The Game Awards’ nominees announcement yesterday was not exactly packed full of surprises, with a not-terribly controversial slate of GOTY nominees, nor shock that Alan Wake 2 and Baldur’s Gate 3 were leading the pack.
But when it came to the Best Community Support category, things took a bit of a turn. On the list was Destiny 2, a game that had appeared a few times before, and even won it once. But this time the nomination felt like gallows humor.
The reason, of course, is that Bungie recently fired over a hundred employees, including many of the most recognizable faces from its community support team. The main community team is down to just three people now for a game that still attracts millions of players a month, along with other losses inside player support in a variety of roles.
The irony was not lost on anyone, the Destiny 2 community, the wider industry which watched the layoffs late last month or the those who were laid off themselves. Many ex-Bungie employees have voiced their opinion on the situation, whether they were the ones recently fired or those who had left the company earlier under less controversial circumstances.
That’s ex-social media lead Griffin Bennett and a reply from ex-community manager Dylan “DMG” Gafner. Bennett was fired on October 30 along with the hundred others. Gafner previously left his role well before this and now works at Riot, but has not been shy speaking up at times like this.
Gafner is referring to 2019 when Destiny 2 actually did win the Best Community Support award, but instead of anyone from the community team accepting, then-Destiny bosses Luke Smith and Mark Noseworthy got the stage. Separately, he’s also indicating that the community team was reprimanded for celebrating the win. Ben Platnick, who previously worked in VFX at Bungie, chimed in to say that any team that celebrated something was given similar scrutiny.
Liana Ruppert, Destiny 2’s last lead community manager who moved into Gafner’s old spot before being fired on October 30, replied with a string of laughter on the original Game Awards nomination tweet. Later, she shouted out the remaining members of the community team:
Since the layoffs, the community team has become essentially faceless. The last TWAB was signed by “the Destiny 2 Team,” and the Destiny 2 community team Twitter account hasn’t tweeted since a few days after the layoffs, and said nothing about the nomination today. I’m not sure anyone is even still around to run it.
There are some saying that the nomination wasn’t “deserved” anyway, outside of these layoffs, but one revelation during the layoffs is that communication got increasingly spotty over time given what was or was not allowed by shared via the bosses, and that community feedback was given by the boatload to higher ups and was often just ignored.
I would, of course, love to see Destiny 2 win the Best Community Support award. Both to honor the laid off team members and those still there, trying their best. And I would really, really be interested to see who Bungie would dare send up there to accept it, as it should not be anyone other than one of the few surviving team members like Cozmo. Pete Parsons or Luke Smith would probably cause a riot.
Will it win? I don’t know. The situation is so messy there’s probably a blend of voters who view it the way I do, and others thinking it would reward Bungie for bad behavior. The other games nominated have excellent teams as well and some are past winners. I’ve really had a great experience with Cyberpunk community folks, for instance. But again, I think Destiny 2 winning is the best option, given recent events.
What a joke.