Yesterday we broke the story that, according to an anonymous source, Bungie was currently working on 'Destiny', an MMO with shooter elements. The source also claimed that he, along with roughly 30 other contractors were let go with little notice by Bungie - a claim that Bungie has denied. We've now been in contact with another verified source who has further elaborated on Bungie's treatment of contractors and provided more details.
Last night Bungie posted a carefully worded response to our story, 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.
(Oh, and since we're on the subject, we're hiring.)
And later updated it with...
To clarify, Bungie has not experienced layoffs or group firings of any kind.
The first statement seems to only clarify that Bungie hadn't let any staff go at the request of Activision, the second statement clarified that Bungie hadn't experienced layoffs or group firings of any kind.
Bungie did not mention the game 'Destiny' or refute any of those details.
This morning, however, another source contacted us giving us more information on what he claims is a history of poor treatment of contract workers at Bungie. The source has been 100% verified.
According to the source, Bungie technically is not the employer of the contract workers - the agency is. Apparently Bungie regularly brings in contractors from companies such as Volt. The source claimed that Bungie pays these agencies a set amount and the agency itself decides how much to pay the contractors.
The source also claimed that the Bungie's alleged poor treatment of contractors is well known in the industry, and that most keep quiet for fear of repercussions, or being denied full time work at Bungie in the future. According to the source there is a huge disparity between how contractors and full-time staff are treated.
It's also worth mentioning that in a post on Halo.Bungie.Org's forums Eric 'Urk' Osborne stated that Bungie "didn't experience any layoffs or group firings through our vendors, either. We didn't experience layoffs, period." This may render the previous points moot.
We contacted Bungie directly after hearing from our second source, and received an email back asking for "more specifics", we replied stating that we didn't want to give further specifics for fear of implicating our source, before asking for any further comment which, at current time of writing, we've yet to receive.
We're expecting to hear from more sources in the near future.