Marty O’Donnell On Bungie/Activision Split: “It’s about time”

Marty O’Donnell On Bungie/Activision Split: “It’s about time”

We always knew the Bungie had a bad relationship with Activsion. But did former ‘Destiny’ composer and Bungie executive Marty O’Donnell put it out there.

In a “Pulling No Punches” interview with YouTuber HiddenXperia, Marty was asked about his thoughts when he heard that Bungie was splitting with Activision. His words weren’t the kindest.

“We knew it was a risk… then it turned out to be exactly as we thought it would be”

Marty O’Donnell

Spicy! And that’s just the start of this gaming rant.

He goes into detail about what the relationship was like between Bungie and Activision. He explains how the deal came to be and what led to their eventual separation. Turns out it was just as bad as we gamers imagined.

“it’s About Time”

Credit: 343 Studios

One of the bigger things Marty O’Donnell reveals is “Destiny” almost went to Microsoft. Yeah, that’s right. The same Microsoft they left after the Halo series. Ultimately, Bungie decided to sign the deal with Activision because they were seeking full control and ownership of the IP. Let’s just say they didn’t get that.

@Activision was one of the primary reasons for the shortcomings of @DestinyTheGame in the past. Period! @MartyTheElder is better off.

Legally, all Bungie had to do to stop them was for the leadership to simply say “No.” That was one of Marty O’Donnell’s biggest disappointments with the company.

“We worked for a decade to make sure we could be in a position where we could stand up to the publisher… I was overruled and eventually let go.”

Marty O’Donnell

One of the most interesting and dramatic stories he shared came from before the deal was signed. He was at a dinner with the heads of Activision and Bungie, when one of the Activision men asked Marty about a saying he has: “Be nice to the goose.”

Marty explains that Activision want to be nice to “the goose” (Bungie) because that’s where the golden egg comes from. “If you’re nice to them you’ll get more golden eggs.”

When Marty was done explaining, the man responded with one of the most evil things imaginable. “Golden egg, I like that. You know, but sometimes, there’s nothing like a good foie gras.”

The deal was signed later and the rest is history.

Is Anybody Really Happy?

Marty O'Donnell at Bungie
Source: Bungie/Gamespot

Marty O’Donnell isn’t the only person who has spoken up about how bad the deal was. Former Bungie employees all agree that it was a toxic relationship that needed to end.

Even Bungie made that clear.

The people working at Bungie consistently make little jabs at Activision. You can find these interspersed in their vi-docs and press conferences. They never say it outright, but it’s there.

Usually, they refer to the game being free to be its own thing now. Sometimes, it’s that they’re finally adding a long-awaited feature that could’ve been there since day one. There’s always some kind of language about Bungie and Destiny being restrained and finally moving on.

It’s clear that nobody was very happy with how the deal turned out.

State of Destiny Since the Split

Source: Bungie

Marty O’Donnell was one of the first people to warn Bungie about this deal. And for his trouble, he was let go. He was right, and the game suffered because of that. At least, it’s on a good track now.

Bungie has changed the direction of Destiny significantly since they left Activision. There has been more focus on the player experience and things have felt less rushed. One of the biggest things they added were Seasons. It allows the story and world to evolve naturally overtime instead of waiting until each Fall.

There’s been plenty of criticism over the direction the game is going. If there’s one thing that Bungie is most reliable with, it’s fixing their mistakes. It took nine years for the deal to break apart and the game is better for it. Just think about where it would be if they were separate from the start.


Written by:

79 Posts

Writer, filmmaker, gamer, and a huge film geek! I could talk about this stuff for days... try me. Follow me on Twitter at @MrDude_7
View All Posts
Follow Me :

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.