded. He suggested some had in fact previously been rewarded for their hard work.

Bungie can't get away with firing 30+ people, leaving them stuck surprised and having to find new work to feed their families, unable to get unemployment benefits because of the false 'performance related' remarks. One of the IT contractors let go actually had just won an award for his performance that afternoon.

A representative for Activision Blizzard declined to comment, stating they don't respond to rumour and speculation.

5.55pm Bungie has responded on their website stating the following.

This evening, Kotaku Australia published a blog entry to their website claiming that Bungie recently terminated as many as thirty contract employees without notice or justification, effectively eliminating all non full time staff at the request of our publisher, Activision-Blizzard.

The claim is false.

Bungie has never been asked to lay off any employees or contract employees by our publisher, Activision-Blizzard, for any reason. The talented professionals who grace our offices day in and day out are the lifeblood of Bungie – our most cherished commodity – and the unsubstantiated rumors posted today are in direct opposition to the culture and values that we believe make Bungie an exceptional place to work, and to call home.


Comments

    This could be a fair stain on the reputation of what is largely a liked and very friendly development company. I would be disappointed to find out this is all true and accurate, though I don't see much reason to doubt it.

    The idea of an FPS MMO is also a little disappointing, there seems to be a new MMO every week, these days even shooter MMO's aren't new, here I was hoping for something different from Bungie.

      I guess it just shows that they're all the same. That, or the publishers just need to fuck off with their Weyland-Yutani practices.

      Nah, looks more like this is a fair stain on the reputation of what is largely a liked video game blog. Publishing such slander...

    Classic industry, is it a real surprise everyone is going indie these days? Yarbles to the lot of them, if they have any Yarbles

    That doesn't sound like something Bungie would do - they normally seem to respect and encourage their employees.
    Activision-Blizzard, on the other hand...

    KOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICK!!!!!!!!!!!!! D:<

    That's pretty shit.

    1). I don't think anyone is surprised it's an FPS MMO.
    2). Seems the sensitivity concerns were correct if the staff would just leak something like the project details.
    3). That's some pretty crap behaviour by Bungie (if it's true). I thought they'd entered into an 'EA Partners' kind of deal with Acti... so why would Acti be calling those kind of shots? Also, I thought Bungie had mad money after Halo, didn't they?

      Yeah, but Bungie always seemed to appear as one of those nice guys companies. It may well, however, have just been an appearance.

      I don't know about the money that bungie itself has, but I can't see any reason Acti would skimp out on them. There's no way this game won't make metric shittonnes of cash. Might not be as profitable as COD, but still.

        You're sticking up for Activision? What thaaa?

        Considering they've closed many companies & developers and let go a lot of staff as of recent even though they're rolling in more cash than every before, it wouldn't surprise me if they have requested Bungie to do so.

        Considering they're publishing it, they can tell Bungie this and that and Bungie would in most circumstances have no choice if they want the money pouring in for their resources for the new game/franchise.

        Of corse they're going to deny it, but I don't see Bungie being "fake" or pretending to be the nice guys. Contractors are just that, contractors. They can't complain if they were let go, cause it was bound to happen anyway. It always occurs with games when its done and released they go away, if this is true, its just happened earlier than expected.

        So really - if its true, Activision are just trying to look like the good guys probably telling Bungie to deny it all for their own reputation or whats left of it anyway.

        In the end I don't think its Bungie's nature to just let people go for no reason. From what I've seen of Bungie within the community of fans and employees they seem pretty bonded, open to new employees but still a close bunch. It also depends on whose payroll they're on as to who gets the decision to give them the chop.

      Microsoft made mad money after Halo, and will continue doing so with 343 industries.

      2): revenge. If you i were let go for security concerns, the sweestest revenge would be breaking their precious security

    That "Tiger" guy broke his NDA and terms of employment. There's no evidence, other than his word, to suggest that any of this is legitimate. I'm looking at several Facebook profiles of contractors, and they're still employed.

    Don't buy into something unless they're some real proof, my dear.

    If this were legitimate, the other fired contractors would have spoken up. I'm calling "bullshit" on this one until someone brings me proof other than some anonymous coward's word.

      "I’m looking at several Facebook profiles of contractors, and they’re still employed."

      Yeah thats it, use facebook as your source of 'real proof'.

    Wow. How many jobs have Activision killed this year? Between shutting down Bizzare studios, killing off *Insert Instrument name* Hero and Tony Hawk, this sucks. A lot.

      This is no doubt, bullshit. Probably just a ex-employee with a grudge.

      And Activision can't call the shots at Bungie, they are independent. They can ask them, but Bungie doesn't need to do what they say.

