Tuesday, 22 May 2012

UPDATED: Details Emerge on Bungie's Next Game - Destiny

Not strictly Halo related, but in the Venn diagram that is videogame fans, I'm sure there is a substantial overlap between the circles that represent Halo and Bungie.

In a peculiar twist of the West Zampella vs Avtivision case, the details of Bungie's deal with Activision have been made public. The reasoning behind the reveal seems to be the court's need to compare similar deals between Activision and top developers.

Read on for more, but bear in mind there are spoilers, if you're wanting to keep Bungie's next game a surprise it may be wise to avoid this article.

The whole contract can be downloaded and read > here <, but I have to warn you that it's heavy going with lots of obtuse legal speak.

Some key points from the document:
  • Destiny will be a Massively Multiplayer like, sci-fantasy action shooter.
  • Games will release in alternate years - 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019
  • Expansion packs (codenamed Comet) will release in between in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020
  • The first Destiny game will be an Xbox 360 and "Xbox 720" exclusive at launch, but may appear on PS4 in Fall 2014 following a "technical feasibility analysis"
  • The games will be boxed retail games, but the contract accepts that boxed retail may evolve during the life of the franchise to online downloads. 
  • The contract includes DLC, subscriptions, microtransactions, and other "value added services".
  • Activision and Bungie are considering a PS3 version of the first game in 2014, but this may change based on next gen console plans of Sony and Microsoft. 
  • The second Destiny game, scheduled for a 2015 release is said to be releasing on 360, 720, PS4, and Windows PC.
  • Destiny will aim for a Teen/PEGI 16 rating.
  • Activision can terminate the contract without penalty if Destiny doesn't sell at least 5,000,000 units in the first six months, or for any reason they please after the second expansion pack releases. Interestingly, there were also several spent clauses regarding the sales and aggregate review scores of Halo: Reach. 
  • The document also confirms that Bungie is working on a Marathon game, but states that no more than 5% of Bungie staff can work on it. and the amount of employees that can work on it goes up slowly as they hit cumulative profit goals. There are also limits on when Bungie can release Marathon. For specifics on this see the contract images at the bottom since it's pretty lengthy.
  • There is a suggestion that Destiny could feature in-game GMs (Game Masters) this is fairly standard for MMOs and persistent world games, but interesting nonetheless and gives us an insight into the scope of the game. 
  • Bungie have a budget of $1,000,000 for "pre-beta marketing", which can be spent on things such as "the creation of ViDocs and marketing assets and executions consistent with its expertise and historical practice."
  • Bungie will receive a healthy share of the income (not profits!): 20% on the first $100m, 24% between $100m and $400m, and then 35% of anything over $400m. 
  • In real numbers, if Destiny's revenues hit $500m (which you'd expect they will comfortably), Bungie will see $127,000,000 of it. HO-LY SHIT.
  • If the game misses release date these numbers will fall by 10%. 
  • Bungie will receive $25m bonuses at both $750m and $1bn operating income. 
  • Bungie will also receive a $2.5 million bonus if Destiny achieves a GameRankings rating of 90 or higher on Xbox 360.

That's all I've gleaned from a first pass of the document, I'll keep reading and update if I find anything interesting. It goes without saying that this is an absolute bombshell and a remarkable insight into the behind the scenes working of game publishing. Incredible stuff.

UPDATE from Bungie:

Bungie just posted a very short message, confirming this as true (but we sort of knew that anyway):


Well, that just happened…
So, yeah. While we’re not ready to show you what we’ve been working on, we can reconfirm that we are hard at work on our new universe. We can’t wait for you to see it. See you starside in 2013.

- Cowboy Out.


  1. 5 million copies. In half a year. That's ridiculous, no matter how much money you throw against it. You can't honestly expect an mmo to sell THAT good nowadays. That's more than Diablo 3 will probably sell in the entire year past it's release. Fucking Activision..

    1. Not really. Halo Reach sold 3.3 million units in the first month. While 5 million in the first 6 is high, it's not entirely unreasonable.

  2. It is bungie we are.talking bout so, the product pretty much sells itnself

  3. this sounds crap... you cant make an MMO type game and release a new one every 2 years! it wotn work and it sounds like bungie got a terrible deal, oh dear, if i were bungie i would not have done that = bye bye bungie

  4. That Gunslinger22 May 2012 at 23:42

    Activision are being surprisingly generous to be honest. While the Publisher's cut of the profits is always going to be massively disproportionate relative to the work done, it is better than most agree to. Every entertainment industry gets bullied like this by a few big corporations, but at least they realise that Bungie need to left to their work if Activision want to see any of that unearned money.

    And at the end of the day, Bungie are still independent, and most importantly, they own the IPs for new series. And a new Marathon game is WAY overdue! Even a full remake of the trilogy would be awesome.

    I still do not like Activision one bit, but at least they are giving Bungie some room to be creative. I t's a shame that all of this had to be revealed though, that's rather unfair for Bungie. You could tell that they were excited about revealing this even a couple of years back when they started. And everyone should realise that it is an MMO-type game, not an MMO.I'm thinking like a more expanded and open-world Borderlands.

  5. Wow, sounds pretty cool! Bungie sure has something sweet.

  6. if 343 also releases a games on alternate years then we will get a new Halo / Bungie game each year!