Bethesda Exec Pete Hines Leaving Company After 24 Years

Bethesda publishing head Pete Hines is retiring from the Starfield developer after 24 years, he announced on Twitter (or X) on October 16. Hines’ decision comes only a few days after Microsoft, which owns Bethesda Game Studios, was rubber-stamped to complete its $69 billion Activision Blizzard buy.

“I […] will begin an exciting new chapter of my life exploring interests and passions, donating my time where I can, and taking more time to enjoy life,” Hines wrote. “This was not a decision I came to easily or quickly, but after an amazing career, culminating in the incredible launch of Starfield, it feels like the time is right.”

“This is certainly not goodbye by any means,” Hines continued. “Working with the amazing people, teams, and studios at Bethesda has been the greatest experience of my life. […] Love you guys.” Kotaku reached out to Hines for comment.

Bethesda was equally gushing in its own Twitter announcement post, saying “Pete’s public presence was only a small part of his role at Bethesda, although the way he represented us carried over into the values he nurtured here: authenticity, integrity, and passion.” Later, the developer posted a doctor’s note addressed to Hines (in the past, he’s liked pardoning gamers from work during a huge Bethesda release cycle), prescribing him “lots of gaming, devoting care and affection to foster pups, […] and of course…more games!” It’s an interesting treatment plan, but it seems like it could work for Hines, who sunk 130 hours into Starfield earlier this year.

Read More: Microsoft Finally Closes Massive Activision Blizzard Deal, Making Call Of Duty Officially Part Of Xbox Now

“More games” are also likely in Bethesda’s future—Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard merger promises to “bring players together,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer wrote on Twitter, and along with the franchises it’s absorbing, it will add 10,000 employees to its union-neutral workforce. 10,000 employees, but Pete Hines ain’t one.

Bungie Blames 100 Layoffs On Players Leaving Destiny 2

Destiny 2 Guardians prepare for The Final Shape.

Image: Bungie

Bungie employees knew the Destiny 2 studio was struggling, but might not have expected a recent mass layoff of roughly 100 staff. That’s according to a new report by Bloomberg which details a meeting earlier this month in which studio leadership blamed poor player retention following 2023’s disappointing Lightfall expansion for revenue going off a cliff.

The money Bungie was bringing in was reportedly running 45 percent below projections for the year. Despite an initial spike in concurrent players on Steam, Destiny 2 has struggled in the weeks and months following the release of its cyberpunk-infused Lightfall expansion. Bloomberg reports that The Final Shape, which Bungie has been hyping up as the climactic conclusion for Destiny 2‘s current storyline, was getting good but not great feedback internally. As a result, the decision was made to delay it from February 2024 to June in order to try to win back players. (Extraction shooter Marathon was delayed as well, to 2025.)

Read More: Destiny 2 Fans Worry About The Future After Cuts And Delays

In the meantime, Bungie ultimately decided to lay off roughly 100 employees, or about 8 percent of its 1,200 headcount, Bloomberg reports. As first shared by Forbes writer Paul Tassi earlier today, employees are receiving three months of severance and health insurance, while other benefits run out on November 1. And while bonuses will be prorated for the year, those with shares from the 2022 Sony acquisition that haven’t yet vested will lose them. Sony, for its part, also appears to be cutting costs across its studios.

“Today is a sad day at Bungie as we say goodbye to colleagues who have all made a significant impact on our studio,” Bungie CEO Pete Parsons wrote on Twitter on October 30 after the news broke. “What these exceptional individuals have contributed to our games and Bungie culture has been enormous and will continue to be a part of Bungie long into the future.”

The tweet has since been ratioed, with some commenters calling the remarks “tone deaf” and asking the executive whether he had taken a pay cut before deciding who to lay off. Bungie has so far declined to comment on the situation.