Bungie CEO Pete Parsons has apologized for the experiences shared by Bungie employees in a report last week. Parsons says the studio is making progress, but that this doesn't invalidate employees' experiences, and that Bungie must continue to strive to create better working conditions.
What has the Bungie CEO said about Friday's report?
On Friday, a report emerged on IGN detailing the negative experiences of several Bungie employees with the company's toxic work culture. These employees described facing "sexism, boys' club culture, crunch, and HR protection of abusers" within Bungie. Many employees also say that the company's September pledge to "recognize our shortcomings" was too little, too late. Now, CEO Pete Parsons has responded to this report, laying out what Bungie is doing to combat its work culture while also acknowledging that it's "not enough".
In his message, Parsons says he doesn't want to "refute or challenge" the experiences detailed by Bungie employees in the IGN report. He goes on to describe how Bungie is combating toxic working culture, including pushing back release dates to emphasize team mental health, creating new employee inclusion clubs, and reviewing internal hiring and promotion practices. Parsons goes on to say that despite this progress, "it is clear that we still have work ahead of us". He describes the care of Bungie employees as "our most important purpose", and says Bungie is "energized" by the process of reforming itself to better serve its staff.
Is this a moment of reckoning for the gaming industry?
Bungie is far from the only studio to be accused of toxic working practices. In recent months, Activision Blizzard has been the subject of protracted legal battles regarding sexism and harassment in its offices, with many employees coming forward to detail their experiences of the same. In a similar vein, Ubisoft has found itself at the center of accusations regarding a toxic working environment, with French union Solidaires Informatique launching a lawsuit against the studio on behalf of its aggrieved employees.
It remains to be seen whether or not this represents a moment of change for the industry. After all, Ubisoft employees say very little is being done to combat the problems they've raised, and Call of Duty: Vanguard still managed to top the charts during its launch month in November. For its part, Bungie does seem genuine to want to effect change within its corporate culture, but executives from other studios have made similar overtures and haven't made good on them. We'll bring you more on this as soon as we get it.