Activision Says Valve and Epic Can't Make Destiny

John Funk

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Dec 20, 2005
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Activision Says Valve and Epic Can't Make Destiny

The Activision/Bungie contract has some really weird details.

We got our first glimpse at what the unearthed documents [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/100329-Bungie-Signs-Deal-With-Activision] revealing that Bungie was contracted to produce a sci-fi/fantasy shooter series code-named "Destiny". Among other things, the contract said that Bungie was on the hook to produce eight games - four "Destiny" games every other year in 2013, with four "Comet" expansions to fill the gaps.

Develop Online [http://www.develop-online.net/features/1644/Revealed-The-huge-promises-and-secret-stipulations-behind-the-Bungie-Activision-deal] went through the 24-page contract to lay out all the details in layman-speak. Most of it is business talk: Bungie is entitled to more royalties depending on the game's Metacritic score and how well it sells, for one. Bungie also has full control over the "Destiny" IP and retains publishing rights if Activision backs out, (smart move). But there are some genuinely odd stipulations in the contract as well.

For instance, Bungie and Activision must provide each other full lists of all "Easter Eggs" hidden in the game, before and after the certification process, respectively. I can understand Activision wanting a full list from the Easter-Egg-loving Bungie for when it submits the game to be rated, but why does Activision have to submit a list back to Bungie afterwards - all I can think is that it would be to tell the developer which Eggs didn't make the rating cut.

Another portion of the contract says that Bungie employees are entitled to two and only two Activision games per year as a gift, and that the studio will be given exactly 1,000 copies of "Destiny" to do with as it pleases to promote the game. Bungie must shoot for a "Teen" ESRB rating, and must patch any critical bugs in the game within a month of release. These, at least, make more sense.

The weirdest part of the contract, though, is that Activision specifically bars Valve Software, Epic Games, and Gearbox Software from developing any "Destiny" or "Comet" "conversions or adaptations." I have no idea why anyone at Activision would think to specify this. Is this a rampant problem in the industry, with Gabe Newell and Cliff Bleszinski sneering at The Man as they make unauthorized expansions to hit FPS titles?

Seriously, if anyone has an explanation for that last part, I'd love to hear it. The only common ground I can find is that like Bungie, Valve, Epic and Gearbox are all independent studios that aren't currently owned by any publisher. Maybe Activision is worried that the big indies will team up to make a Voltron-esque supergroup.

Your guess is as good as mine. Anyway, you can check out the weird and mundane details of the Activision/Bungie deal here [http://www.develop-online.net/features/1644/Revealed-The-huge-promises-and-secret-stipulations-behind-the-Bungie-Activision-deal].

Source: Develop [http://www.develop-online.net/features/1644/Revealed-The-huge-promises-and-secret-stipulations-behind-the-Bungie-Activision-deal]

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Xanthious

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Maybe the legal department over at Activision got a hold of some primo drugs and were in the middle of a paranoia riddled LSD binge while they were writing out the fine details.
 

Truly-A-Lie

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My best guess is they mean Halo Wars style spin-off titles or something. But the wording is so strange that it makes me think they've stipulated "If anyone is going to adapt it into a film, just make sure it isn't Epic, Gearbox or Valve." which can't be what they mean.
 

Johnson McGee

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John Funk said:
Activision specifically bars Valve Software, Epic Games, and Gearbox Software from developing any Destiny or Comet "conversions or adaptations." I have no idea why anyone at Activision would think to specify this.
Sounds to me like it refers back to the point that Bungie retains the rights if Activision backs out, and this prevents another publisher from swooping in to finish the project and take the credit.

Capcha: two cents worth

So basically if Activision backs out, they want the franchise to die a horrible withering death rather than let the games see the light of day under another publisher's label.

 

gigastar

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Sep 13, 2010
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Is this ban against Valve, Epic and Gearbox only enforced while Activision is involved? Id find it fairly petty of Activision to ban co-operation on projects which it has no involvement in anymore.

hudsonzero said:
Are the two activision games per employee or for the whole studio?
Per employee. Still a shit deal point if you ask me.
 

Jack and Calumon

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Dec 29, 2008
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John Funk said:
The weirdest part of the contract, though, is that Activision specifically bars Valve Software, Epic Games, and Gearbox Software from developing any Destiny or Comet "conversions or adaptations." I have no idea why anyone at Activision would think to specify this. Is this a rampant problem in the industry, with Gabe Newell and Cliff Bleszinski sneering at The Man as they make unauthorized expansions to hit FPS titles?
I think the reason might be is that they (Bungie, Valve, Epic) are on good terms, and so Activision doesn't want Bungie going out and talking to other studios about getting involved in the series, which could make the deal complicated. Also, since they are big studios free from publisher control that specialise in sci-fi shooter settings, they don't want Bungie taking the easy option and enlisting them to make the expansion while they work on the next game. I'm guessing that the reasoning behind that would along the lines of a feeling of control, where you know what your company is doing and when. Infinity Ward or another studio may have gone to another studio for help at some point.

The only real thing that bothers me is the "Easter Egg" list. Why does that really matter? Are people so paranoid in Activision that they think Bungie might be trying to say naughty things to Activision in hidden parts of the game.

Calumon: 1'000 games? Can we have some?
 

vxicepickxv

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Sep 28, 2008
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Two things here.

