Here at Bungie, we build worlds that inspire friendship, and our goal is to build those worlds for everyone. We want to make everyone feel welcome in our games and at our company, and believe that everyone should be able to participate in our games regardless of their ability or if they identify as having a disability. Not only does that include crafting fun and accessible games for all of our community to play, but it extends to building a welcoming and inclusive environment for Bungie’s own team and our guests. To help build that world we want to see, we’re happy to announce Bungie’s newest Inclusion Club, Accessibility at Bungie.
Its mission is to educate everyone in the company on identifying barriers, to improve workplace accessibility, to make material improvements to the playability of Bungie’s games, and to partner with organizations within the gaming industry who are dedicated to game accessibility. Accessibility at Bungie is proud to have representation from a wide variety of disciplines in its membership. They are the people who create systems, interfaces, experiences, audio, and visuals, coordinators of Bungie’s talent, and professionals who listen to Bungie’s community.
“If you do not intentionally, deliberately and proactively include, you will unintentionally exclude.” This quote from author and diversity and inclusion strategist Joe Gerstandt wonderfully encapsulates the need for Accessibility at Bungie. When Accessibility at Bungie can advise Bungie’s talented coworkers and leadership on keeping their experiences as inclusive as possible, we can improve the way we make games that the club hopes everyone will love, regardless of a disability or barrier some might encounter.
Senior Designer Robert Schuster joined Bungie in February of this year and immediately started asking about what improvements could be made. “On my third week at Bungie and the same week I became a founding lead of our club, I had a chance to talk with one of my favorite designers, Chris Proctor,” Schuster said. “As many of you know he’s a driving force behind shaping the weapon sandbox and keeping our weapons and the way we use them feeling fresh Season over Season.”
“I was hesitant at first to mention [to Chris] one of my barriers: fast firing non-automatic weapons like Scout Rifles and Hand Cannons cause me hand pain during longer sessions. Why couldn’t we have a way to enable auto-fire on these kinds of weapons? I braced for a negative response. Instead, he heartily agreed and mentioned it was something he had already been considering as something that we could work toward including in the game. You may have seen rumblings about upcoming changes in this area in recent TWAB posts and we hope you’ll stay tuned for more updates.”
Player Support Specialist Drew Tucker has been hunting for accessibility issues out in the wild since joining Bungie in 2018. It was for this reason that he became a founding leader of the Inclusion Club. “Whenever a player speaks of an accessibility issue, I always file a bug and discuss the issue with other teams,” Tucker said. “Some issues are harder to fix than others, but we always take these issues seriously and do our best to address them.”
“I’ve been trying to help players on Bungie.net for almost 15 years, either as a volunteer moderator or as a Bungie employee. In my time here, I’ve seen a lot of players describe mental health issues they are experiencing and are trying to seek help. We have procedures in place to guide them toward help, but I’ve always wanted to do more. Soon, we’ll be launching a fully localized article that will contain as much helpful information that we can provide, and we’ll continue to update it as time goes on. I’m really excited to see this go live. Additionally, we’re thinking about adding an Accessibility Forum on Bungie.net so our players can inform us of issues that won’t get lost among other game issues.”
Designer Jonathan Barbeau has helped shape how Accessibility at Bungie functions since its inception. He’s worked with Bungie development teams to build a foundation for how Accessibility at Bungie and other Inclusion Clubs can empower the team by acting as both a resource and advocate for positive change. As an instrumental and supportive member of the Inclusion Club, Jonathan was brought on as a lead shortly after the club’s founding.
“I got into game development because I love crafting fun experiences for other people,” Barbeau said. “Having a strong sense of empathy is an instrumental skill for a designer and, because of that sense, I don’t design for just one person or demographic. If everyone can’t enjoy what we’re making, we need to do better.”
“The Bungie team includes some of the most talented people in the world, and I’m thrilled to be able use my experience in game development and design to empower our team by building the process and methods by which they interface with inclusion clubs. I’m also excited to get to explore training for our team on accessible design and work on building up resources on accessibility for them to utilize.”
DISABILITY AWARENESS PIN
October is the National Disability Employment Awareness Month. To promote awareness, the Accessibility at Bungie team has worked with our VizD and consumer products teams to create a new Disability Awareness pin. All profits from sales of this pin during the month of October will be donated to the AbleGamers Charity
. The organization creates opportunities that enable play to combat social isolation, fosters inclusive communities, and improves the quality of life for people with disabilities. This pin, called “Everyone Can Play,” will be added to the Bungie Store on October 1 and will include an exclusive emblem with the same name. After October, profits will be collected by the Bungie Foundation to distribute to other organizations that do accessibility-related work.
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD
Accessibility at Bungie is always looking for issues that players are encountering in Destiny 2. If you’re facing an accessibility issue, please let us know by creating a thread in our Help Forum
on Bungie.net and we’ll do our best to resolve it.
Every day we’re trying to make Bungie, Destiny 2, and our future games better, and we’re excited to see what changes we can make. We hope you are, too.