Season of Defiance

Bungie Bans High-profile Content Creator Related to Destiny 2 Leaks

There’s been some drama in the Destiny 2 community this week with Bungie responding to Season 21 leaks, and they have gone ahead and banned a high-profile player, one that has been going to Creator Summits at Bungie for years. Today I’m going to dig into the news a little further, and have a look at both sides of case.

Season 21 isn’t far away, it’s scheduled to kick off at the end of May 2023, but a large amount of details have been leaking for weeks prior to launch. There’s plenty of changes coming to the game, plus new content as we build up to the Final Shape expansion next year. Bungie hasn’t named the creator publicly, but according to reports they have confronted the creator directly, who happens to be a well-known member of the community, one who has helped thousands of players through GMs, among other end game content.

According to Bungie, this creator was recently invited to a Creator Summit to get an early play session with Season 21 content, plus a chance to feedback. After the summit the content creator reportedly leaked the information about the season, including some fundamental changes with Destiny 2 systems, plus big story spoilers. This is a major breach of trust, and could have implications for the wider Destiny 2 community, with Bungie potentially considering changing the way they hold these feedback events.

“Community interaction and engagement is central to Bungie and our games,” Bungie said. “For years, we’ve invited creators and other members of the community to confidential summits to provide feedback on the future of Destiny. This is a beloved part of the process, but relies heavily on trust. Breaches of this trust could result in our inability to hold more summits. We take these breaches extremely seriously and are taking actions to reinforce our policies with those invited to these internal meetings.”

The content creator in question is Ekuegan. Just before Bungie released their statements he posted on Twitter saying “It was a great run indeed. Much love,” with an image detailing how many GMs he’d completed with the community. After Bungie posted their statement on Twitter he said “I did not leak anything.” and followed that up with, “All I know is, that company made a huge mistake and I will clear my name. I am working on it,” then saying he’d been banned from the game.

EK also did an interview with Forbes saying he did attend the summit and he had been banned, and Bungie wouldn’t be taking legal action for breaking NDA. EK says Bungie’s evidence is focused around screenshots of his desktop, although Bungie has since come out to say they have “irrefutable evidence”. Bungie also confirmed they believed the leaks occurred over multiple years and weren’t isolated to this one summit.

“Our Security and Legal teams have reviewed irrefutable evidence, including video recordings, verified messages, and images demonstrating a pattern over time that confirm the same individual shared confidential information from Community Summits spanning multiple years,” Bungie said in a tweet. “We are very disappointed to have learned this information and wish that things had gone differently with this person. We do not take these actions lightly, and we are confident in our decision.”

Bungie’s response seems reasonable given the massive break of trust that has occurred. But there is something about this story that doesn’t add up, and that’s the motivation behind EK leaking in the first place. Normally someone might leak something to gain followers, or internet clout in general. But EK was someone with 14,000 in the game, and a man who had modeled his career around the service of taking fans through Grandmaster Nightfalls and other endgame content. Why would he do this? EK now faces the prospect of having to rebuild his gaming career with other games, forever tainted by the leaker label, unless he’s able to clear his name. This is going to be tough with Bungie’s statement saying they have “irrefutable evidence”, and are unlikely to share in a public domain.

Plenty of streamers have come out in support of EK, or have expressed shock that he would do something like this. There is the possibility he’s been set up, the leaked photos were originally on his phone, but perhaps they’ve been stolen, or shared with the wrong people, and EK is getting the blame.

One potential issue could be digital events, or how these summits take place. Pre-pandemic Bungie would fly content creators out to Seattle and see them face to face. Nowadays they are done online, and that opens up the opportunity for a bad actor to intercept the broadcast and leak it, making it look like it came from someone else computer. I haven’t been to these events and you would imagine there is tight security involved, however, whenever you have something online, or you have other hardware involved that isn’t under the same level of control that you would have at a Bungie Studio, then there is a risk.

It’s pretty much a lose-lose situation for everybody. Leaks get out there, which spoil the game for everyone who reads them, a content creator has been banned from the game which helped him rise to fame, and Bungie are less likely to hold events, or at the very least change these creator summits which will impact the Destiny 2 community, and also the quality of the game, given these feedback sessions are pretty valuable for the development process.

Let me know what you think about the situation in the comments.