Bungie's President Ends 16-Year Tenure as Destiny Struggles With Its Future

Bungie's President Ends 16-Year Tenure as Destiny Struggles With Its Future

Harold Ryan has stepped down as President of Bungie, with Pete Parsons taking on the role of CEO.

Yesterday, I wrote about Bungie having to deal with the growing dissatisfaction it was seeing from Destiny's community. Part of the issue is that Bungie has no carrot to dangle in front of players; if reports are to be believed, even Bungie doesn't know what's coming next. That lack of roadmap is probably not sitting well with Bungie's Board of Directors, which is why today, some changes have been made.

Ryan, in the middle of other Bungie gentlemen who don't know where to put their hands.

Bungie has announced that former President Harold Ryan has stepped down from his position. In his place, chief operating officer Pete Parsons has been appointed as the new CEO.

"I want to personally thank Harold for his friendship, passion, hard work, and dedication in helping make Bungie the great company it is today. As a team, we celebrated many victories and weathered many storms," said Parsons in the announcement post.

"To the players of Destiny, I want you to know that my number one priority, and Bungie's, is and always has been to deliver great games that we can all share together. I believe that Destiny is a one-of-a-kind experience. I also believe you have yet to see our studio's best work. My new role here at the studio will be entirely focused on fulfilling that promise."

Given the ongoing reports of Destiny's issues and the general feeling in the community over a lack of meaningful content, this looks to be part symbolic gesture. With major companies, it's not uncommon to see a lead executive or manager in a time of crisis leave. (Google "executive falls on sword" to see examples.) This is partially for catharsis: those outside of the team or company get the feeling that problems have been addressed and with new management comes the feeling of a fresh new start, despite the fact that the rest of the organization remains largely intact.

To get an idea of how bad things must be, realize that Harold Ryan has been studio head or president of Bungie for 16 years. He is directly responsible for building Bungie into the company that it is today. His departure points to the fundamental issues behind Destiny being as bad as the Kotaku reports, or worse.

There's also some who probably blame Ryan for the issues that started within the developer once it signed a deal with Activision. Composer Marty O'Donnell was ejected from the Destiny project in April 2014 and he later filed a lawsuit against Bungie and Ryan (Yeah, not just the company) over unpaid time and benefits after his termination without explanation. He won that case in September of 2015.

Longtime Halo writer Joseph Staten left the company in 2013, in the middle of Destiny's development. Another Kotaku report alleges that Staten left because studio leadership threw out to story he had crafted with his writing team.

They're not the only ones though. Staten's co-writer Joshua Rubin left in September 2014 to go work for Telltale. Senior designer Josh Hamrick left the company in March 2015 to go work for Bethesda. We don't know the reason behind their departures though, as developers sometimes simply find greener pastures elsewhere.

There's no indication as to how much of a difference Parsons' appointment will have on Bungie and Destiny, but it's likely that the developer is going to be looking at where it's gone wrong in the past. I'd expect a new content roadmap for Destiny sooner rather than later.

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Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

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