Earlier this week, California filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard that alleges a culture of sexual and racial harassment and discrimination at the company. In response, Activision Blizzard claimed that the suit is “distorted, and in many cases false,” calling the California agency “unaccountable state bureaucrats.” Somewhat surprisingly, a developer not involved in the suit, Bungie, has now released a statement of its own, declaring a “zero-tolerance policy” for “toxic culture” in its workplace.
The Destiny 2 developer had a ten-year publishing agreement with Activision Blizzard starting 2010, which was terminated early in 2019. Bungie hasn't had anything to do with the company since then, but it did spend eight years working with it, and so perhaps wants to set its own tone.
Here's Bungie's statement in full:
“Bungie is built on empowering our people no matter who they are, where they are from, or how they identify. We have a responsibility to acknowledge, reflect, and do what we can to push back on a persistent culture of harassment, abuse, and inequality that exists in our industry.
“It's our responsibility to ensure this type of behavior is not tolerated at Bungie at any level, and that we never excuse it or sweep it under the rug. While the accounts in this week’s news are difficult to read, we hope they will lead to justice, awareness, and accountability.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy at Bungie for environments that support this toxic culture, and we are committed to rooting them out to defend those who are at risk.
“Women, POC, and underrepresented communities have nothing to gain by reliving their trauma. We believe them when they come forward with reports of abuse or harassment.
“We don’t pretend that Bungie is perfect and that no one has experienced harassment while working here, but we will not tolerate it and will confront it head on. And we will continue to do the work every day to be better.
“Our goal is to continue to improve the experience for everyone working at Bungie and do our part to make the gaming industry as a whole to be more welcoming and inclusive.”
Bungie is built on empowering our people no matter who they are, where they are from, or how they identify.We have a responsibility to acknowledge, reflect, and do what we can to push back on a persistent culture of harassment, abuse, and inequality that exists in our industry.July 22, 2021
Bungie's split from Activision in 2019 was a surprise, though there had been evidence of simmering tensions. Activision's COO said in a 2018 earnings call that the publisher wasn't satisfied with the performance of Destiny 2, most notably the Forsaken expansion, and this prompted Bungie to go on the defensive, albeit politely.
While the 2019 split was publicly amicable, comments from former Bungie employees since have indicated that it wasn't always happy. Former Bungie composer Marty O'Donnell said of the relationship that it “was not a marriage made in heaven at all.”
Not everyone agrees, at least not publicly. Bungie comms director David Dague said last year that Activision was not a “prohibitive overlord” during the publishing relationship, and that the split was amicable.
Outside of Bungie, the Activision Blizzard lawsuit has sparked a wide range of reactions from fans and industry professionals, both on social media and in Activision Blizzard games themselves.