When it comes to “unnamed sources”, you need to take everything you hear with a grain of salt, and this is no exception. A source that contacted the gaming site Kotaku is claiming that work is well underway on Bungie’s first new title with its new publishing partner Activision, and that title will be named Destiny. The source also went on to claim that the Halo developer was recently asked to let go of 30 employees due to budgetary concerns.
The source states that the game will be a massively multiplayer online first-person shooter, with role playing aspects. How that works remains to be seen, but the source described it as “WoW in space”, mixing FPS and MMO elements into a sci-fi setting.
Casting something of an odd light on the story is that the source claims to have been part of a group of 30 non-salaried contract employees whose contracts were recently terminated. In itself, that isn’t all that surprising—especially given that 2010’s Halo: Reach was an enormous project that employed several contractors. What is surprising–and even a bit inflammatory–is that the source claims the terminations were a result of budget cuts, and that the contractors were treated unfairly by the publisher Activision, who requested the firings.
“Bungie told our agencies that it was ‘performance related’ – but one of our fellow fired-employees was an IT contractor, and showed us an email he received before his account was killed, citing ‘project sensitivity’ and ‘budgetary concerns from our publisher’ budgetary concerns is laughable considering the scraps we were paid.” The source told Kotaku.
In response, Bungie quickly issued a statement saying that no employees have been released due to budgetary reasons, any claims of unfair treatment were unfounded and Activision had not asked them to fire anyone. On its website, Bungie issued the following statement:
“This evening, Kotaku Australia published a blog entry to their website claiming that Bungie recently terminated as many as thirty contract employees without notice or justification, effectively eliminating all non full time staff at the request of our publisher, Activision-Blizzard.
The claim is false.
Bungie has never been asked to lay off any employees or contract employees by our publisher, Activision-Blizzard, for any reason. The talented professionals who grace our offices day in and day out are the lifeblood of Bungie – our most cherished commodity – and the unsubstantiated rumors posted today are in direct opposition to the culture and values that we believe make Bungie an exceptional place to work, and to call home.”
Activision, with whom Bungie recently signed a ten-year exclusive contract, had no comment.