When the information broke that Sony was throwing a $3.6B bag at Bungie, in the course of our weekly planning assembly I’d add, my preliminary response was shock adopted by fairly a little bit of confusion. That feeling solely grew as I learn the statement and FAQ put out by Bungie. Each of those double down on the notion that Bungie will stay nearly completely impartial, Future 2 will proceed to be printed on different platforms (PC, Xbox and—lol—Stadia) in perpetuity, and even that Bungie’s future tasks will not now turn into PlayStation exclusives.
The studio even goes as far as to ask (itself) that query explicitly. To which it solutions: “No. We wish the worlds we’re creating to increase to anyplace folks play video games. We are going to proceed to be self-published, creatively impartial, and we’ll proceed to drive one, unified Bungie neighborhood.” Okay. Excellent information should you’re a present Xbox or PC participant—or, certainly, an govt at Microsoft—however, if that is the case, why purchase Bungie should you’re not going to publish what it makes completely?
A part of the reply lies on this line: “[Sony Interactive Entertainment] believes that recreation worlds are solely the start of what our IPs can turn into.” The calculus right here turns into comparatively easy. Sony is a multimedia behemoth that owns an enormous movie studio (in contrast to Microsoft) however has but to make a considerable streaming play. Bungie is the creator of one of the vital widespread sci-fi universes on this planet, which is completely ripe to make the bounce into different mediums. The content material maths checks out.
Observe additionally that the temper music round gaming crossover content material has shifted because of non-shit exhibits like The Witcher, Arcane and Castlevania. Who is aware of how Paramount’s Halo show will finally be obtained, however—Cortana redesign apart—it is additional signal that the content material conglomerates see gaming copyright as very fertile floor. Relating to this stuff, sci-fi can be seen as a comparatively good wager. One other firm sat on an unlimited pile of grimdark fiction is Video games Workshop, which is within the early levels of constructing a present based on Eisenhorn, a Warhammer 40,000 Inquisitor who’s beforehand starred in a number of books.
Initiatives like these take years after all, so do not anticipate to binge an animated model of Future’s Books of Sorrow anytime quickly. However Bungie will not be beginning utterly from chilly. Having announced its intention to maneuver into different media final February, in September of the identical yr it listed a job for a Senior Govt, Growth (Movie, TV, Transmedia). That position concerned extending Future “into new classes together with TV, movies, books, comics and audio codecs.”
The outline learn: “As a storyteller and “guardian” of the Future IP, you’ll establish, choose, information, collaborate, and supply suggestions to 3rd events and companions enabling them to inform further myths within the Future universe.” We now know that Sony will likely be that accomplice. Actually, as soon as you’re taking platform exclusivity for video games off the desk, it seems to be like match. The truth that Bungie goes to be run instantly by SIE moderately than PlayStation Studios additionally underlines that this can be a deal about taking these properties past the present playerbase.
So what else does the thick finish of 4 billion bucks purchase you today? Do not forget that Future is not the one iron in Bungie’s fireplace. In 2019, the studio dedicated to releasing at the very least one non-Destiny game earlier than 2025 as a part of its intention to turn into “one of many world’s greatest leisure firms.” Bungie CEO Pete Parsons revealed in 2020 that Bungie had been engaged on a number of new video games for the previous three years; a yr later, Parsons recommitted to getting at the very least a type of out earlier than 2025, saying Bungie desires to “inform new tales within the Future Universe, and create completely new worlds in to-be-announced IPs.”
These video games stay unannounced, however because of extra job listings we now have some perception into what’s being labored on behind in Seattle. In April 2021 we found that Bungie is creating a brand new recreation centered on competitive PvP that was particularly not Future 3, however “a brand new franchise at Bungie.” The next month, one other itemizing appeared for a “multiplayer action game” that was “in incubation,” which is to say very early alongside within the course of.
Essentially the most intriguing itemizing, although, was posted a yr previous to all that. It too was apparently nonetheless within the incubation stage, however whereas the primary two video games sounded very Bungie-like, this one positively didn’t. “Would you prefer to work on one thing comedic with lighthearted and whimsical characters?” the itemizing requested. “Do you assume lots about how artwork impacts gameplay, how character design can allow fan cosplays, or how character poses and environments communicate to totally different cultures all world wide?” Sounds extra like Insomniac than Bungie.
It is most likely secure to say that the undertaking to emerge first would be the one which’s at present being directed by Christopher Barrett. He was the artistic lead on Future 2 throughout the wonderful Forsaken growth period, however subsequently moved to a recreation director place on an unannounced undertaking. Barrett was beforehand an artwork director at Bungie, and having interviewed him across the time Future 2 made the bounce to PC I got here away very impressed. We are able to safely say the Sony fits can have kicked the tires of all these tasks earlier than throwing down the cash for Bungie, and felt likewise.
We’d additionally contemplate whether or not Future 2, and any of those different unannounced video games, may make match for any Recreation Move rival that Sony finally ends up launching. It actually makes extra sense now why Future 2 disappeared from Recreation Move in December.
Shared worlds and household issues
What we are able to most likely assume is that each one the unannounced tasks match the prolonged universe remedy that each Sony and Bungie has in thoughts for its newly minted partnership. Regardless of the actual fact Bungie has beforehand struggled to free itself from the company yoke of first Microsoft and then Activision, being purchased by one other mega writer nonetheless makes loads of sense for the studio. For one factor, everybody will get paid. Bungie may also profit from the long-term safety—and extra assets—that comes from being in mattress with one of many Massive Beasts. But additionally, from the time I labored on the Official PlayStation Journal, I keep in mind Sony’s first and second-party studios have monitor report in casual know-how sharing. Having the ability to swap warfare tales with the likes of Insomniac, Naughty Canine and Sony Santa Monica can have its advantages.
Sony is gaining access to unbelievable expertise and expertise at Bungie. Creators of Halo and Future ⚡️⚡️ Shortsighted to have a look at simply IP, you get so, a lot extra with all that have. Very excited for my pals at Bungie and glad Future is staying multi platform.January 31, 2022
Essentially, the Sony acquisition will assist drive Bungie’s objectives past video games. In an interview with GamesIndustry right this moment, Parsons confirmed that Bungie’s plans proceed to incorporate broadening its properties to films, tv, and different media, and being part of Sony will speed up that course of.
“You’ll be able to’t assist however take a look at Sony’s accomplishments, not simply as an important platform, and having simply a few of the greatest growth groups in your entire world,” Parsons mentioned. “But additionally one of many best leisure firms on this planet. We noticed this nice alternative to construct—not simply Future, we’re engaged on greater than Future—these nice interactive experiences, which we predict we’re good at. But additionally having the ability to discover these worlds much more.”
Maybe some exterior oversight may also assist Bungie with its ongoing effort to enhance company tradition on the studio. In December Parsons publicly apologized after an IGN report detailed failings associated to toxicity and sexism on the studio. That work might want to proceed behind the scenes. For now, although, and as with the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard takeover, gamers should not anticipate to see main modifications within the close to to medium time period.
Lest we neglect, it was approach again in 2018 that NetEase invested the (what now seems to be paltry) sum of $100m into Bungie to construct “new worlds”. However right here I’m, nonetheless ready to play Future 2’s The Witch Queen growth subsequent month, and admittedly feeling good about it. I am additionally very relieved that the PC model is not going away anytime quickly.
On an extended sufficient timeline, it’ll be much less about particular platforms for these media giants, and extra concerning the library of universes every of them owns. Right here, there isn’t any argument: Bungie makes actually nice universes.