Destiny 2's community team has been nominated at The Game Awards for their liaising, feedback collection, transparency, and player correspondence – and a lot of the people behind that work are no longer at the company following a recent wave of painful layoffs at Bungie.
The Game Awards posted the full nominees earlier today. The criteria for best community support are described as: "outstanding community support, transparency and responsiveness, inclusive of social media activity and game updates/patches." The contenders for the category are:
- Baldur's Gate 3
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Destiny 2
- Final Fantasy 16
- No Man's Sky
The other four nominees are all riding pretty high, but Destiny 2 is at one of its lowest points ever following deep cuts at Bungie, which hit the MMO's social and community teams especially hard.
Bloomberg reported in October that roughly 8% of the studio, or some 90 - 100 employees, had been let go, and several dozen impacted devs took to Twitter or LinkedIn to confirm the news, many coming from community and social media management. The layoffs came paired with word of a delay for Destiny 2: The Final Shape, which is said to have slipped to mid-2024, though Bungie's yet to announce this itself despite corroboration from other news sources.
On one hand, current and recently laid off Destiny 2 community team members may well be happy to see their work recognized. On the other, those same members may be extra pained to see their contributions highly valued by folks who aren't the company executives that just laid them off right before the holiday season.
Just ask former Destiny 2 community manager Liana Ruppert, who went by Hippy in Bungie blog posts: "If it does [win], I will be very proud of [community managers] Cozmo and Bruno, because they are amazing. But they left them with nothing. Our team has been asking for more people, not laying off half of them," she said in a tweet discussing the game's nomination.
Bungie CEO Pete Parsons released a bizarre and unpopular statement in the wake of the layoffs, drawing criticism for calling it a "sad day for Bungie" and encouraging other studios to hire the departing "exceptional individuals" for their skills. The only other acknowledgement has been a brief post from Bungie admitting that "we know we have lost a lot of your trust."
"To us the path forward is clear: We need to make The Final Shape an unforgettable Destiny experience," Bungie said. "We want to build something that will be regarded alongside the best games we’ve ever made – a fitting culmination that honors the journey we’ve been on together for the past ten years. Forsaken, The Witch Queen, and The Taken King – these are the standard bearers we aim to live up to."
This has been a year of heavy layoffs in games: Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red, Dragon Age and Mass Effect studio BioWare, The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog (reportedly), Epic Games, and multiple Embracer Group studios including Tomb Raider dev Crystal Dynamics have all cut staff.