In what seems like a recent string of high-profile departures from Destiny 2 developer Bungie, the game's former Raid Design Lead (who was promoted to a Design Lead a few months ago) has left the company and the franchise. Joe Blackburn, who has also served as a spokesperson for the game's raids and the development team behind them in numerous developer live streams and ViDocs, announced on Twitter that Friday, April 26, 2019 was his last day at Bungie.
And before conspiracy theorists get too far with the news of this departure and start painting a picture of a Bungie in crisis, Blackburn answered a fan on Twitter saying that his time at Bungie has been "amazing" and that the departure from Bungie is because he received "an exciting opportunity [...] in Santa Monica." While he did not announce where exactly he'll end up, there are plenty of notable developers in the Santa Monica area including Sony Santa Monica, Riot Games, Treyarch, and Naughty Dog, just to name a few.
Blackburn's departure is leaving many Destiny fans with concerns though, considering a number of key developers departing Bungie over the last few weeks. Those include sandbox designers Josh Hamrick, Jon Weisnewski, and Claude Jerome, as well as senior writer Jill Scharr who departed Bungie the same day as Blackburn. All these developers appear to have moved on because of new opportunities.
It's common for developers in the industry to depart teams and projects during transitions between games, which may very well be happening with Bungie. After splitting from Activision as its publisher, Bungie is moving into the next phase of developing the Destiny franchise.
After an amazing journey, today was my last day at Bungie. I can’t express how much Destiny and the people that work on it mean to me. I can’t wait to see what’s next alongside all of you.— Joe Blackburn (@joegoroth) April 27, 2019
Many questions remain about Destiny 2's Year 3 and a possible Destiny 3, but it is likely that development is done on the game's Annual Pass content for Year 2, so this may very well be a natural time for developers to come and go from the company and the franchise.
Destiny 2 is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.