Whereas Sony acquired Future 2 maker Bungie for $3.6 billion in 2022, it repeatedly claimed the creator of Halo and different hits would stay an “impartial subsidiary.” Now IGN reports that if Bungie’s sci-fi MMO retains failing income targets, Sony may dissolve its present board of administrators and take full management of the roughly 1,100 particular person studio.
In keeping with IGN, Bungie’s present post-acquisition board of administrators consists of the top of PlayStation studios Herman Hulst, senior Sony VP Eric Lempel, Bungie co-founder Jason Jones, Bungie CTO Luis Villegas, and Bungie CEO Pete Parsons, with Parsons because the tie-breaking decider. That construction is predicated on the studio assembly sure monetary targets, nevertheless, and if Bungie continues to fall wanting them, Sony will take full management of the long-running shooter maker.
Within the wake of 100 layoffs at Bungie in October, Bloomberg reported that the studio had missed its 2023 forecast by 45 p.c, following the launch of the disappointing Lightfall enlargement. With participant counts for Future 2 reaching historic lows, a minimum of on PC, IGN experiences that Parsons—not Sony—made the choice to put off employees and institute different cost-cutting measures, so as to fill the opening left by the seemingly unrealistic income targets.
In keeping with IGN, these additional cost-cutting measures embrace a hiring freeze, a crackdown on annual cost-of-living changes to salaries, and no vacation bonuses, whereas the current layoffs and cuts harm the studio’s DE&I initiatives and assembly teams. Whereas morale has apparently taken a nosedive, IGN experiences that senior administration has appeared to indicate a “stunning quantity of indifference and even outright flippancy or hostility” in regards to the scenario.
One supply advised IGN that the studio might be taking a look at much more layoffs if Future 2‘s subsequent large enlargement, The Ultimate Form, doesn’t carry out higher than this yr’s. Initially set to reach in February 2024, The Ultimate Form was not too long ago delayed till June to offer extra time for Bungie to enhance it, whereas not too long ago introduced extraction shooter Marathon was delayed till 2025.
All of it paints an exceedingly grim image of a studio that has traditionally thrived, and frequently fought to stay impartial. After growing a number of Halo video games for Microsoft, Bungie went impartial to develop the primary Future, partnering with Activision Blizzard to publish it. Following experiences of crunch and unsustainable monetary expectations beneath that association, Bungie purchased itself out of the Activision settlement in 2019, whereas retaining the Future 2 franchise. Within the years since, the studio gave the impression to be a poster-child for how one can make a profitable live-service sport in a sustainable manner. It stays to be seen how a lot of the studio’s current issues are on account of veteran choice makers inside Bungie, or new expectations from Sony.