Destiny 2: A Bungie Job Listing Has Me Worried About This Monumental Sequel

by Matthew Hayes

destiny2
(Photo: Bungie)

Bungie is looking for someone who can crank out some small-scale, story-driven content for the new Destiny. The job listing states the following (via WCCF Tech): "As a Narrative Director, you will direct the storytelling efforts for regular, small-scale Destiny releases throughout the calendar year. Our ideal candidate has a deep understanding of interactive storytelling with strong organizational and leadership skills as well as an ability to work with external partners. A proven record of prioritizing resources against creative goals in a fast-paced release environment is a must."

This may seem exciting to some, but I'm more than a little concerned by the fact that Bungie is emphasizing a "fast-paced release environment" as a likely setting for their ideal candidate. Further on in the listing, as the candidate's responsibilities are detailed, it is again stated that he or she will "Rapidly iterate on small-scale projects on a condensed timeline and ensure successful completion."

Anyone who is familiar with the troubled content development history of the current Destiny will see the issue here. We're worried that Bungie is still chasing after an ideal monetization model first and foremost, made possible by a culture of crunch, instead of focusing first and foremost on one, solid, satisfying product for players at launch.

It is entirely possible that I'm reading too deeply into this, and I'm aware of that. I'm sure every job in this industry requires the ability to work in a "fast-paced environment." Plus, this is one job; one person that will join a team of over 1,000. It would be rash and, indeed, disrespectful for me to assume that the entire team is serving a vision that is based on revenue and not on great experiences.

Yet I do have this nagging, cynical fear that Bungie is still under this suffocating pressure from Activision to produce the most lucrative sequel it possibly can, and that means a lot of paid DLC will take center-stage. That's where our friendly neighborhood Narrative Director comes in, cranking out small-scale projects in a fast-paced release environment, on a condensed timeline.

Half-baked DLC and an overly-open and ambiguous story is what makes Destiny feels so incoherent and incomplete. It has to be incomplete in a way - how else could Bungie justify its ambitous post-launch DLC schedule? According to Kotaku's Jason Schreier, Activision and Bungie reached an agreement that, every other year, Bungie would release a major expansion for Destiny. In the in-between years, Bungie would have to release two DLC packs. Schreier described the month immediately following the release of Destiny:

"Once Destiny launched in September 2014, Bungie’s staff didn’t have much time to celebrate. Over the next few months, the developers had to grind constantly. First they had to deliver two DLC packs that each justified $20; then they had to release a massive $40 expansion the following fall. They needed a live team working on constant patches and bug-fixes, and they also needed to plant flags to set players up for the major changes that The Taken King would eventually bring."

the dark below
(Photo: Bungie)

The Dark Below, Destiny's anemic first DLC offering, was reportedly cranked out in just nine weeks. That's what I call a "condensed timeline." Investors may have been pleased to see such efficiency, but players were not pleased with the final product. Destiny 2 is Bungie's chance to prove that it respects its players' intelligence, time, and money.

Destiny has some great bones, and The Taken King was a great step forward for the game as a whole, but it still feels incomplete. Rise of Iron felt like more of the same, and for many Destiny players that's just what the doctor ordered. The rest of us are waiting for something new. A great story; a satisfying experience; something more substantial. Hopefully this listing isn't an indication that Bungie is more focused on its investors than its players going forward.

By Matthew Hayes

Matthew loves artistic games, RPG loot, all things Nintendo, and esoteric philosophy - if you want to buy him something for his birthday, that's all you need to know. In person, a meek dog-lover. Online, an overly competitive villain. Favorite games include Persona 4 Golden, Rainbow Six Siege, Dark Souls, Rhythm Heaven Megamix, and Jet Set Radio.