A new report details issues of sexism, crunch, and toxic culture
Bungie CEO Pete Parsons issued a statement in response to a new IGN report on the company’s internal culture over the last few years. The Destiny 2 studio executive apologizes to those who experienced an unfair working environment, as the report details, and affirms a commitment to improving its internal practices.
The IGN report comes from interviews with 26 people who have worked with or currently work at Bungie in the last decade. The stories will sound familiar to others from large studios: reports of burnout and a toxic work environment, 100-hour weeks during crunch, leaders who “made life miserable” for the narrative writers under them, and inappropriate remarks made towards colleagues.
Issues of diversity, burnout, and toxic behavior are all present in IGN’s report. There are also stories of Bungie’s attempts to right the ship, which includes a not-yet-greenlit project, led by underrepresented minorities. An internal diversity committee was formed in 2015, and several sources told IGN that leaders within the team resisted changes suggested, with enough of the diverse employees on it quitting the committee that Bungie shut it down in 2018.
It’s an extremely thorough and extensive report, so I suggest you set aside some time to read it in full on their site here.
After its publication, Bungie CEO Parsons issued a statement on the Bungie website, addressing the report. In the first paragraph of it, he directly apologizes, and states he’s not writing to refute or challenge any experiences.
“First, I want to apologize to anyone who has ever experienced anything less than a safe, fair, and professional working environment at Bungie. I am not here to refute or to challenge the experiences we’re seeing shared today by people who have graced our studio with their time and talent. Our actions or, in some cases, inactions, caused these people pain. I apologize personally and on behalf of everyone at Bungie who I know feels a deep sense of empathy and sadness reading through these accounts.”
Parsons goes on to outline several steps which the Destiny 2 developer is taking to make changes. These include removing bad actors, better planning, and better efforts towards diversity, inclusion, and equity. The CEO says that Bungie is not yet the studio it has the potential to become, but it is on its way.
As one employee pointed out to IGN, Bungie had tweeted about the ongoing Activision Blizzard scandals in the past, a point of frustration for them. Employees speaking to IGN do believe that the company is moving in the right direction, and some issued a challenge to Bungie to not just talk and make statements, but to listen and act.
“The phrase, ‘Boldly, to the stars’ has fueled our creative engine since the beginning,” said Parsons at the end of his statement. “We take this same spirit of hope and improvement to the crucial human work in front of us. Our current and future actions around the care of our people will define Bungie’s future and is our most important purpose. We are grateful and humbled to continue this work and are energized by the journey ahead.”