While people seem pretty happy with Destiny, it seems they might not be happy enough for the developers to take home a US$2.5 million payday. A 2010 contract between Activision and Bungie spelled out that the studio would be eligible for a “Quality Bonus” if review scores were good enough.
At this stage, it looks like they’re not.
The contract was made public as one of the repercussions of the “Fall of Duty” scandal that saw Vince Zampella and Jason West leave Activision and create Titanfall developer Respawn. It explains simply:
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.
It’s been just over a week since Destiny first arrived on shelves (notably on more platforms than just Xbox 360), and at this stage, the PS4 version has 76%, while the Xbox One fares a little better, with a 78% GameRankings score.
Unless things improve significantly in the next few weeks, it’s unlikely the game will reach the magical 90% mark.
That said, the document is likely to have been updated and overhauled in the four years since it was drawn up – the reference to “Destiny Game #1 on Xbox 360” would likely have been tweaked at least – so this isn’t a cast-iron guarantee that Bungie is missing out on any money, but this sort of quality assurance clause isn’t uncommon.