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Bungie’s layoff kept many in the dark because it wasn’t immediately clear the number of staff impacted by the studio’s decision. However, a new Bloomberg report has made the extent of the layoff clearer. The report suggested that around 100 employees were laid off or 8% of the studio’s workforce.

According to the report, staff were warned earlier this month that the studio’s revenue was around 45% below projections. Bungie’s CEO Pete Parsons blamed it on poor player retention for Destiny 2. The report also claimed that the game’s next expansion, The Final Shape, was going to be delayed until June 2024 to give developers more time to improve it.

It was also revealed that Parsons told the studio’s staff at that meeting that salary and hiring freezes would be enforced. However, two weeks after the meeting, 100 staff were told to leave the studio. Paul Tassi, a writer with Forbes, shared a screenshot on X that showed how dire the situation was for the laid-off employees.

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According to the screenshot, many employee benefits lasted until October 31st. That means the laid-off staff had just a single day more benefit because they were fired on October 30th. However, Bloomberg’s report noted that healthcare benefits of the laid-off employees would last for three more months.

Also, Tassi’s source claimed many employees had unvested shares (shares they cannot access until they meet certain criteria) due to the acquisition of Bungie by Sony. However, those shares will revert to Bungie if the employees leave the company—even if fired. This seems to be the most contentious issue in the Bungie layoff.

Destiny 2

Sony revealed last year that around $1.2 billion of the $3.6 billion spent on Bungie’s acquisition would be dedicated to employee retention, and used to reward existing employees who stick with the studio for a certain number of years.

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“This may be a part of wider cost-cutting at Sony in multiple areas, but as an independent entity, who gets cut, the timing and terms, are Bungie’s decision,” Tassi further clarified.

Bungie is one of the many PlayStation studios that were hit by layoffs in October. Naughty Dog, Media Molecule, and PlayStation’s Visual Arts group all announced layoffs in October.

Michael Salvatori, a veteran Bungie composer, reportedly leaves

After Bungie’s layoffs surfaced on Monday, Michael Salvatori, the veteran composer who has worked with the studio for more than 25 years, was also reported to have cut ties with the studio. Salvatori’s relationship with Bungie goes back to 1997 when he worked on Myth: The Fallen Lords.

He also worked on several Halo titles including Combat Evolved released in 2001 and Destiny games and their expansions. Soon after the Bungie layoff was announced, Salvatori fans noticed that his website and that of fellow composer Michael Sechrist had been updated to erase some references to their previous works and added the words “Gone Fishin’”.

Halo: Combat Evolved

There are conflicting reports about Salvatori’s exit from Bungie. CEO of CinemaMotions Carson Reed claimed that Salvatori was one of the employees fired by Bungie, citing internal sources. However, Jez Cordon of Windows Central claimed he may have voluntarily retired.

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Salvatori and composer Martin O’Donnell worked on the score for the original Halo titles as part of their company, TotalAudio. Along the way while Halo was still in production, O’Donnell was hired by Bungie as a full-time staff while Salvatori remained independent. However, Salvatori eventually took up an employee role with Bungie in 2011.

The layoffs seem to have had some sort of impact on the release of Destiny 2’s upcoming expansion and the next full game which according to reports have now been pushed back to 2024 and 2025 respectively.

How often do you hear that video game workers retire compared to being laid off? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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