      And if this was true, why would Bungie keep jobs postings up for Contract-Based Positions?

        It may appear to suck, but I think it makes sense for game companies to reduce their IP's and focus more on a solid end product. Games have been getting more and more diluted and generic over the years, and with the stagnation of the console market there is no reason to be pushing new engines. Companies are refocusing on writing, interactive innovation, and cinematic work. Probably not all that bad for the gaming community, but you don't need a powerhouse of programmer/CAD/design guys to develop stuff on 10 year-old engines. BTW Bungie is kinda crap. Halo is the definition of generic, and this Destiny thing sounds like its going to fail. MMO? FPS? You mean the two hardest genres to be successful in? Melded together?! And it's been tried a million times and failed?! Sounds like a real winner...

    How severe are the "budgetary concerns" of the words largest and most lucrative videogame publisher?

    Pretty severe, apparently.

    hmm, let's see...
    FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKE

    bungie has a very informal work ethic and close friendship with it's employees.

    bungie's new ip is across mulitple platforms, so MMOFPS is pretty much ruled out. and if's that's ruled out we can pretty much say this whole story is full of shit, but let's keep going...

    blizzard activision is the publisher, they aren't the owner, they dont have any control over bungie's employees and furthurmore, if they did why would they even try to break up bungie after the amazingly effective production team they have, gee that would look good to the shareholders

    this story is FAKE!!!

      What are you talking about

      an MMOFPS is about the only type of MMO that should/could go multiplatform without dumming down the controls

      And blizzard activision has control over them they can dictate terms if they want after all they are footing the bill

      The claim that 30 people were fired seems rather ridiculous, although if those 30 are mainly non development related staff it's more plausible.

      Most likely the guy was fired who knows if anyone else was.

      But the MMOFPS is a strong posibility even though it would be a stupid move

    One more point:

    The agreement between Activision and Bungie makes sure that Activision isn't able to pull crap like that.

    Heck, Jason Jones, an elusive man who isn't fond of the spotlight went on camera to set the record straight. And yet, people believe this stuff.

    Proof: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm6yFEPY9lw

      Oh, hey 5.

    You don't do performance management firings 30 at a time.

    I'm inclined to call bogus untill something a tad more official than an "anonymous source" comes out.

      Just looking at bungie.net now, there's 29 new positions being advertised at Bungie... on the one hand if they just laid off 30 part time people they may be looking to get 30 full timers... on the other it makes little sense to fire 30 people who are trained at the job and then go and hire 30 more, recruiting isn't cheap. This all just smells fishy to me.

        Those positions have been open for a long time, and are constantly replaced with new ones. Last week there were three contract positions open, one (administrative assistant) is still up.

          Yeah, I should've maybe been a bit clearer, I didn't mean to say they were newly listed, just new positions. Just seemed kinda interesting that there's a total of 29 spots up for grabs considering the story said 30 people were laid off. They could've been listing those jobs for ages with the intention of firing contractors in favour of full timers. Of course, it's all just hot air anyway as many of us suspected.

            Obviously the "source" looked up how many positions were open and used that to approximate how many were fired, so his/her story would appear to have a kernel of truth.

            Its bullshit. For one, if someone was fired falsely for performance after being just awarded for that performance, they'd clearly have a grounds for a lawsuit. Second, if said former employee actually wanted to make a difference, and get compensation for his fellow former employees, he/she would not be spilling the beans on the project like some whiney little kid, because that would be a sure fire way to push Bungie and Activision into a corner and deny everything.

            All of this reads to much like typical internet trolling.

    The conspiracy theorist in me suggests that it may be something to do with it competing with Blizzards own in-development 'Titan' MMO...

    Doubt Bungie would do this, unless forced by Activision. It might be a jerk move, but a 10-year contract with Bungie needs to make money.

    This is some of the worst news Ive heard in a while.

    First Im slammed with FPSMMO.

    And then discgusting work ethics that would make the villain from Billy Madison cringe (prolly not , that weasel guy was well wicked...and not in the cool way. In the evil way. The traditional use of the word.).

    I like cheese, tastes damn good!

    I've not been huge fans of Bungie for some time. In my eyes they've grown increasingly opportunistic and dangerously money-grubbing over the years. I always attributed this to leftover influence due to Microsoft, however, either in terms of employees that were there for Halo and not for Bungie or via actual contractual obligations that kept the studio directed on a particular path.

    This information, however, is more disturbing, if accurate. Money-grubbing, I can see. Not caring about their fans so much as when they were smaller (with their community, I can't bloody blame them), I can see. Even a worse story, I can see--Lord knows, Halo hasn't been pristine in its last days. But this? If this is true (and I'm not saying it is, mind, but IF it is)... then I think there's something to be said in boycotting.

