Bungie Has Always Stood Up For Social Causes – Now It Needs To Stand By Its Trans Employees

I don't like the idea of having a favourite company. Companies, at the highest level, are run almost exclusively with the intention of making money however possible. There's nothing wrong with turning a profit of course – though there are limits, billionaires should not exist while parts of the globe starve – but some stranger I've never met making money is not something I would describe myself as a 'fan' of. It seems ridiculous that anyone would ever get a tattoo of Amazon, British Airways, or Coca-Cola, yet we let some brands define our hobbies so much that we construct our identities around them. I've always baulked at the idea, but god help me, I can feel myself becoming a Bungie fan.

I'm not rushing out to get a Bungie tattoo anytime soon, but I can feel a growing affection for the company blossoming. I've never understood the people who describe themselves as 'Sony fans'. It's just games innit. You might well prefer Sony's offerings, but to declare unwavering loyalty to one technology company and therefore develop an undying hatred for a different technology company that makes largely similar products is just odd. Be a God of War fan, a Ghost of Tsushima fan, but the idea of being a Sony fan has always felt odd to me. The recent mess it made of its foray into politics underlined why being a fan of the company as a collective unit is always a poor choice.

Related: The Last Of Us Part 1 Just Went Gold – So Where's The Gameplay?At a time when employers were facing pressure to comment on the huge upheaval to bodily autonomy that overturning Roe Vs. Wade represented, Jim Ryan decided to show the world how accomplished he was at placing both feet in his mouth at once. Sony initially told employees to respect both sides of the debate, and promised in an internal statement that no public statement would be made. Then the overturning was confirmed, and it did make a public statement, with all of its studios tweeting the same empty statement that managed to seem like it was saying something despite, in fact, saying nothing.

Enter Bungie. Though soon-to-be a Sony studio, Bungie's actions could not have been further from its parent company-elect. Bungie has repeatedly gone on the offensive when it comes to raising awareness for social issues, in educating its playerbase, and in applying pressure where it needs to be applied. Rather than issue statements entirely to shut up its own staff and to offer the most meagre appeasement to fans wanting to give the company every benefit of the doubt possible, Bungie has firmly planted its flag in the ground. With some of the loudest gamers decrying any attempts to make the world a better place and firmly of the belief that a medium built largely on the backs of military shooters that recreate real-life wars should stay out of politics, Bungie is taking a risk here. It does not feel like a calculated one. It never seems as though there has been a board meeting where being a good person has outweighed shut up and dribble on some internal revenue metric. It feels as though Bungie is doing it because Bungie wants to do it.

That's why I'm hopeful of a positive outcome for senior visual designer Signy Davis. She recently took to Twitter to criticise the state of trans healthcare across the games industry, noting that Bungie's healthcare provider has repeatedly denied her gender-affirming surgery. Davis says she believes in Bungie's commitment to "inclusion, diversity, and equity", and given Bungie's previous stances, it needs to follow up with real action to help Davis and other employees like her.

I don't even care for its games that much. I'm sure some of you think respecting a video game company for setting a positive example in the world, making gaming a more inclusive space, and advocating for its employees rather than liking the shooty shooty bang bang is typical of the moronic woke journalist crowd, but I don't mind that. I think Bungie is rad because of what it believes in, not just what it sells me, and I wish more of us felt the same.

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