For better or worse, one of the movers and shakers behind Destiny 2, Game Director Joe Blackburn, is departing Bungie in February. His departure comes just before The Final Shape expansion launch on June 4, 2024.
Blackburn announced on Twitter that he's passing the reigns onto a new leader next month. And while this change might seem abrupt to some, Blackburn notes that development on The Final Shape expansion is nearly done and is now entering a playtest and bug fix phase to prep for release.
Previously working as a Design Lead for Raids and then for the whole game, Blackburn had a hand in some of the most beloved Destiny 2 content. Most notably, he was a Design Lead when players got the stellar Forsaken expansion and its Last Wish Raid. Blackburn briefly left Bungie in 2019 to pursue opportunities with Riot Games. However, he returned in the summer of 2020.
Through Blackburn's stewardship, players navigated the Beyond Light expansion and the era of Sunsetting. While the whole Sunsetting ordeal would sour players, Blackburn won many back with the stellar The Witch Queen expansion. From there, he'd rack up wins with long-requested game features like weapon crafting, subclass reworks, and armor transmog.
That said, over the last year or so, community frustrations honed in on Blackburn. Disappointment following the Lightfall expansion and content delivery strategy boiled over to rage when other issues, like server stability, became more prominent. The combination of upset Destiny 2 players and Blackburn's public-facing social media account led to the Game Director taking a lot of flak from fans. The situation reached a climax following the Bungie layoffs and announced delays in October 2023.
That brings us right up to now. With Season of the Wish essentially ready to end its chapter, the next big step forward in Destiny 2 will be alongside some new leadership. Blackburn named Tyson Green his replacement Game Director, noting Green's long history as a Bungie cornerstone. While Blackburn is pursuing work outside of Bungie, he's yet to lay all the cards on the table. For now, he says he's just looking forward to returning to Destiny 2 as merely another player.
While Blackburn's Bungie legacy might end on a relatively sour note, it's easy to forget how much good he brought to the game. It will genuinely be hard to match his natural, down-to-earth personality and dad-like charm. Good luck, Joe, wherever fate takes you. Per Audacia Ad Astra.
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