Bungie inks lease for two floors in downtown Seattle tower with room for 300 employees
Bungie is expanding from Bellevue, Wash. into Seattle.
The independent video game developer confirmed on Monday afternoon that it plans to sublease two floors in Seattle’s 2+U tower, with room for about 300 employees.
This will not replace Bungie’s current headquarters, a converted movie theater in downtown Bellevue.
As initially reported by the Puget Sound Business Journal, Bungie’s new offices in the 2+U tower will take up half of Dropbox’s 120,000 square feet of space. Dropbox has never operated out of the space.
Bungie said more than 30% of its employees live in Seattle. The company has more than 1,000 employees total, according to LinkedIn.
“With the organizational and infrastructure evolution we’ve done since the pandemic began to support our growing business locally – and with a hybrid flex-work programs in the works – we wanted to create a hub in-region outside of our main Bellevue office,” said Patrick O’Kelley, Bungie COO, in a statement. “This gives our employees more flexibility around living options and commute and also supports our continued expansion.”
Bungie’s new lease comes as questions swirl about the future of downtown Seattle, which was largely deserted when companies sent employees home at the outset of the pandemic.
Some companies are now looking to reduce their physical office footprint with the shift to remote work.
The sublease vacancy rate in Seattle spiked after the pandemic began in early 2020.
The new office in Seattle follows up on Bungie’s plans, announced back in February, to dramatically expand its business. It broke ground in January on a new, much larger headquarters, which is planned to provide 208,000 square feet of space upon its completion next year.
Bungie may currently be best known for its space-wizards-with-guns game Destiny 2, which puts players in the roles of supernaturally-empowered Guardians who fight to keep Earth’s solar system safe from a variety of extraterrestrial threats.
Independent population trackers estimate Destiny 2‘s current player population to be just over 37 million, with around 1.4 million players on any particular day in September 2021. The Destiny franchise celebrated its 7th anniversary earlier this month.
Bungie also plans to open its first international office in Amsterdam at some point in 2022, and to bring at least one new, non-Destiny-related intellectual property to market before 2025. It is currently hiring for multiple positions in Bellevue and Seattle, with select positions available for remote workers in California, Texas, Illinois, North Carolina, and elsewhere in Washington.
Originally founded in Chicago by Alex Seropian in 1991, Bungie initially built its reputation by being one of the handful of developers that made games exclusively for Apple platforms. This included the horror/adventure game Pathways into Darkness (1993) and the surreal first-person shooter trilogy Marathon (1994-1996).
Microsoft acquired Bungie in 2000, which led to the studio’s next title, 2001’s Halo: Combat Evolved, shipping as an exclusive for the original Xbox. Halo went on to become a flagship franchise for the Xbox, and Bungie produced two successful sequels in 2004 and 2007.
Bungie split off from Microsoft in 2007, and subsequently published the first Destiny in 2014 through a deal with Activision Blizzard (Call of Duty, World of Warcraft). That deal lasted until 2019, at which point Bungie broke away from Activision and took over publishing duties for Destiny 2.
As part of going indie, Bungie renovated Destiny 2‘s overall structure, which involved big changes to its profit model, content roadmap, and available platforms. This has included a new free-to-play business model, where any interested customer can play through most of what Bungie released before 2019’s Shadowkeep expansion without having to pay Bungie for anything.
Destiny 2‘s current content roadmap includes a sixth expansion for release in 2022, The Witch Queen, to be followed by Lightfall in 2023 and The Final Shape in 2024.