Marty O'Donnell admits Bungie's Destiny deal with Activision was "bad from the start" - Dexerto

Former Destiny dev admits Activision deal was “bad from the start”

Published: 7/Jul/2020 8:50

by Brad Norton


Activision assumed control over the Destiny franchise for almost five years until their split from Bungie in 2019. Now former franchise dev and composer Martin O’Donnell has just revealed how troubling the initial deal truly was.

Initially pitched as an evolving multiplayer project spanning a full decade, Bungie’s follow up to the Halo series was its most ambitious undertaking yet. After shopping the idea around to big-name publishers, the developers eventually settled with Activision. In January 2019 this relationship came crashing down as Bungie assumed full rights to the Intellectual Property (IP).

O’Donnell, an iconic gaming composer that just so happened to work on the first iteration of Destiny, has now shared his explosive take on the deal. Even outlining how developers at Bungie “knew it was a risk right from the get-go.” 

In a July 6 interview with popular Halo YouTuber ‘HiddenXperia,’ O’Donnell vented his frustrations with the agreement, and offered his first thoughts on the matter since his messy firing from Bungie in 2014.

Destiny promotional artwork
Destiny released in September 2014 but has since seen radical changes to its original form.

Initially close to signing a new deal with Microsoft, O’Donnell explained why Bungie turned it down. The corporation owns the Halo IP. Despite Bungie developing games in the franchise all throughout the 2000s, it was Microsoft’s franchise through and through. They wanted to take Destiny in a different direction and maintain control of the property.

“The reason we went with Activision, as part of the contract, they didn’t own the IP,” he explained. “Microsoft owns the Halo IP. We wanted to make sure that whoever we worked with next would not own the IP.”

While many offers were on the table following the success of the Halo franchise, they signed with Activision to keep Destiny as their own. Unfortunately, this didn’t quite pan out as many of the higher-ups at Bungie had envisioned.

Destiny Ghost intro mission
Bungie even replaced Peter Dinklage as the voice of your Ghost companion soon after release.

“It was bad from the start,” O’Donnell explained. Activision didn’t have “the legal right to mess with the IP.” The only way to keep that rule enforced was for all of the leaders at Bungie to agree and outright say that “you can’t mess with the IP.” Ultimately, there was a difference of opinion, and “that’s not what happened.” Certain Bungie developers sided with Activision on the direction of Destiny while others did not. That’s why they fired me,” he said.

“That was probably my biggest disappointment. We worked for a decade to make sure we could be in a position where we could stand up to the publisher and say, no, we own the IP, you can’t mess with it. And I was overruled and eventually let go.”

The topic begins at the 1:38:30 mark for mobile readers

It’s no secret that development on Destiny was extremely scattered before release. Iterations of the game were scrapped and much of the story was altered last minute. Most simply ended up on Grimoire cards instead.

There’s no telling how much of this was down to the clash between Bungie and Activision, though it certainly seems to have been the main factor behind Destiny’s sloppy launch.

Reflecting on the end of the relationship in 2019, O’Donnell thought to himself that it was “about time.” Much of his work on the Destiny soundtrack alongside Beatles member Paul McCartney was kept under wraps by Activision. Though you can listen to their efforts on Music of the Spheres thanks to recent leaks.


Destiny 2 players outraged over Beyond Light’s “weak” new Raid Exotic

Published: 29/Nov/2020 23:30

by Julian Young


Destiny 2 players love powerful gear, and with several new exotic weapons released in Beyond Light there are plenty of exciting items to acquire. However, one new weapon – exotic rocket launcher Eyes of Tomorrow – is severely underperforming, and fans aren’t happy.

In any Destiny 2 expansion, the main attraction for most players is new gear. In Beyond Light, there have been plenty of new weapons and armor pieces to chase despite a portion of the game’s older inventory being sunset.

The new expansion introduced several exotics, including the rocket launcher Eyes of Tomorrow. The weapon’s unique perks allow it to fire rockets at multiple targets, and increase the weapon’s damage if enough enemies are eliminated in a single volley.

Unlocked by the first completion of the Deep Stone Crypt raid, Guardians have gotten their hands on the weapon and tested it out themselves. After spending some time with the rocket launcher, the community discovered the weapon is not as powerful as they originally believed.

Destiny 2 Eyes of Tomorrow Exotic
Players are feeling underwhelmed by Destiny 2’s new exotic rocket launcher.

Eyes of Tomorrow underwhelms

In separate Reddit posts – one on r/DestinyTheGame and the other on r/RaidSecrets – players have identified at least two areas where Eyes of Tomorrow is severely underperforming.

In the first post, ‘u/out_of_phase44’ describes how after receiving the rocket launcher and feeling it was underpowered, they took it into several activities to perform some testing.

Eyes of Tomorrow’s Deceptively Low DPS from DestinyTheGame

After testing, they noticed the launcher “seems to have an arbitrary ~50% damage reduction against raid bosses.”

By comparing the launcher’s DPS against One Thousand Voices – an exotic introduced in Forsaken’s Last Wish raid – they discovered the new launcher is extremely underpowered compared to its counterpart.

Destiny 2 One Thousand Voices Exotic
Eyes of Tomorrow seems to be severely outclassed by other exotics, like Forsaken’s One Thousand Voices.

In the second post, user ‘u/KuaiBan’ had a similar feeling about Eyes of Tomorrow after acquiring it, and decided to do some testing in Lost Sectors and Master Nightfalls. They tested the launcher against another exotic – the Xenophage machine gun – and had similar findings.

Eyes of Tomorrow bugged, dealing massively reduced damage in Nightfall Ordeals from raidsecrets

u/KuaiBan discovered the exotic is also experiencing reduced damage within the game’s Nightfalls, saying “After the tests, I have to conclude that Eyes of Tomorrow is acting weird in Master Nightfalls, dealing massively reduced damage for some reason.”

They went on to say that after some additional testing, Eyes of Tomorrow is being outperformed by several legendary rocket launchers as well.

Both users concluded that the new exotic is badly outclassed by both equal and lesser-quality gear in Raid and Nightfall activities.

Destiny 2 Xenophage Exotic
Bungie has yet to confirm whether they will buff Eyes of Tomorrow like they have with other underperforming exotics, like the Xenophage machine gun.

Bug or intended behavior?

At the time of writing, Bungie has not officially responded to either Reddit thread. Players have yet to receive confirmation that the reduced damage output is intended or simply a bug that needs to be fixed.

Regardless of the root cause, the Destiny 2 community voiced their frustration loudly in the comments sections of both posts.

Responses like “God Bungie really knows how to ruin hype, don’t they,” and “I love this game . . . but I absolutely f**king hate this type of bulls**t they do,” were found frequently in the comments of both posts.

Destiny 2 players will need to wait for an response from Bungie on whether Eyes of Tomorrow is bugged or functioning as intended. Guardians should keep an eye on Bungie social media and the two Reddit threads for updates.