The studio behind Halo and now Destiny issued a statement on Twitter yesterday, addressing the allegations of widespread sexual harrasssment and discrimination alleged in a new lawsuit brought by California regulators against Activision Blizzard. “We have a responsibility to acknowledge, reflect, and do what we can to push back on a persistent culture of harassment, abuse, and inequality that exists in our industry,” the company wrote.
Bungie issued the statement on Twitter but also linked to and publicized it on its weekly blog post about the state of Destiny 2. While it didn’t directly name Activision Blizzard, the former business partner did emphasise that it believes victims when they come forward and, “is committed to doing everything in our power to combat systemic harassment, sexism, abuse, and inequality.”
Here’s the full statement:
Bungie is built on empowering our people no matter who they are, where they are from, or how they identify.
We have a responsibility to acknowledge, reflect, and do what we can to push back on a persistent culture of harassment, abuse, and inequality that exists in our industry.
It’s our responsibility to ensure this type of behaviour is not tolerated at Bungie at any level, and that we never excuse it or sweep it under the rug.
While the accounts in this week’s news are difficult to read, we hope they will lead to justice, awareness, and accountability.
We have a zero-tolerance policy at Bungie for environments that support this toxic culture, and we are committed to rooting them out to defend those who are at risk.
Women, POC, and underrepresented communities have nothing to gain by reliving their trauma. We believe them when they come forward with reports of abuse or harassment.
We don’t pretend that Bungie is perfect and that no one has experienced harassment while working here, but we will not tolerate it and will confront it head on. And we will continue to do the work every day to be better.
Our goal is to continue to improve the experience for everyone working at Bungie and do our part to make the gaming industry as a whole to be more welcoming and inclusive.
A couple years after leaving behind Microsoft and the Halo series it created there in 2007, Bungie announced a 10-year publishing agreement with Activision Blizzard. The first game to arrive under this new deal was the sci-fi epic Destiny, followed by several expansions and eventually a sequel in 2017. But according to reports the relationship was an acrimonious one, with Activision Blizzard pressuring the studio for more annualized releases in the vein of Call of Duty. Bungie finally split with the publisher in early 2019.
“Even more glad we broke off from Activision now,“ Bungie tools engineer James Haywood wrote on Twitter.
As Forbes’ Paul Tassi points out, Bungie has been forming inclusivity clubs over the past year, including Women at Bungie, Black at Bungie, and Trans at Bungie, to help improve the workplace. And as many have discussed on on Twitter in the past couple of days, issues around harassment and discrimination are endemic to the games industry, and no studio or company is immune, though few have been brought to light with the severity of what is laid out in the current Activision Blizzard lawsuit.