‘Crunch Was Absolutely A Leading Factor’ For Destiny 2 The Final Shape, Says Former Bungie Community Manager

By Zuhaad Ali
Image: Bungie via The Game Post

Liana Ruppert, the former Community Manager for Destiny 2, has shared insights into the development process of the game’s latest expansion, The Final Shape.

In a recent video, Ruppert candidly discussed the significant impact of crunch culture and the subsequent layoffs at Bungie, which saw 8% of the workforce, including herself, let go in October 2023.

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Ruppert highlighted that “crunch was absolutely a leading factor for The Final Shape,” suggesting that the intense pressure and long hours were significant issues during development. The Final Shape expansion was initially planned for release in February 2024. However, following the layoffs, the developer announced that it has delayed the expansion until June 4, 2024.

Ruppert expressed relief that the expansion was delayed, as it provided the developers with much-needed time to improve aspects they were not satisfied with. “There were so many things that the devs did not feel super great about, and that delay gave them the time to do that,” Ruppert noted.

Destiny 2 Players Will Have A 'Better Sense For Where The Future Of Destiny Goes' After The Final Shape Raid, Says Bungie
Image: Bungie

The layoffs at Bungie, while a difficult period for the company, also had some unintended positive effects, according to Ruppert. She explained that the negative publicity surrounding the layoffs forced leadership to pay more attention to the concerns and needs of the development teams.

“The layoffs gave them such bad PR, leadership was forced to listen to the teams,” she claimed, suggesting that the situation led to better communication and consideration within the company.

The former community manager spoke highly of Joe Blackburn, former game director for Destiny 2 who left the company earlier this year, and Catarina Macedo, project lead for Destiny 2 expansions, emphasizing their openness and willingness to listen to the team.

“I was always drawn to Joe and Catarina because both of them were just so open to hearing whatever it is you had to say, so open to feedback, so open to criticism, so open to praise, and they’re just amazing,” the former community manager stated.

“I think more companies need to have leaderships like this. There is a list of execs that I would love to step down from Bungie because the culture there would be so much better if that would happen, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

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Image: Bungie via TheGamePost

Ruppert has always been a vocal advocate for the developers at Bungie, emphasizing their need for support and protection. “I’ve been very honest and upfront and very vocal about this, and very clear in saying the devs deserve support, the devs deserve to be protected, the devs deserve to be heard,” she asserted.

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However, she made a clear distinction between the developers and the leadership, indicating that while some leaders are exemplary, others cause significant harm. “Notice how I don’t include leadership in that,” she added.

“That’s not to say that all of the leadership is bad, absolutely not. There’s some amazing people in leadership… but unfortunately, it’s not enough to counteract the damage that the bad members of leadership do and they’re always going to be in those positions to do that bad until they take that payout.”

Earlier this year, Chief Technology Officer, Luis Villegas, transitioned to Sony PlayStation, after being at Bungie for fourteen years. The ongoing challenges at Bungie highlight the complexities of game development and the importance of a supportive and attentive leadership.

The Final Shape, on the other hand, has garnered very positive early reception from both fans and critics, who have praised the new campaign for its compelling narrative and innovative gameplay mechanics. Fans are particularly impressed with the engaging story arcs and the depth of character development, something that many felt was missing in last year’s expansion, Lightfall.

Destiny 2 The Final Shape is now available on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.

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