Image via Bungie

Bungie’s Marathon reboot changes leadership, pivots to hero shooter

Good golly.

Bungie’s been having a rough time following the release of Destiny 2‘s Lightfall DLC. Amidst layoffs, the problematic in-house atmosphere, and its final season being perfectly average in most regards comes a new set of corroborated rumours claiming that the upcoming Marathon game has been retrofitted into a hero shooter.

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According to a report from IGN, Bungie’s shakeup goes further into more than just Destiny. In a leadership change, Marathon‘s creative leadership, specifically game director Christopher Barret, is being replaced by former Valorant director Joe Ziegler. This has been corroborated further by Ziegler’s subsequent Twitter announcement, where he confirmed that he has been the head of Marathon for the past nine months.

The really curious bit, though, is that the nature of Marathon appears to have changed since Ziegler’s taken the reigns. According to IGN’s report, the new approach for Marathon includes a departure from player-created characters “in favor of a selectable cast of heroes.”

Up until recently, audiences expected Marathon to be an extraction shooter with custom-built player characters — Runners — not unlike Destiny 2‘s Guardians. This makes the latest revelations potentially problematic in the grand scheme of things.

Early art debuting three characters from the Bungie revival of Marathon.
Image via Bungie

Marathon may be a hero-based extraction shooter in the end

Notably, there’s been a slew of negative comments on the matter left on both the biggest Destiny 2 subreddit and the more general gaming subreddits. It doesn’t seem that people are thrilled with this information, generally speaking, and Marathon‘s shift from being an extremely narrative-heavy DOOM-alike to a hyper-stylized PvPvE Tarkov competitor was already driving a wedge in the community.

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It is still, of course, early days for Marathon, with nary a playable beta in sight. Drawing any concrete conclusions about the quality or, indeed, the core gameplay loop of the upcoming Marathon game is useless at this time, and Bungie may wow the audiences in the end.

The problem in the interim, though, is that IGN’s sources claim that Bungie is facing issues internally as well. Notably, Bungie staff harbors a “growing expectation” that the senior company leadership will leave “in droves” in 2026 when Sony’s final acquisition payouts come in. There’s concern about who will step in and take over after and the push to finish Marathon before that timeframe.

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A whole load of unknowns, then, and it’s currently impossible to say what may happen with Marathon in the end. For the old franchise veterans, it is a bit of a shame that Bungie’s decided not to revive the IP in a more sensible form that’s true to the Marathon legacy, but it’s not all totally grim.

For one, the team behind Aleph One is about to release Marathon Classic on Steam, which is sure to get more eyes on the franchise in short order. And, of course, Bungie could deliver something truly phenomenal under Ziegler’s leadership in due time. Destiny fans, at least, have an honest-to-goodness horde mode to look forward to, which is coming as part of the Into the Light content drop.


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Filip Galekovic
A lifetime gamer and writer, Filip has successfully made a career out of combining the two just in time for the bot-driven AI revolution to come into its own.