During a recent interview, Martin O'Donnell, who once served on Bungie's board of directors, made some bold claims about the Destiny franchise, Activision involvement in it, and Xbox's near involvement in it. According to O'Donnell, things with Destiny were a bit dicey from the jump, noting the deal with Activision was never made with a great deal of confidence from either party.
"We knew it was a risk right from the get-go," said O'Donnell while speaking to HiddenXperia. "It turned out to be exactly as bad as we thought it was going to be. Everybody who no longer works for Bungie is going to say, 'Yeah, it was bad from the start.'"
"If you still work for Bungie, you're going to be political and you're going to say all sorts of things like, 'Oh, we had a good partnership and blah blah blah we were able to build a wonderful thing. And the time came for us to go our separate ways because we each had different goals but we're happy and we love each other.' That's BS," said the composer. "There are so many scripted answers out there that I hear."
If the deal was so bad, why did Bungie sign it? Well, O'Donnell claims Bungie almost went with Microsoft rather than Activision. However, ultimately the deciding factor between the two was that Activision was willing to let Bungie maintain the rights to the IP. From the start, Bungie wanted to retain the IP rights after selling Halo to Xbox and eventually walking away from the popular series it created.
"The reason why we went with Activision was not just the money, but it was because as part of the contract -- they didn't own the IP," said O'Donnell.
O'Donnell continued by suggesting one of the reasons he was let go by Bungie was that he was deadset against Activision getting control of the IP, which apparently some of the Bungie leadership was fine with.
"Here's the spicy part. Activision not only didn't have the legal right to mess with the IP," said O'Donnell. "But the only way they would be prevented from messing with the IP is if all the leadership at Bungie said you can't mess with the IP. And that's not what happened. And that's why they fired me."0comments
Of course, everything here should be taken with a grain of salt. While there's no reason to doubt what O'Donnell is saying, it's merely one perspective of what sounds like a complicated and dramatic few years at Bungie.