Recently, a source came forward claiming intimate knowledge of Bungie’s new super-secret project currently under development for Activision Blizzard. The source claims to be an ex-employee who was abruptly laid off due to “budgetary concerns”. They indicated that Bungie’s project, codenamed “Tiger”, is a massively multiplayer online first person shooter. Titled Destiny, the game is said to run on an entirely new graphics engine developed by Bungie and includes “unique online connectivity and matchmaking technology.” The source also went so far as to equate the game to “WoW in Space”.
Bungie has issued statements on their site denying the claim that they were advised by Activision Blizzard to lay off employees. However, no comments regarding the existence of Destiny have been issued. We are well aware that Bungie is a company that is highly secretive about their projects, but keeping secrets in the internet age is becoming increasingly difficult. Or is it?
So what’s the deal? With the Halo franchise out of their hands, is Destiny Bungie’s next big cash cow? Let’s look at what we know for sure. First of all, who is this mysterious source? Claiming to be an ex-contractor who was not considered a full-time employee, the source stated that they were let go with approximately 30 other employees after the completion of Halo: Reach. Laying off temporary employees hired for a large project is not an uncommon occurrence, especially for a project the size of Reach.
Secondly, you may remember last year’s GDC when Bungie’s Creative Director Joseph Staten alluded to an MMO when he asked “wouldn’t it be great if we could make a world that was always there for you?” Lastly, with the recent acquisition of Blizzard, and the rumors surrounding a subscription model for the next Call of Duty, it’s not hard to believe that Activision may have their sights set on an MMO.
The notion of an MMOFPS does seem incredibly exciting and ambitious, but Activision runs the risk of disappointing the enormous Bungie fan community, and turning off gamers who don’t want to pay monthly subscription fees. But, with the exclusive 10 year publishing agreement that was speculated to cost Activision over $100 million, it’s clear they are investing in Bungie. Also, keep in mind that Halo: Reach earned $200 million in the first 24 hours after its release. If I was to put all my eggs in one developer’s Basket, it would be Bungie’s.
However, like many internet rumors, all of this could be poop on a stick. If one was to start a rumor regarding Bungie’s new project, why not combine the reputations of both the developer and publisher? Bungie knows console FPSs and Activision Blizzard knows MMOs, right? This so called “information leak” seems to be very reminiscent of the pre-internet days when kids on the playground would make outrages claims like their uncle works for Nintendo and let them play Super Mario Bros 9. Even though it’s bullshit, there was no way to disprove it. I also wouldn’t give any credence to the theory that Bungie purposely leaked this information in order to create a buzz. The unnamed source makes Bungie sound as though they treat their employees quite poorly. Furthermore, Bungie has been known to advertise virally, but falsely leaked information is not their style. Plus, Bungie doesn’t exactly need to start its own hype train. Let’s not forget Master Chief Mountain Dew!
So are the rumors true? I’m not going to pretend know one way or another. Though bits and pieces of story sound credible, without knowing the identity of the source, it’s impossible to say. Much like the rest of the internet, I am going to keep my ears open and hope for a Bungie announcement at E3 in June.