The month of January had more than its fair share of newsworthy surprises, but the end of the month certainly threw some sizable curveballs our way. In the gaming space, everyone was shocked to learn that Bungie, the original developers of Halo and currently working on the Destiny franchise, had been bought by Sony for a stupid amount of money.
In the midst of speculation and concern about both Bungie and the state of the industry, an investment call from Sony shed some light on what the publisher of beautifully rendered Dad Games and Spider-Man titles saw in the Seattle studio. Put bluntly, part of the appeal for Sony at least is in expanding Bungie’s IP beyond the realm of games, something the studio itself has been quietly building towards by hiring people who’ve worked with Nickelodeon and CBS, along with Derick Tsai.
Tsai’s inclusion is important, as he’s currently the Head of Development for Destiny’s transmedia efforts, and previously directed animated short films over at Riot Games, which recently released the smash hit series Arcane. Connect the dots and you can see that Bungie wants Destiny to branch out, which hasn’t really gotten a chance to happen yet. When it was still with Activision, Destiny received some comic books, and there were some fun live action commercials. But no real attempt has been made to try and capture the potential of Bungie’s world, even as pretty much any video game could be up for adaptation at a moment’s notice.
Even without official confirmation at the moment, it’s clear that Bungie wants to have something to do with animation, whether that’s an actual TV series or film, or just trailers for future expansions Lightfall and The Final Shape. Either way, it feels like the right time for such a thing to happen; Destiny 2 has found its narrative stride since adopting the seasonal storytelling format with 2018’s Forsaken, and Witch Queen has had a strong buildup ahead of its February 22 release. The series has come a long way since its esoteric approach to worldbuilding for the first game, with each location and expansion having its own fairly distinct tone and style from the rest. Since Destiny 2 first released, it’s been willing to get a lot weirder and deeper with its story, and it’d be exciting to see more slices of the science fantasy universe beyond what the player is allowed to explore in the limited capacity of Destiny’s framework as a co-operative shooter.
On its own, the news would be fascinating, but what makes such a thing truly exciting is Sony helping make Bungie’s dreams a reality. Its live action works can be all over the place, but animation-wise, Sony’s had a solid track record over the years: outside of Spider-Verse and The Mitchells v. the Machines, there’s been the wildly successful Hotel Transylvania films and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Even if some of its movies are kind of stinkers, Sony’s animation teams are at least trying and experimenting within the medium all the time.
Whatever Destiny’s animated experiment ends up becoming, it’ll almost certainly be worth paying attention to. As is, gamers are primed to receive a deluge of adaptations and new spins on video games they either love or have some awareness of, and the pieces are in place for Bungie’s shooter-MMO to bring something different, if not fun, to the conversation. But it’s equally as possible that the studio’s ambition exceeds its reach, something we won’t know until this takes its final shape.