Destiny 2 developer Bungie has announced a new investment from Chinese online gaming company NetEase that it says will help bring its "newest ambitions to life." The goal is to transform Bungie "from a single franchise development team into a global, multi-franchise entertainment studio."
"For over twenty-five years, through Marathon, Myth, Halo, and Destiny, we’ve created fantastic places where players have gathered to become heroes. Now, our long-term goal is to become an entertainment company that sustains many worlds simultaneously—Destiny and new worlds to come," Bungie said.
"If you’re a player of Destiny, this news won’t impact the hobby you’ve come to know. Destiny is an experience that will grow for many years to come. We’ll continue to work with our partners at Activision to foster this global community and turn new players from all over the world into Guardians. Our commitment to that world is not diminished by this announcement. We have exciting plans for the future of the Destiny franchise, and you’ll learn more about the next steps we’ll take together in the weeks to come."
NetEase, which publishes games including World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Overwatch in China (and also that Terminator 2-based mobile battle royale that looks a whole lot like PUBG), invested $100 million into Bungie, according to the Wall Street Journal (via @saraheneedleman), which will help fund the creation of new, self-published games.
"A big part of our focus is to self-publish in the future," Bungie CEO Pete Parsons said. "We'll decide the business model and how the worlds we create go into the market."
"We have been big fans of the worlds Bungie has created, and are drawn to Bungie's passion and creativity in online games development," NetEase CEO and Director William Ding said in a separate statement. "Bungie and NetEase share the same vision and ambition to deliver incredible experiences to millions of players all around the globe. We are excited to partner with Bungie as they transform from a single franchise development team into a global, multi-franchise entertainment studio."
The NetEase announcement also explicitly states that Bungie is working on new things: "Under the stewardship of Chief Creative Officer and Bungie Founder Jason Jones, Bungie will begin the creation of new worlds," it says.
The drive toward self-determination could be taken as a sign of dissatisfaction with the state of the Destiny 2 situation, but Parsons told GamesIndustry that Activision has been a "great partner" on the game. "Activision is an amazing partner, has been an amazing partner, and remains an amazing partner for us. Destiny has been a fantastic experience for both groups," he said.
And while Simon Zhu, the company's general manager for strategic investments and partnerships, said NetEase would love to bring Destiny 2 to China, "that decision is ultimately Bungie and Activision-Blizzard's."
I've reached out to Bungie for more information.