A job listing that came to light in June 2020 seeking developers who want to “work on something comedic with lighthearted and whimsical characters” suggested that Bungie is working on at least one project that is very un-Destiny-like. But I don’t think we need to worry too much that it is leaving its roots behind, as a newer listing spotted by DestinyNews+ points to a project that is very Destiny-like.
“Do you spend your time deconstructing the latest PvP games to understand how they work?” the multiplayer systems designer listing asks. “Do you analyze how teamplay dynamics are affected by everything from moment-to-moment abilities to high-level macro objectives? Are you excited to design game systems that allow for interesting strategic decisions, multiple vectors of player learning, and the depth to support hundreds of hours of gameplay?”
“As a Multiplayer Systems Designer, you will work with a team to prototype different game ideas on the path to production. Most importantly, you will work with a fun, dedicated, and passionate cross-discipline team devoted to turning a creative dream into a new franchise at Bungie.”
Destiny 2 is known primarily as a multiplayer game and this want ad could fairly easily apply to either that game or the inevitable Destiny 3, but the reference to a “new franchise at Bungie” shoots that possibility down. It’s also no secret that the studio is looking to spread its wings beyond the Destiny games: CEO Pete Parsons said in November 2020 that Bungie has been working on “new incubations” since 2017, and Chris Barrett, formerly the game director on Destiny 2, now holds the same title on an unannounced project.
Naturally, the job listing doesn’t name any names, but the “responsibilities” section also points at a very Destiny-like project:
- Conceive of, build, and iterate on competitive multiplayer game mechanics that provide strategic depth and opportunities for counterplay
- Contribute to and uphold the creative vision of the game, ensuring consistency across all aspects of game design
- Collaborate daily with the team through feedback, design guidance, roadmaps, and providing clear goals and outcomes to teammates
- Deliver functional specifications and prototype concepts and content as needed to help drive the overall product direction
It’s possible that this is related to Bungie’s partnership with Chinese online gaming company Netease. That investment was made specifically to support a new project: Bungie said when the deal was announced in 2018 that its aim was to change “from a single franchise development team into a global, multi-franchise entertainment studio.”
One other interesting thing to note is that familiarity with Unreal Engine and/or Unity is listed as “nice-to-have” skill. Destiny 2 runs on the same proprietary engine as the original game, and while Bungie has said that it will never move Destiny to a new engine, “any future games that Bungie makes wouldn’t necessarily need to use the Destiny tech if it doesn’t make sense for that game.”
It will definitely be interesting to see what Bungie has cooking—it’s developed only two series over the past 20 years, Halo and Destiny—but it will likely be quite a while yet before we reach that point: In 2019, Parsons said Bungie hopes to have “other franchises” on the market by 2025.