I see a lot of people are excited that Bungie has split from Activision and now owns the Destiny Intellectual Property (IP). However, before folks hype up others, it’s best to put some things into perspective regarding Bungie and NetEase moving forward.
Firstly, do you remember when Bungie struck up a partnership with NetEase back on June 1st, 2018? If not, a segment from bungie.net is up for you to read. However, please, do keep the words in Bold ingrained in the back of your head while reading to keep things in perspective:
“Today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve entered into a new partnership with NetEase to help us explore new directions. With their industry expertise, they’ll empower us to build new worlds and invite players, new and old, to join us there. They’ll help us support separate teams inside Bungie to bring our newest ambitions to life.”
On the same day, June 1st, 2018, Bungie studio CEO Pete Parsons took up an interview with publication site gamesindustry.biz to relay the following about the partnership with NetEase:
“For now, we’re grateful for the opportunity to welcome NetEase to the family. We have a bold vision to explore with them, but that is all a conversation for another time.”
It was mentioned in the past that Bungie struck this deal with NetEase for $100 million, but website Polygon (archive.is) recently reaffirmed that the deal is still for the same amount as of January 10th, 2019:
“In 2018, Bungie struck a deal with Chinese internet company NetEase to establish the game maker as a “global, multi-franchise entertainment company.” Bungie received a $100 million investment from NetEase to help the studio build new teams and new worlds, Bungie CEO Pete Parsons said at the time.”
Parsons also explained back in 2018 to gamesindustry.biz why the partnership came to be:
“Really what this partnership is about is bringing the expertise NetEase has, sharing ideas and allowing us to incubate new ideas. There’s no explicit deal to publish our games in China. It’s more that they share our passion for games, our passion for building worlds that inspire friendships and building communities, and that’s the entire focus of it.”
So, in other words, Bungie wants to build a project/game that hones in on NetEase’s experience? And you mean to tell me that there is no explicit deal to publish their games in China? However, Bungie’s “focus” is to build “worlds” that “inspire friendships and building communities”? Doesn’t sound like they’re trying to pull a sneaky mobile one on us, eh?
Well, I won’t jump the gun and assume Bungie is secretly incubating a mobile game with NetEase. Instead, what does CEO Parsons have to say about why he’s so excited to learn from NetEase when he spoke to gamesindustry.biz last year:
“We certainly have a lot to learn from them [NetEase] in mainland China. They also have a significant amount of experience in mobile we don’t have. And one of the things we were really excited about when we met with them is their team has a considerable amount of development expertise and practices and processes that I think we can also learn from as a company who’s trying to make games. That’s one of the things we like about them. They’re in the business to make games, and they’re very excited about the future where we’re beginning to incubate and explore new ideas.”
Now, I’m not fond of him, but according to Jason Schreier, he wrote last year the following information:
“Bungie has been quietly working on a non-Destiny new game for some time now, and today the studio acknowledged it for the first time, announcing a partnership with Chinese publisher NetEase that will raise them $100 million.”
He, Schreier, also wrote to a commenter on Kotaku the following information as of recent stating a dark side of Bungie:
“Most if not all of Destiny’s mistakes came from Bungie, not the publisher, and self-publishing a game is really fucking hard. In addition to the risk, Bungie now has to handle many of the business aspects of game development that Activision was handling before — PR, marketing, biz dev, distribution, etc. Bungie has been through this before — remember when it split from Microsoft in 2007? Things weren’t so rosy in the years after that.
So I’d say be cautiously optimistic.”
To tie this all up, if you don’t know, NetEase is the ones behind the infamous games such as Crusaders of Light and the forthcoming controversial title Diablo Immortal. And if you have no idea what the former stirred up, I’ll throw up what the latter conjured:
Overall, this new project or future moves from Bungie with NetEase should be handled with caution and not with hype until the two companies prove otherwise… even if Bungie is away from Activision.