Reports of the layoffs first surfaced earlier today on social media, after multiple employees said that they had been let go. "I've been laid off from Bungie," former social media lead Griffin Bennett tweeted. "A surreal thing to write as I sit here pondering what went wrong. I'm still processing it all and while my first instinct is anger I know I'd regret what I'd say. Thank you to everyone at Bungie who helped make my last 5+ years the best ever.
Former Bungie community manager Dylan "dmg04" Gafner, known for years to fans as the public face of Destiny 2 prior to his departure in December 2022, also took to Twitter to express support for impacted employees, and anger with the regularity of layoffs in the game industry.
"It is frustrating—infuriating even—to continue seeing people who strap in to do good work losing their financial security due to poor management," he tweeted in response to the reported cuts. "The continued echoes of poor decisions made that >feel< avoidable.
"In a few of these cases, knowing how much effort these folks put in during incredibly difficult development and sentiment times puts a sour taste in the mouth. Proactive/reactive work, always at the end of the funnel and having to make due with what they had. And now, let go."
A few hours after reports of the layoffs first surfaced, Bungie CEO Pete Parsons confirmed the cuts in a statement posted to Twitter.
"Today is a sad day at Bungie as we say goodbye to colleagues who have all made a significant impact on our studio," Parsons wrote. "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."
The layoffs are especially noteworthy in the light of the fact that less than two years ago, Sony spent a whopping $1.2 billion to retain key staff at the studio, which it acquired in January 2022. "The strategic significance of this acquisition lies not only in obtaining the highly successful Destiny franchise, as well as major new IP that Bungie is currently developing, but also in incorporating into the Sony Group the expertise and technology that Bungie has developed in the live game services space," Sony said in its Q3 2021 financial report.
Destiny 2: The Final Shape, billed by Bungie as the conclusion of the long-running Light and Darkness saga that's been the narrative backbone of the game since the original Destiny launched in 2014, was meant to go live in February 2024. The Bloomberg report says it is now slated to come out in June, which puts it into Sony's next fiscal year. It will also presumably throw the planned schedule of "episodes" into disarray: The new episodic structure, which will replace Destiny 2's current seasonal setup, had been set to begin in March 2024.
If confirmed, a delay to The Final Shape won't come completely out of left field. Both the Beyond Light and The Witch Queen expansions saw delays of several months, and given the rough reception that the Lightfall DLC received, it's not hugely surprising that Bungie wants as much time as possible to nail the final act to the almost decade-long Destiny saga.
Bungie isn't the only major Sony studio to cut staff in recent weeks. Earlier this month, Naughty Dog reportedly let at least 25 contract Q&A workers go amidst struggles with its planned Last of Us multiplayer shooter spinoff.
Meanwhile, Bungie's new game, a reboot of the 1994 shooter Marathon, has also reportedly been delayed into 2025. I've reached out to Bungie for more information and will update if I receive a reply.