One, the adaptation is for things like spinoffs ala halo wars, or mods.

Two, the Voltron thing would be awesome, as long as CliffyB doesn't Form the mouth, or Gabe doesn't form the stomach.
 

Andy of Comix Inc

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gigastar said:
Is this ban against Valve, Epic and Gearbox only enforced while Activision is involved? Id find it fairly petty of Activision to ban co-operation on projects which it has no involvement in anymore.

hudsonzero said:
Are the two activision games per employee or for the whole studio?
Per employee. Still a shit deal point if you ask me.
I can't even think of two Activision games I'd take for free. And I don't have the critical eye of a developer to remind what "quality" is. ...actually, that cuts both ways. Nevermind then.
 

gigastar

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Sep 13, 2010
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Johnson McGee said:
John Funk said:
Activision specifically bars Valve Software, Epic Games, and Gearbox Software from developing any Destiny or Comet "conversions or adaptations." I have no idea why anyone at Activision would think to specify this.
Sounds to me like it refers back to the point that Bungie retains the rights if Activision backs out, and this prevents another publisher from swooping in to finish the project and take the credit.

So basically if Activision backs out, they want the franchise to die a horrible withering death rather than let the games see the light of day under another publisher's label.
So then why doesnt it ban EA, THQ, Ubisoft, Deep Silver, Capcom, Konami, Take-Two, Namco, Squeenix or Sega from stepping in?
 

Johnson McGee

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gigastar said:
Johnson McGee said:
John Funk said:
Activision specifically bars Valve Software, Epic Games, and Gearbox Software from developing any Destiny or Comet "conversions or adaptations." I have no idea why anyone at Activision would think to specify this.
Sounds to me like it refers back to the point that Bungie retains the rights if Activision backs out, and this prevents another publisher from swooping in to finish the project and take the credit.

So basically if Activision backs out, they want the franchise to die a horrible withering death rather than let the games see the light of day under another publisher's label.
So then why doesnt it ban EA, THQ, Ubisoft, Deep Silver, Capcom, Konami, Take-Two, Namco, Squeenix or Sega from stepping in?
They only listed their most direct competitors? They didn't think those companies would be interested? Someone at Activision has a grudge?

I can only guess.
 

Brian Hendershot

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Matthew94 said:
Andy of Comix Inc said:
I can't even think of two Activision games I'd take for free. And I don't have the critical eye of a developer to remind what "quality" is. ...actually, that cuts both ways. Nevermind then.
I can, but they are about 8 years old.
What about Singularity? That was a pretty decent game that feel under the extremely massive umbrella of Activision?

Anyways, whatever this whole move by Activision seems more petty then anything else or is that just me?
 

Kuratius

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May 23, 2012
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gigastar said:
Johnson McGee said:
John Funk said:
Activision specifically bars Valve Software, Epic Games, and Gearbox Software from developing any Destiny or Comet "conversions or adaptations." I have no idea why anyone at Activision would think to specify this.
Sounds to me like it refers back to the point that Bungie retains the rights if Activision backs out, and this prevents another publisher from swooping in to finish the project and take the credit.

So basically if Activision backs out, they want the franchise to die a horrible withering death rather than let the games see the light of day under another publisher's label.
So then why doesnt it ban EA, THQ, Ubisoft, Deep Silver, Capcom, Konami, Take-Two, Namco, Squeenix or Sega from stepping in?
Because Valve, Epic Games and Gearbox Software aren't on the dark side yet.
 

gigastar

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Sep 13, 2010
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Johnson McGee said:
gigastar said:
Johnson McGee said:
John Funk said:
Activision specifically bars Valve Software, Epic Games, and Gearbox Software from developing any Destiny or Comet "conversions or adaptations." I have no idea why anyone at Activision would think to specify this.
Sounds to me like it refers back to the point that Bungie retains the rights if Activision backs out, and this prevents another publisher from swooping in to finish the project and take the credit.

So basically if Activision backs out, they want the franchise to die a horrible withering death rather than let the games see the light of day under another publisher's label.
So then why doesnt it ban EA, THQ, Ubisoft, Deep Silver, Capcom, Konami, Take-Two, Namco, Squeenix or Sega from stepping in?
They only listed their most direct competitors? They didn't think those companies would be interested? Someone at Activision has a grudge?

I can only guess.
If direct competition was the criteria then Activision must be pretty concieted to not consider at least EA to be a direct competitor. Plus the Japanese publishers are getting less predictable year on year, so they could step in on this given a chance.
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
I like how activision is already running the new game into the ground by having bungie put a new one out every year for 8 years. (yes I know a new new one is only every other year but its got a stipulation for an expansion whatever thing in between.)
 

TheBlueRabbit

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Jan 9, 2009
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Xanthious said:
Maybe the legal department over at Activision got a hold of some primo drugs and were in the middle of a paranoia riddled LSD binge while they were writing out the fine details.
So, what you're saying is, they're all on nar-Koticks?

Sorry. Sometimes I just can't help myself.
 

WanderingFool

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gigastar said:
Is this ban against Valve, Epic and Gearbox only enforced while Activision is involved? Id find it fairly petty of Activision to ban co-operation on projects which it has no involvement in anymore.

hudsonzero said:
Are the two activision games per employee or for the whole studio?
Per employee. Still a shit deal point if you ask me.
What I want to know is, besides COD, what Activision games would people want?