We spent more time to unpack this value than any other, because it’s a critically important area. We didn’t want to fall into the trap of saying uncontroversial positive-sounding things, or the trap of reiterating problematic cliches. Going back to one of the guiding principles of this whole handbook, as much as possible we want to highlight non-obvious tradeoffs or concrete expectations. And it took a while to describe the principles we try to live by in ways that we thought were both interesting and sufficiently nuanced.
We believe we build better games by actively working to be welcoming and inclusive to all.
- We acknowledge that the US game industry, specifically including the history and culture of Bungie engineering, has long been dominated by straight white English-speaking cisgender men from North America. We acknowledge that the effects of that dominance persist in today's patterns and practices, continuing to disadvantage or exclude underrepresented groups. We believe it's imperative that we actively identify and root out such inequitable or non-inclusive patterns.
- We proactively seek to identify and mitigate structures or behavior that could, or do, make our people, our job applicants, or our players feel unwelcome.
- We seek out diversity of all kinds, encourage self-expression, and believe each person's unique story can inform our choices and make our products better. We need linear thinkers and neurodiverse imaginators. We need idealists and pragmatists. We need technology specialists of all kinds as well as polymath generalists. We need people from traditional universities, dedicated game dev programs, and non-traditional career paths. A rich array of backgrounds helps us look at problems from all angles and find the remix diamonds that power our games.
|“In 2017, I was engineering lead of Destiny 2's social / rewards / UI / matchmaking effort. Our design lead, ME Chung, championed a biweekly ritual where we'd do a show-n-tell in a cross-disciplinary setting involving Test, Design, Production, and Engineering. I remember having a pretty snazzy demo lined up and her explicitly telling me to show something much less polished. That brought me up short; my perspective was that I’d done a sweet thing and so I should share it, right? ME had a much wiser perspective about the value of low-stakes rituals, and the space I could create for others by lowering the temperature of the ritual. I showed something much less cool and let others shine. ME is a great leader and I'm proud to have worked with her.”|
Chris Chambers, 2011-2018 and 2021-
We offer grace to each other while holding each other accountable for negative consequences.
- When we feel slighted or hurt, we try to offer grace and consider charitable interpretations of the actions of others, while making them aware of the negative consequences and trying to work through to a place of understanding and empathy.
- We don't tolerate hurtful behavior, nor do we pressure those hurt to contort themselves into toxic positivity. Sometimes a conflict isn’t just a misunderstanding; sometimes things happen that aren’t OK and we immediately and actively correct them.
- We offer official support resources through a variety of channels to anyone who’s been hurt - we don't pressure them to resolve issues themselves, especially if there's a power imbalance.
When we sense conflict, we start from the presumption that others also want the best for Bungie, and work to resolve any misalignment or miscommunication.
- We try to remember that there's a good chance that everyone we work with shares our high-level goals, and that our disagreements are a result of differing local context, priorities, or constraints.
- When we’re in conflict with someone, we try to resolve it, or at least fully understand our differences in context—we try to never settle into permanent conflict where we're thinking of the other person as ill-intentioned or foolish.
|“In designing our culture, we start from something like these baseline assumptions for Bungie: |
By default, number three opens an incredibly wide space of acceptable behavior, while the combination of one and two gives us some safety buffer when something in three inadvertently offends (for any number of reasons, not limited to ID&E-related scenarios).
However, we don't rely on that safety buffer for everything—we're not building a culture where you can say anything you want and everyone has to tolerate it. This is explicitly unlike the broader US legal system (guaranteed free speech in public spaces, etc.) Bungie's explicit intent is to pursue shared goals with high cohesion and trust, so we want to be a tighter-knit and less-combative group than the country at large, so we design and evolve our culture to support that goal. So, we go back to that wide open space of personal expression and we add some guardrails to reduce the potential for conflict and hopefully increase overall psychological safety. For example:
With those kinds of guardrails constraining the space of acceptable personal expression, our initial wide space of tolerance-of-expression is now a good bit smaller, but we believe that this makes our culture stronger, especially for the purpose of combining our strengths to make great games!”
Excerpt from the Tone and Inclusivity Guidelines for Bungie Engineering & Test
We debate with empathy, respect, and humility.
- We show awareness of our own fallibility.
- We show respect for the expertise and different context that others may have.
- We show respect for the priorities of others.
- We’re eager to grow and to learn from everyone around us. We remember that virtually everyone is better than us at something, and we’re curious what we can learn from each person we work with.
We seek a virtuous cycle of transparency and trust.
- Our leaders are expected to work to create psychological safety to enable everyone to be heard.
- Our people are expected to give healthy feedback to leaders and to ask them tough questions in a healthy way.
- Our leaders are expected to be unusually transparent and nuanced, and in exchange we give them the benefit-of-the-doubt when they say they can’t share information or make a change we want.
|“This is the most transparent leadership team I've seen so far in my career. Not to say that Bungie is perfect (we've obviously had our share of mistakes), but the effort that leaders here put into answering studio questions and being as proactive as they can about sharing upcoming things that will affect us is inspiring. I've also experienced members of leadership being vulnerable about being wrong, acknowledging mistakes and impacts to people, and trying to take away lessons from those mistakes that can help make us all better. I picked up on some of these threads during my interview process, and now that I’ve been here a year, I’m happy to confirm that I didn't read them wrong.|
Ylan Salsbury, 2021-