    Dubious at best. I've seen no other posts on the matter on other websites, Bungie has consistently been posting several new positions on their website, and the information could have easily been thought up by anyone.

    Aside from that, these people were contractors. As in, they don't get to keep their jobs indefinitely. Even if this were true, it would be like getting mad at a barbershop for "laying off" all of its construction workers.

      Bungie is calling the rumor flat-out false.

      http://www.bungie.net/News/Blog.aspx?mode=news#cid30678

      It's FAKE!

      http://www.bungie.net/News/Blog.aspx?mode=news#cid30678

      At least the firing of employees. Some people will find anything bad to say about Bungie when the truth is they're probably one of the best companies in the industry.

    http://www.bungie.net/News/Blog.aspx?mode=news#cid30678

    Pwned, Bungie official statement.

    Not to mention, they are still hiring more staff.

    I call bullshit on the this, in regards to these 'firings'. If they're so concerned about budget, they wouldn't be advertising to hire for all of these positions:

    http://www.bungie.net/inside/aboutus.aspx

    This is false, Bungie Employees have confirmed it.

    http://www.bungie.net/News/Blog.aspx?mode=news#cid30678

    Also, if you're still believing this dumb, unfounded rumor, take a look at what Bungie themselves had to say:

    http://www.bungie.net/News/Blog.aspx?mode=news#cid30678

      one could also say they never say they didn't fire anyone though

      That post merely states that blizzard activision didn't force/ask them to fire someone.

      which means they could have fired as many people as they wanted under there own banner.

      As for the fact there hiring, that means nothing.

      In australia you could be fired and someone else given your job at lower pay the next day thanks to the workplace laws howard bought in.

      considering alot of work in the US is At will employment( i believe this is the phrase) they can dump you at any time

      Could be true could be false is all im saying.

      That statement doesn't cover enough that there saying that they didn't fire anyone

      Which is normal corporate speak

    http://www.bungie.net/News/Blog.aspx?mode=news#cid30678

    Bungie has had a say.

    "The claim is false."

    Bungie homepage news: http://www.bungie.net/News/Blog.aspx?mode=news#cid30678

    Please note that they NEVER said that they said that they didn't fire people, just that Activision-Blizzard didn't TELL them to fire people. They still leave open the possibility that these thirty people were fired, and all at once. In fact, leaving that open for interpretation, in my mind, makes it seem like they're guilty of just that.

    Part-timers wouldn't know that this wasn't Activision's call, methinks, and they assumed that good 'ol Bungie would never do this to them. If Bungie did fire this many people, I feel pity in particular to those who assumed that this had to be the work of A-B.

      Omg yeah... and they also didn't say that they didn't assassinate JFK... woah man... think about it.

      Maybe you should stop looking for signs that aren't there. You link the article posted, yet seem to have not bothered to read it:

      The abrupt firing of 30 employees is something that goes against their 'code of ethics', so to speak. They don't have a history of unethical behavior, and they have no desire to start.

      Also, LOL @ boycott.

        As a matter of fact, I did happen to read the article--the one they posted. The one that, despite being written by a professional hired for the sole purpose of PR, never stated that the firings never happened (which, in a community of Bungie's size, noted for its volatile nature, would've been the first thing anyone would've done if it were true). Ethics statements make no difference to me, facts do. You can claim ethics as much as you want and lie through your teeth, finding an excuse for your actions every time. It's happened in government and it's happened in business arguably more often.

        I'm a long-time Bungie fan and a the same goes for being an active member of their forums. I daresay I know what I'm talking about when it comes to the company, and I have strong suspicions about this.

          If you're an active member on the site, you should have an idea by now that Bungie isn't the type of studio that would engage in this type of behavior. And just to go out on a limb, even if they did fire all of those people, why advertise open positions with the company? As rigorous as Bungie's interview process is, I doubt they would dump 30 people already working for them, just to go through the time and money wasting process of interviewing/hiring almost 30 more. Besides, I don't know about you, but this:

          "The claim is false...and the unsubstantiated rumors posted today are in direct opposition to the culture and values that we believe make Bungie an exceptional place to work, and to call home."

          pretty much speaks for itself. They didn't fire anyone. It's time to take off the tinfoil hat.

            I don't buy the concept that a company can be uniformly of the same morals. I buy less than a company's presence on their forums can dictate their personality, even what they choose to present to the public.

            You can think what you want, sir, but that isn't conclusive. You could take that to mean "the claim that Activision told us to fire them goes against our principals."

