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Bungie buys Activision out of Destiny, will go it alone

In a major industry shake-up, Bungie announces it is parting ways with Activision and will publish Destiny independently.

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Bungie Activision Destiny

In a major industry shake-up, Bungie announces it is parting ways with Activision and will publish Destiny independently.

In 2010, when Bungie – the original developer of the Halo series – joined forces with Activision, it was a big deal. Their new game, Destiny, was (at the time) the most expensive game ever produced; there is no way Bungie could have bankrolled such an ambitious project as an independent developer.

In the intervening eight years, there have been numerous Destiny expansions, changes, resets, and ultimately, Destiny 2.

But now it seems that the course of the Destiny series, and of Bungie, is irrevocably changed.

Today Bungie announced, in a post on their website, that it will be splitting from publisher Activision, and has acquired all rights to publish Destiny games.

The statement on the Bungie website reads:

When we first launched our partnership with Activision in 2010, the gaming industry was in a pretty different place. As an independent studio setting out to build a brand new experience, we wanted a partner willing to take a big leap of faith with us. We had a vision for Destiny that we believed in, but to launch a game of that magnitude, we needed the support of an established publishing partner.

Since then, however, it would seem that the partnership between Activision and Bungie has degraded somewhat – mirroring stories coming out of the Activision Blizzard camp recently – leading to today’s news. The statement continues:

We have enjoyed a successful eight-year run and would like to thank Activision for their partnership on Destiny. Looking ahead, we’re excited to announce plans for Activision to transfer publishing rights for Destiny to Bungie. With our remarkable Destiny community, we are ready to publish on our own, while Activision will increase their focus on owned IP projects. The planned transition process is already underway in its early stages, with Bungie and Activision both committed to making sure the handoff is as seamless as possible.

The statement then closes with a thank you to the fans, and a promise that Destiny will continue as an independent endeavour:

Thank you so much for your continued support. Our success is owed in no small part to the incredible community of players who have graced our worlds with light and life. We know self-publishing won’t be easy; there’s still much for us to learn as we grow as an independent, global studio, but we see unbounded opportunities and potential in Destiny. We know that new adventures await us all on new worlds filled with mystery, adventure, and hope. We hope you’ll join us there.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a developer re-acquire the rights to their franchise from a publisher – see the Square Enix/Io Interactive Hitman saga – but this is one of the biggest, and is bound to make shockwaves. The next Activision earnings call is going to be interesting, that’s for sure.

We’ll have more on this story as it develops.

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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.