May 21, 2012

Activision and Bungie’s contract revealed in court case; Looks awful

In the recent court case between Activision and previous Call of Duty developers and Infinity Ward members Jason West and Vincent Zampella, the contract between developer Bungie (Marathon, Myth, Oni, Halo) and publisher Activision (Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, Vampire: The Masquerade) has been made public. What it reveals is a release schedule that sounds absolutely awful and money-hungry.


Quoting a post by  NeoGAF member V_Ben, the highlights of the contract are:


-Massively multiplayer style, sci-fantasy action shooter series codenamed Destiny with expansion packs codenamed Comet.
-Four games releasing in 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019.
-Four expansion packs releasing in 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020.
-The main games will be retail.
-There will be other DLC, subscriptions, microtransactions, and value added services.
-The first game will be an Xbox 360 and “Xbox 720” timed exclusive.
-Activision and Bungie are considering a PS3 version of the first game in 2014.
-The second game is targeted for 360, 720, PS4, and Windows PC, though the contract notes that some of those SKUs may be dropped if they decide they are not worthwhile or not technically feasible.
-Activision can terminate the contract without penalty if Destiny doesn’t sell at least 5 million units in the first six months, or for any reason they please after the second expansion pack releases.


For more details, the full contract can be read here.


A yearly release schedule between games and expansions, console exclusivity, and plans for vast DLC sound like what Activision has already done to the Call of Duty franchise, and has attempted to do with the Guitar Hero franchise until the fans realized they were being duped and said no more.  Ironically one of the musings behind Bungie leaving Microsoft was the idea that they were sick and tired of churning out Halo after Halo and becoming a money farm. Guess that wasn’t quite the case.


Sadly it’s more than likely this new “Destiny” game will sell more than 5 million units and Activision/Bungie will follow through on the rest of this inevitably boring and drawn out series. But here’s hoping that such dirty business practice will land them flat on their face and cost them millions of dollars.
Remember when developers made a game they wanted to make because it was something they wanted to play? Things like Theme Hospital or Myth or Unreal. It was done to push boundaries and make great games, not just a lot of money.


  1. Algorind - May 24, 2012 3:10 pm

    Everything Activision touches suffers. The sad thing is, they have enough money to throw around that they can stomp out the developers out there who try to get back to their roots. Remember when Blizzard was an underdog? The original teams behind Warcraft and Diablo put so much passion into the games that they made. But now, spending 200 hours on a game is not what the gaming giants want, unless you are constantly paying for it, either through subscriptions or DLC.

    DLC is evil and should not be supported. Let’s go back to the days of real expansion packs that actually changed and enhanced the way games played.

  2. thsoundman - May 21, 2012 11:08 pm

    See thats what sucks about the game industry now days. It used to be that companies made games because they wanted to make games that people would enjoy… games that would push the boundries… games that had good stories, sound and imerssion. Games that touched us. Money was an afterthought so long as bills were paid. Now games are about making the shareholders happy and milking the customer for every dime they can get and even then they can’t seem to spend enough money. It’s one of the reasons I’m really starting to shift back towards indie devlopers becasue they still treat game devlopment like an artform not a cash cow. This is the primary reason I hate applesq companies. They treat us like micro transaction machines

  3. RAY16 - May 21, 2012 6:48 pm

    It’s a good thing they got out of Microsoft’s pocket so they could stop being a Halo factory and jump right into being contractually obligated to slave away on another franchise.


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