            Whatever you want to interpret their information as, they never said they didn't fire them outright. Period. I hope it's not true, but we don't really know for sure, do we?

            Sorry Adam,
            As a former Bungie employee I can tell you right up front, that this IS EXACTLY how Bungie would do this shit.
            It's easy to see them as some Demigod creating awesome games, but they're still a business and I've seen it happen on more than one occasion.
            They're not dicks, but they are business people. The people calling the shots have no love at all for contractors and don't even see them as real people, let alone employees. Sending them away for an FTE only meeting only to cancel their accounts is actually how I would expect this to go down.

              Former Bungie employee? LOL okay kid, you'll have to try harder than that if you're going to troll me.

          You've got a point, there are a million possibilities to this story.

          But the details of this whole thing aren't adding up.

          Why did that IT guy get an email about getting fired, when the 30 guys fired were supposed to be off'd outside of the building? It makes no sense to send that email beforehand.

          Bungie also just bought a new building to house 200+ employees, and they're still doing fine with funding snacks. Does that seem like budget issues to you?

          And if this guy really wanted to go for the heart, he would have completely blamed Activision-Blizzard or Bungie, not both. Besides, the post on Bungie.net is defending Activision-Blizzard.

            The IT staff is privy to much information, some of which would be considered confidential. It's the nature of the beast.
            The new building was more expensive than originally planned, so yeah, it awesome, but they also don't tell you it's not complete. Parts of it were never completed because the money actually ran out.

              The "source" said that the IT guy was sent the email.

              And I'd like to know how you know whether or not the building is complete. Because, trust me, it's complete.

              I've been there:

              http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/46704_1589272248977_1150956734_1614170_3483596_n.jpg

              http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/58416_1589274089023_1150956734_1614175_7557069_n.jpg

              And they're still serving massive amounts of snacks.

          Urk's word is pretty much Gods Law on Bungie. If hes says it, it must be true, and if not, Chuck Norris makes it true.

          "never stated that the firings never happened (which, in a community of Bungie’s size, noted for its volatile nature"

          From statement-
          "The claim is false.
          Bungie has never been asked to lay off any employees or contract employees by our publisher, Activision-Blizzard, for any reason"

          Also why would they fire employees when they are still taking more on in every field?. Get a clue buddy.

          As for "Active Member of their forums", i've been part of them for near on 6 years, and i can safely tell you this is the is a false accusation, probably from a COD fanboi. There is no facts to back up a mass exodus that has been claimed here, and Urk saying all of its was complete BS is enough for me.

            nice to see you read the stuff you quote ben

            All that youve quoted says that blizzard Activision Did not ask them to fire anyone and the claim that they did is false

            Which basically means that they could have been fired just Blizzard Activision didn't order it

            The bungie heads may have. The Pope May have Heck Santa or the Easter Bunny may have.

            All their Statement Did was say that Activision Blizzard didn't force their termination.

            Why wouldn't they fire people if there taking more on in each field, company's fire people for minimal reasons all the time, bungie probably want's some garunteed full timers instead of contract workers and they figure they can get some better talent.

            also remember the guy states that it wasn't only dev crew that got fired. I mean they fired some security.

              Alinos this story's main weakness is the fact that only one person is making this claim, there aren't thirty people claiming to have been fired, just one.

              So the entire story is that an anonymous person's contract was terminated due to performance issues, this singular person claims that many other people were also fired, there is no evidence that more than one person was fired, end of story.

                "UPDATE

                To clarify, Bungie has not experienced layoffs or group firings of any kind."

                Pretty much backs up what I just said.

    I doubt this is true. Bungie actually advertises they have jobs available while playing Halo: Reach. So firing 30+ people sounds a little off.

      Clearly fake, bungie would never treat their employees badly.

        Well, and they are STILL hiring, so why would they fire off 30 employees randomly. Someone is clearly trying to stain their reputation.

        I just love reading comments like "Clearly fake, bungie would never treat their employees badly." How can you be so sure? Have you actually worked there? Have you signed contracts with them? I am 99.99% sure that you haven't, hence you have absolutely no proof to say that.

        Blindly believing that company X is so awesome, that they would clearly never do that to their employees is just plain stupid and, if I can say, being sheep, especially in the modern world in which we all happen to live.

        Companies do not operate to make good games. They operate to make a lot of money on people like you, buying games just because the TV ad said it's cool. And if there's a bunch of contractors that they can live without and save another penny, they will do it. Be it Bungie, or EA or Local Garage Inc.

        Stop being so naive and stop thinking that they make those games to make you happy.

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