Bungie has removed Christopher Barrett from the position of director and will be replaced by former Valorant director Joe Ziegler, IGN reports.

Ziegler said that he has been working on the game as a development director for the past nine months. Before that, he worked at Riot Games and led the development of the heroic competitive shooter Valorant.

Anonymous sources say that with Ziegler’s arrival, Marathon’s development has changed course somewhat. The team abandoned custom characters in favor of a well-developed set of heroes.

When Sony acquired Bungie, the studio brought with it a number of other projects, including a MOBA game codenamed Gummy Bears and a new IP known as Matter.

According to sources in the studio, Matter was canceled back in 2020, but the team continued to work on a similar project with a slightly different direction until it was also canceled at the end of 2022. The development of Gummy Bears is currently on hold.


There are growing expectations within the company that its management will leave en masse in the summer of 2026, when the final payments from the Sony acquisition kick in. So management has a vested interest in getting Marathon out before then, and let whoever takes the reins after that (whether Sony or Bungie) worry about how to keep it alive.

In the past years, Bungie has gone through a series of major upheavals that have undermined the morale of the Destiny studio and left its future uncertain. Sony officially acquired the studio in mid-2022, promising that it would preserve the company’s creative freedom. Sources say that this has largely proved to be true.

In October, Bungie laid off about 100 of its 1,200 employees amidst a cost-cutting drive that resulted in the postponement of Marathon’s release until 2025 and cuts to employee benefits, further worsening internal sentiment within the company.

It is worth noting that according to numerous reports from inside the studio, Sony largely left the studio to deal with its own problems and was not responsible for the layoffs.