Recent layoffs might be just the tip of the iceberg of wider problems at Bungie. A new report alleges a massive decay in morale among employees and fears that the studio could be completely taken over by Sony.

On December 6, IGN published an article detailing the current issues and atmosphere within Bungie, citing several current and former employees who anonymously spoke to the publication. Below are the key takeways.

  • Following Sony’s $3.6 billion acquisition of Bungie, the studio continued to operate independently with the ability to develop and self-publish multiplatform games. However, two Sony executives, senior VP Eric Lempel and PlayStation Studios head Hermen Hulst, have since joined its board of directors.
  • According to IGN, the board is currently split between PlayStation and Bungie representatives, with the studio’s CEO Pete Parsons serving as a “tiebreaker vote.” The situation may change if Bungie fails to meet certain financial targets “by too great and amount,” opening the room for Sony to take full control of the Destiny maker.
  • More employees are now afraid that Bungie will lose its independent leadership, especially given that the company recently laid off 100 people after Destiny 2’s revenue fell 45% below full-year outlook and pre-orders for The Final Shape expansion, which was delayed until June 2024, turned out to be lower-than-expected.
  • As sources told IGN, Bungie initiated other cost-cutting measures, including a hiring freeze, eliminating holiday bonuses, and reducing other benefits. This damaged morale within the company, with one employee describing the current mood as “soul-crushing.”
  • Some workers also expect more job cuts if The Final Shape underperforms commercially, especially given that Bungie chief people officer Holly Barbacovi called layoffs a “level” the company was ready to pull again.
  • When asked during a post-layoffs Q&A session whether cutting leadership pay was an option to prevent mass layoffs, one department head responded that Bungie was “not that type of company.”
  • Bungie might also be increasing outsourcing, especially in areas like QA. This could affect the studio’s in-house testers, who have been experiencing increasing workloads and responsibilities and at the same time growing hostility from leadership for a while now.
  • According to IGN, leaders once referred to QA testers as “non-developers.” It also appears that over 10% of Bungie’s in-house QA department was either fired or laid off between October and early November.

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