I’ve now written two stories and done a video about Bungie’s wide-reaching layoffs on Monday, but in the wake of that news, we also learned from famed game delay reporter Jason Schreier that some Bungie employees have been told The Final Shape has been delayed from February 2024 to June 2024, and Marathon from 2024 to 2025.
It’s true that delays, long delays even, are very common in the video game industry, but this is a special case with Bungie being a live service operator, and the role Marathon is supposed to be playing in its future. And in the context of the company’s current, obvious struggles.
To start with The Final Shape, this is not the first time an expansion has been delayed and a season has been extended. However, this is happening a month before season 23 is supposed to start, and it has not even been publicly announced yet. Sometimes, Bungie has been able to fill these gaps with something like they did with the 30th Anniversary Event that came in the middle of Season of the Lost’s six month season, extended because of a Witch Queen delay. But that’s something you would have to plan well, well ahead of time.
Given that this seems more like a last-minute scramble, it’s unclear what, if anything, the live team could whip up so this next season isn’t 6-7 months long with nothing but maybe a holiday event happening in the middle. Everyone else who isn’t working on the existing season 23 or The Final Shape has no doubt been prepping the post-Final Shape episodic content that Bungie already announced, though that would also likely now have to be delayed to some extent with this expansion shift.
A four month delay until June would also push The Final Shape out of Sony’s fiscal year, which will no doubt displease its overlords. Sony bought Bungie because Destiny was supposed to print money endlessly and Bungie would be able to teach other devs at Sony to do the same. So far, the only result has been Destiny beginning to falter, mass layoffs and troubled live projects at PlayStation like The Last of Us Factions.
As for a Marathon delay, we never really had a date for that in the first place, but if that game doesn’t arrive until some time in 2025 now, it’s yet again another year or so where Bungie has to solely rely on Destiny 2 revenue as the only revenue the company brings in besides like, merch sales. And given current events and what’s likely to come after The Final Shape, it feels like it’s only going to continue to lose players, not gain them, until some giant refresh or sequel is announced, but we have no idea how far away something like that is, if it’s happening at all.
So yes, game delays happen, but it’s different when you are A) a live service game with a specific calendar and B) a company really, really banking on getting a new IP out which is now also delayed. We are still waiting for Bungie to actually announce a delay officially, but they now may not have a comms team to do so.