Destiny 2 game director Joe Blackburn, who has held that role since 2020, is leaving the company.
In a series of X posts, Blackburn has announced that he’ll embark on “a new adventure outside the walls of Bungie” next month at the start of a major testing phase for upcoming Destiny 2 expansion The Final Shape.
The “end-to-end playtest” has been a Destiny 2 development ritual since 2018’s Forsaken expansion, says Blackburn, and involves “multiple days of consecutive internal playtesting.” The Final Shape, which is scheduled to release on June 4, will get its end-to-end playtest in February, and that’s when Blackburn will “pass the torch.”
“This [playtest] will be especially meaningful to me personally, as it will also serve as a moment to pass the torch of Destiny 2 game director to the next era of leadership as I head on a new adventure outside the walls of Bungie,” wrote Blackburn.
The new Destiny 2 game director will be long-time Bungie designer Tyson Green.
“If you’ve followed Bungie for any length of time, you’ve heard his name,” Blackburn said. “From Halo PvP to the creation of Exotic weapons in D1, Tyson has been a critical part of Bungie’s legacy since Myth 2.”
The leadership change comes at an already tumultuous time for Bungie. The developer was acquired by Sony in 2022, and like so many other gaming companies, laid off a number of employees late last year. Among those let go were some long-time staff members, including composers Michael Salvatori and Michael Sechrist. The Final Shape was also delayed.
When it finally releases this June, The Final Shape will see Nathan Fillion reprise his role as Cayde-6 and bring Destiny 2’s current narrative arc to a close. It will also mark the beginning of a new episodic structure for Destiny 2: Rather than four seasons each year, the game will get “three larger episodes.”
“We’re working on a number of things right now that we can’t explicitly share, but that involve changing up the structure so we can pleasantly surprise you guys more frequently in the future,” said Destiny 2 lead narrative designer Jonathan To in a recent roundtable discussion about the new format.
Blackburn first joined Bungie in 2015 as a raid designer, and later led development of Destiny’s Season of Opulence. In 2019, he left Bungie for Riot, but returned in 2020 as Destiny 2’s game director.
“As a deeply invested Guardian before starting here at Bungie, getting to be a part of the Destiny 2 team has been the privilege of a lifetime,” Blackburn concluded in his departure announcement. “I am and will forever remain a lifelong Bungie fan and believer in what the teams within its walls are capable of.
“I’ve still got some time before I pass the torch, but as I look forward to taking a big break from social media, I know I’ll see yall around the Tower. It is going to be great to play Destiny alongside all of you.”