On the same day it officially became a PlayStation studio, Bungie filed a lawsuit against a Destiny 2 player it accused of persistent cheating and making threats against its employees. The developer claimed Luca Leone violated the game's Limited Software License Agreement (LSLA) on multiple occasions. It's seeking $150,000 in damages and an injunction preventing Leone from “harassing, stalking or otherwise engaging in unwanted or unsolicited contact with Bungie, its employees or Destiny 2 players,” as Kotaku reports.
Bungie said it banned Leone multiple times for using Destiny 2 cheat software while streaming on Twitch. In an attempt to evade the ban, Leone created 13 accounts, each of which constituted a fresh breach of the LSLA, according to the filing (which was spotted by The Game Post). The studio claimed Leone violated the LSLA on other fronts, including by selling Destiny 2 accounts that contain emblems, or non-transferable badges that players can earn. Bungie says these "are prized by many players, especially collectors."
In addition, Bungie claims that Leone has made threats regarding the studio and its employees. According to the suit, Leone tweeted "about his desire to 'burn down' Bungie’s office building and [wrote] that specific Bungie employees were 'not safe' given Leone’s intent to move into their neighborhood."
In May, an image of Destiny 2 community manager Dylan Gafner's employee badge appeared on a Twitter account that's said to belong to Leone. "I just realized I’ll be moving to a place that’s 30 minutes away from dmg,” Leone allegedly wrote, followed by “he is not safe." Bungie notes that "dmg" likely refers to Gafner, who uses the Twitter handle @dmg04.
Leone's purported Twitter account has since been locked. His reported Twitch channel features no content other than a bio reading "[23-year-old] Bungie playtester from Los Angeles." Engadget has contacted Leone for comment.
The filing follows a number of instances of harassment against game developers. Forbes' Paul Tassi wrote that Destiny 2 sandbox design lead Kevin Yanes has all but left Twitter. Players reportedly reacted with fury to Yanes saying an item from the original Destiny will not return. "I dream of a day where videogame developers (from any studio) can openly discuss their work without being harassed," Gafner wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
Cases of harassment against our developers have actively made it harder for us to communicate with the broader community. It has impacted more studios than just ours.
I hope that more folks can stand against this behavior in any community, whether it be gaming related or other.
— dmg04 (@A_dmg04) July 17, 2022
A few weeks ago, Sony Santa Monica developers received threats and unsolicited photos of genitalia for not revealing the God of War: Ragnarök release date when the studio was reportedly planning to. Sony Santa Monica announced the release timing just a few days later.
This isn't the first time Bungie has targeted players with legal action. Just last month, it sued someone who allegedly uploaded music from the Destiny 2 soundtrack for filing fake DMCA notices against content creators.