On Oct. 30, around 100 people were laid off from Bungie, including a number of prominent figures in Destiny 2‘s community team. Only a few weeks later, in an ironic twist, that same team has now been nominated for the Best Community Support category at The Game Awards.
The nominations were announced today on Nov. 13, and the affected employees who had been in part responsible for the work that had gotten Destiny 2 nominated didn’t hesitate to point out the bittersweet humor of it. As Griffin Bennett, who was the title’s social media lead and whose pinned tweet is celebrating the team’s 2019 win of the same award, said: “A reminder that your quality of work does not matter. In the end, you’re just a number.”
The layoffs that hit the community side of Destiny 2 were some of the first discovered on the morning of Oct. 30. Liana Ruppert, who was a community manager and co-lead of accessibility, was let go alongside Bennett and fellow community manager Sam Bartley.
As she wrote in a post following the nomination, the timing of it “couldn’t be more ironic.”
“Personal feelings aside as a team that asked for more people not less, I will say that Cozmo, Bruno, Ivan, and Timon advocate for players in a way that you will never know,” she said. “There are so many poor decisions diverted because of their care and knowledge, and good decisions amplified. I will shout it until the day I die that the group I got to work with is some of the best in the bizz. If Destiny wins, I will celebrate THEM, the people, and the player support team.”
The names Ruppert mentioned are the remains of the community team still at Bungie, which has now been cut in half heading into The Final Shape expansion at a time when player sentiment is at an all-time low.
It’s no guarantee Destiny 2 will win the award up against tough competition in titles such as Baldur’s Gate 3, but the nomination alone has given voice to what many players said at the time of the layoffs. Destiny 2’s identity, and by extent Bungie’s, has always laid in how it interacts with its playerbase and its communication of upcoming developments.
Laying off those responsible for fostering this relationship, along with prominent studio veterans such as Michael Salvatori, has broken a lot of the community’s trust in Bungie’s leadership. If the studio wants to recover from a year where it’s reportedly missed revenue projections by 45 percent, it will need to find a way to rebuild that trust during the upcoming Season of the Wish.