In yet another sterling example of why no developer should work with Activision, former Bungie composer Marty O’Donnell recently held a tell-all with hiddenXperia that talked about the relationship between Bungie and Activision, and what led to the two companies parting ways several years ago, leaving Bungie to try self-publishing.
Originally, Bungie had separated from Microsoft in the aftermath of releasing Halo: Reach, the last Halo game developed by them. With Destiny now the company’s sole project, it was time for them to find a new publisher that could help them. They chose Activision for a number of reasons.
While going back to Microsoft would have gotten them the funding, Microsoft apparently demanded full ownership of Destiny, the same way they had with Halo. Part of the reason why Bungie went with Activision to begin with was because the company would allow them to retain control of Destiny.
Of course, according to O’Donnell, that didn’t stop Activision from trying to milk the game for all it was worth. Bungie and Activision repeatedly clashed over parts of Destiny, despite O’Donnell trying to put across the “respect the goose” metaphor.
Activision laughed at such a thing, claiming that even if the eggs the goose laid weren’t gold, they would still taste good. Activision was the driving force behind much of the microtransaction and Playstation-focused decisions made during Destiny 1’s run and Destiny 2 until Bungie finally left.
Along with that, O’Donnell joked that part of the reason for he and Bungie’s massive legal battle upon his departure was due to Activision, though whether this is true or not is up for debate. Either way, he also remarked that hindsight was 20/20 and that Bungie should have killed the deal as soon as it became clear before the signing that Activision would not treat them well.
Either way, Bungie is now self-publishing and free to do whatever they want with Destiny, so hopefully as things continue along with Destiny 2, the game can reach the heights that it was always denied by Activision. You can watch Marty O’Donnell’s full video about the Bungie and Activision relationship here.