Activision Says Valve and Epic Can't Make Destiny

| 24 May 2012 12:41

The Activision/Bungie contract has some really weird details.

We got our first glimpse at what the Activision/Bungie teamup might bring earlier, when the ongoing Infinity Ward court case unearthed documents 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 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.

Source: Develop

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