Destiny 2 developer Bungie has a reputation for an active online presence, with developers and staff maintaining engagement with the fandom. Regular features like verbose This Week At Bungie posts take deep dives into the state of the game and where things stand. But over the past few months, that active social media presence has intentionally scaled back as Bungie’s people deal with harassment and threats, some of which were disturbingly specific.
Responding to a reddit post lamenting the recent lack of Bungie engagement, Bungie community manager Dylan Gafner, aka dmg04 acknowledged that the Bungie team had dialed down their communications and community interactions, citing increased harassment and threats that the team was dealing with.
“Here’s the thing, the harassment we’ve spoken to isn’t just rude replies on twitter or vague comments,” wrote Gafner. “There have been real threats towards our people and our studio. We’re taking them seriously, which is leading to an amount of reduced communications as the team plans future protections / strategies to help avoid these sorts of things.”
In May, Destiny 2 sandbox design lead Kevin Yanes was heaped with vitriol for tweeting that the popular Twilight Garrison armor from Destiny wouldn’t be returning to Destiny 2. This lead to Yanes temporarily locking down his account and then eventually returning to post innocuously about personal and non-Destiny subjects, a marked change from his usual chatty engagement with the Destiny fandom.’
Gafner himself has been on the receiving end of some of the more disturbing harassment thrown in Bungie’s direction. Earlier in July, Bungie sued an internet troll and serial cheater for habitually violating Destiny 2’s Limited Software License Agreement and committing repeated fraud.
The complaint also includes chilling examples of escalating threats aimed at Gafner and Bungie by the defendant, Luca Leone. Leone had tweeted an image of an employee badge belonging to Gafner, following up with, “I just realized I’ll be moving to a place that’s 30 minutes away from dmg [Gafner]…he is not safe.” Leone also tweeted about offering to commit paid arson, adding “if it’s bungie hq you get a discount btw” and warning that Bungie should “keep [its] doors locked.”
The relative terseness of Bungie’s online presence is hopefully a temporary thing. As Gafner noted, it’s partially due to the team planning protections and strategies to avoid and mitigate abuse or threats thrown at Bungie personnel. It’s also possible that it’s connected to the recent legal actions that Bungie has taken against harassment and community bad actors. Engagement with Destiny fandom simply isn’t a priority at the moment.
Bungie isn’t alone in having toxic gamers harassing devs, and it’s kinda depressing to note that it’s become an unacceptable but expected part of the culture, enough that corporations plan for ways to minimize and mitigate. Gafner writes, “[W]e can’t just move about “business as usual” until things are resolved. It sucks, but we want to be sure that folks are safe and taken care of. I agree – it’s a bummer that we don’t have as much interaction here as of late. The team is planning ways in which to communicate with you all – some of these plans I’m really looking forward to when I get back in.”
It’s not total radio silence, as the 7/28/22 edition of “This Week at Bungie” just dropped, continuing to tease about a classic raid about to return from the limbo of the Destiny Content Vault, as well as taking a deep dive into planned changes for PVP matchmaking models. Destiny fans should also keep an eye out for the upcoming Destiny 2 Showcase event which is slated for August 23, which is also the last day of Destiny 2’s Season of the Haunted.