Destiny Fan Stands Outside of Bungie HQ For 5 Hours Giving Devs High Fives
It’s no secret that a wide swathe of the internet is unhappy with the state of Destiny 2, but it’s hard to argue that Bungie isn’t one of the most popular game developers around. While the relationship can get strained, the engagement between the studio and its fans is a rare commitment that few studios have earned.
One fan, in particular, took a unique approach to that relationship: he stood outside of Bungie HQ…and gave its employees high-fives. For five hours.
Don’t listen to me tell the story. Let the legend himself tell his wondrous tale. Reddit user u/The_Underhanded (quite the appropriate username) retold his adventure to r/DestinytheGame:
“Harsh love” is a term often attributed to the criticism that players give to the games that they play, but I feel like criticism for Destiny 2 is just “harsh”. Obviously, this is not to say that we should stop criticizing the game entirely; that’s not how we see the games that we love improved. Instead, I feel it’s important to remember that the people developing these games are folks just like you and me, guys and gals who make honest mistakes and aren’t ashamed to admit to them. These people’s commitment to reflection is what resonated with me the most after I, out of the blue, walked up to Bungie’s HQ with this dinky little paper to cheer up the devs for the day.
"I was visiting a friend near Bellevue, WA, and she was busy working for the day. Bothered by the internet backlash, I felt like expressing my appreciation for Destiny 2 in person with the free time that I had yesterday. I took a bus, saw the sights, ate at the godlike local food trucks, and swung by their HQ, paper in hand.
"But in order to take my post in front of Bungie’s double doors, I had to pass the idea with Jerome Simpson, a man who has supposedly stopped all manner of uninvited guests from sneaking in. Afraid that my day would end before it began, I approached him at his desk. When I told him what I intended on doing -- standing outside of Bungie’s entrance for the day giving free high fives – he gave me a look of clear suspicion and asked:
“'Why would you want to do that?'
'Why not?” I shakily replied.'
"It worked! The saint that he is, he let me stay outside as long as I wanted.
"I worrisomely opened my paper to the first crowd of oncoming devs as they came back from lunch: one, two, no, six high fives were delivered in one moment, smiles and grins abound. My heart soared; my idea worked!
"And work it did for the next 5 hours. I got to talk about the game I loved with the people who made it, and got to meet a bunch of folks responsible for individual snippets of the game. Ones who worked on PvP map art, design, and balancing, others who worked on the game’s visual effects, and Rob Adams, Destiny 2’s lead environmental artist. He helped design the EDZ, which he revealed had been in development for quite a few years and was too process-intensive to be released for earlier console generations.
"It was with him that I felt most badly for Bungie. As we spoke, Rob led me further inside Bungie’s HQ and into a room where we could talk more about the game. We discussed almost every aspect about it, and more specifically how each could be improved. What shone through as we spoke wasn’t his technical expertise or his studio know-how, but his connection to the game as a product of his work and to the company as his family. We eventually got to the topic of why I was there; Destiny 2’s community backlash.
"Rob sounded deflated, but adamantly determined by it. The team’s morale, he stated, was (and is) fairly low thanks to the aforementioned subreddit’s negative responses, and to the effective uselessness of the Bungie forums, plagued by the onslaught of #RemoveEververse posts. Bungie’s hit morale in turn hit his own. Rob loves this game, and he wants it to improve just like the rest of us, and just like the rest of Bungie. Seeing his discouragement hurt.
"Word of the mysterious guy with the dinky sign spread around. On multiple occasions, devs would search me out, receive their free high five, and duck back in to the blue depths of the massive building, including Jerome the security guy. Some brought me to take a picture with the resident Captain. Other times, they would stay awhile and tell me about their work, and their favorite parts about being at Bungie. By and large, the answers to that last question related to the feeling of teamwork that made the great 700+ employee size of the company feel constructive, and a bit like family, too.
"And for a while, Bungie let me in to that family. Passers-by brought me Destiny paraphernalia and stories of their work. A gang of the artists within brought me a signed piece and hung out with me. Another went back into the office, before leaving for the weekend, to bring me a sizeable Destiny 2 poster. I was asked often for game feedback, more as a conversation than as an interview or a business transaction. The devs really appreciated the gesture of a fan coming over and saying hi. No complaints about Eververse, no hyperbolic statements on this feature or that, but contentment.
"The day ended with a visit from none other than M.E. Chung, often sourced as the reason for the game’s lack of general PC chat options. I asked her about it as she had clearly expected, and she gave me some clarification that neatly summarized my discoveries that day:
"General chat was not in the scope of the original launch.
"You may say that this was a must-have feature for the original launch. Perhaps you’ll believe that it’s omission was a consequence of miscommunication. As I learned, what the absence of this feature was not, was a purposeful pandering to a safer audience, a sentiment that the Destiny 2 community relays. This was something that M.E. Chung had supposedly clarified to the community multiple times, but to no avail. She says that, had the choice of general chat been an option, she would have included it.
She attributes her thick skin to this miscommunication as not hardened contempt against the community, but understanding.
"As an avid Ultima Online forum-goer, she’d make the same kinds of posts and give the same kinds of sentiments that we now see directed at Destiny 2. What I felt I understood with that final encounter was that M.E. Chung, like Bungie as a whole, is one of us. They’re prone to make mistakes, and they’re even prone to making those same mistakes a second time. What these mistakes should not be attributed to is a sense of maliciousness, as if though these people are out to get us with the game’s problems and shortcomings.
"In the case that this were the situation, criticism of our kind would certainly be more warranted. But as I learned with my visit to Bungie, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Some of the game’s features reached completion, while others… just… didn’t. Feedback for Destiny 2 will always be valuable, it will never be the perfect game, but the kind that our community is giving, filled with mistrust and fueled by anger, isn’t breathing life into Bungie, it’s taking it away. It’s killing the improvement for the very game we all want to see made better.
"Before posting your next angry letter, take a breath. Exercise. Do some chores. Reflect, and come back to the keyboard when you’re ready to give feedback rather than flames. Try giving a high-five instead of a smack.
"Thanks for reading."