Developer Bungie has officially split up with Publisher Activision-Blizzard in a stunning announcement today, ending nearly nine years of partnership between the two companies out of a ten-year contract.
"We have enjoyed a successful eight-year run and would like to thank Activision for their partnership on Destiny." stated Bungie on their blog. "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."
Back in 2010, Bungie signed an exclusive deal with Activision-Blizzard that was similar to the EA-Partners program; Bungie would retain the rights to their IP, while Activision funded the projects. The deal, signed for an undisclosed amount, was signed after Bungie ended its partnership with publisher Microsoft after the end of the Halo Trilogy in 2007.
Only two games were made in the past eight years through the partnership, Destiny, which was in production at the time of the deal and released in 2014, and it's sequel, Destiny 2, in 2017. The interim of those games has been mostly updating content for the Destiny games, including the most recent major expansion for Destiny 2, Forsaken, last year.
"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." stated Bungie. It was also announced, via twitter, that Destiny 2 will continue to receive the full support of BattleNet, with no disruptions to the games services expected at this time.
The news comes after years of tension between the two companies that has been well known for years now. Journalist Jason Schreier, who broke the story on Kotaku, noted that Bungie itself framed the split "as fantastic news for a studio that has long grown sick of dealing with its publisher."
Schreier continued the discussion on Twitter, stating "Can't over-emphasize how happy they are not just to get away from Activision, but to have a game that they now own completely. Imagine a Destiny free from Activision's restrictive annualized schedule!"
For their part, Activision-Blizzard was cordial towards the whole announcement, joining Bungie in a joint-statement on twitter that thanked players of the Destiny franchise. "It’s been an honor and a privilege to help bring the world of Destiny to life for you."
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