Destiny 2: Final Shape must do well amid reported Sony takeover fears at Bungie

Brianna Reeves
bungie Sony takeover

Worries about a potential Sony takeover reportedly loom at Bungie, with developers fearing the worst if Destiny 2’s Final Shape expansion doesn’t perform well.

Mass layoffs at Bungie in late October resulted in approximately 100 employees losing their jobs. This blow to the studio and the Destiny community left many reeling, especially given Destiny 2’s divisive content output of late.

Reports claimed the job cuts were a response to a whopping 45 percent revenue loss. Initially, Sony, which acquired Bungie for $3.6 billion in 2022, was presumed the responsible party. However, Forbes’ Paul Tassi cleared the air, reporting that Bungie management made the final call.

The hope is that the studio will be able to turn things around in the new year. And The Final Shape expansion’s recent delay could help in this regard. Yet, there’s now reason to believe The Final Shape may mark a pivotal turning point for Bungie and its continued independence under Sony’s ownership.

Report claims Bungie devs worry about possible Sony takeover

Speaking with IGN under the condition of anonymity, former and current Bungie developers alleged the late October layoffs constituted an effort by leaders to stave off Sony gaining control.

The Destiny creator may be an independent subsidiary, yet its board of directors features two Sony representatives – Head of PlayStation Studios Hermen Hulst and Sony SVP Eric Lempel. Studio co-founder Jason Jones, CTO Luis Villegas, and CEO Pete Parsons round out the board.

Currently, voting on the board works such that decisions are split between the Sony and Bungie executives. Bungie’s Pete Parsons typically acts as the “tiebreaker vote.” According to IGN’s sources, though, such a divide could come to an end.

bungie Sony takeover
The disappointing Lightfall expansion contributed to the missed 2023 earnings forecast.

The publication notes that specifics about the deal brokered between PlayStation and Bungie remain a mystery. However, those IGN spoke to claim that leaders previously told them the shared power only remains intact if the company reaches specific financial goals. Should Bungie’s earnings fall significantly below expectations, Sony could abolish the current board structure and mount a full takeover.

The final straw could lay at the feet of The Final Shape’s hopeful success. One person told IGN, “We know we need Final Shape to do well. And the feeling at the studio is that if it doesn’t we’re definitely looking at more layoffs.”

To staffers still on board, the Final Shape’s delay and continued investments in Marathon’s production aren’t helping in the fight to remain independent. Worst still, cutting jobs hardly counts as the only means of reducing costs.

IGN’s sources said hiring freezes, smaller travel budgets, shelved holiday bonuses, and a decrease in morale-centric events have seriously impacted the studio atmosphere. One person reportedly described it as “soul-crushing.”

As of writing, neither Bungie nor Sony have responded to the report. But all of the above certainly puts recent events into context if accurate.

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