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.