It's been a week since the launch of Destiny on both current-gen and last-gen platforms and so far reception to Bungie's latest game has been decidedly mixed. While some are praising the game's addictive MMO-like nature, many are finding the experience starts to run thin once they've run through all of Destiny's story missions.
As a result, most early reviews for Destiny have been equally mixed, with some even leaning on the lower side of the scale. Our Rob Keyes, for example, had a lot of good things to say about Destiny in his impressions post, but is still wary as to whether the game can sustain several months of gameplay.
All that is to say, review scores have been below expectations for both fans and likely for publisher Activision. In fact, if reviews stay at this level, Bungie might also take a hit – a $2.5 million hit to be exact.
Some may remember that back when Activision was embroiled in a tense legal battle with former Call of Duty creators Vince Zampella and Jason West, a few documents concerning Activision's other business matters surfaced. One such document included the Activision's contract with Bungie for Destiny, a game that at the time was mostly a mystery.
And in that document was a stipulation that if Destiny hit a threshold of 90 or higher on Gamerankings.com (a popular game review aggregator like Metacritic) then Activison would pay the developer a $2.5 million bonus.
Activision shall pay to Licensor a quality bonus (the "Quality Bonus") in the amount of Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($2,500,000) should Destiny Game #1 achieve a rating of at least 90 as determined by gamerankings.com (or equivalent reputable services if gamerankings.com is no longer in sen/ice) as of thirty (30) days following the commercial release of Destiny Game #1 on Xbox 360.
Now, since this is a lot of inside baseball it's best not to take things at face value. The aforementioned contract has likely changed a lot since the time it was first drawn up, back when Destiny was a 2013 last-gen release and now. Chances are, though, that the bonus is still intact, but current review scores are unlikely to help Bungie secure that additional $2.5 million.
But, things can change. Bungie was quick to point out that early reviews of Destiny might be premature given the game's planned schedule of events. Moreover, many of these reviews went live before the first raid for Destiny had even opened. To Bungie, Destiny is a game that only truly comes into focus after you've spent a good while with it.
So while it may be a long shot, there's still the possibility that review scores might be tweaked later on down the line, depending on how Destiny performs in the long run. Or maybe the $2.5 million is just a lost cause, and review scores are what they are.
Do you think review scores for Destiny have been fair? How would you score the game on a scale of 1-100?
Destiny is out now for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
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