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Destiny: Bungie Opens The Floodgates On Its ‘Shared World Shooter’

How far along is development on Destiny?

Well, I’m playing it every day at my desk; we’re deep into it and the great thing about the game right now is that you only really learn how the game works when it’s up on its feet and playable.

And Destiny is a pretty complicated game, it’s got an investment system and persistent characters, a big social shared world, so having it playable for real with all the systems running is a pretty big accomplishment and we’re learning a lot.

This is exactly where you want to be as designers, playing it every day with our friends at our desks, seeing what’s broken and fixing it. We’re definitely there now, that’s for sure.

It seems like you’ve had trouble actually defining what Destiny is?

It’s only been in the last six months that we’ve been able to play [Destiny] with everything running.

For a while we could play parts of the game; we could play the action shooter, the same old sandbox shooter that Bungie’s made and loved and does well. We’ve been able to play that for a while.

We could play, separate from that, our investment systems in a mock way, where we could just play through it in Excel tables with drops and loot and see how that part of the game played, but we hadn’t smashed them together yet.

We could play parts of our big open world, broken up into sections that import into our engine, but as our engine became more robust we could import large swathes of our world.

It’s been in the last six months that we’ve taken these things, that have been up and running separately, and got them all working in concert. During that time when [Destiny] was in bits and pieces, I think it was challenging for us to explain to Activision, even people on our team, what the game is going to be.

We can talk about it, we could have you read words, and walk through it in animated storyboards and sequences and say ‘this is what it’s going to feel like’.

But it was all a little bit on paper, it wasn’t in your hands and playable.

So, it’s been a challenge to describe what exactly it is. The important thing to remember about [Destiny] is that first and foremost it’s a Bungie game and those are the games we make and love.

You’re in a big world that’s populated by other players, a living world where things happen even if you’re not there.

It feels real, it’s got time of day, big open environments, it has social places where you can gather and it’s got a persistent character, someone you grow over time.

You’re going to choose who you are in this world and every decision you make influences how you look or how you fight. It definitely has properties of what you’d associate with MMOs, but it is at its heart an action game.

A Bungie shooter, but it has all these other great, great things added to it, which we think really think makes it a revolutionary experience in the shooter space.

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Innovating in the FPS genre seems to be the bottom line for Bungie and Destiny?

Absolutely, I think Jason [Jones] said it well.

When you’ve got a studio that is this size and with this amount of talented people here, what do you want to point it at, what’s the big challenge you want to tackle?

Certainly, we could make standard shooters, we’ve done that and know how to do it, it’s a genre that we love, but we wanted to look into the future and think hard about what’s the future of action games?

Are they going to continue to be largely solitary, linear narratives that feel a lot like a Hollywood blockbuster or are they going to be something different?

What can we do that makes them better and enriches the experience? And we thought a lot about our co-op history. Bungie games have always been highly co-operative if you want it and we wanted to really expand that.

Could we really make a world that’s not just shared with two or three other people on your couch, but could we make it shared with dozens, hundreds of other people? Is that experience possible, is it fun?

And for a long time we thought ‘well, we could do these innovations, but is it going to result in a better game?’ And what’s really great now, as we play the game at our desks every day, we really see that paying off. The investment is worth it.

When you run into someone in the big wide world you weren’t expecting and in the shared spaces you collide for a little while, overcome an obstacle, get rewarded for it and move on, it’s a really transformative experience.

It makes you think of shooters in a totally new way. We wanted to push, not just what we’re good at, but what we think the genre can become, too.

But what about traditional storytelling, cutscenes and characters?

Sure, we talked about that when we first showed the game, but we think about the story as books.

In the straight-up campaign part of the game you’ll absolutely be experiencing stories that have a strong narrative spine, that have a beginning middle and an end.

There’ll be a cast of core characters that, like you, evolve over time.

We absolutely are going to tell good narrative stories and linear stories, but those are just part of what you can engage in with Destiny’s world.

We think of those as our ‘marquee content’ that gets you excited about the world and draws you in, but after that there’s a great deal more to be had in Destiny.


Does that mean players can expect to have the same character for the ten years that Destiny is planned for?

Well, the only thing we’re saying right now is that this is you character in the world of Destiny.

For as long as that world exists you can be that person, we really want it to be in a situation that, yeah, the decisions that you make early on in the game, they matter and they stick with you and you really grow your character over time. That’s extremely important to us.

As much as we enjoyed switching back and forth between protagonists sometimes from the Master Chief to the Arbiter, an ODST, we’re even more excited about this world where you can be a real person.

You can make interesting choices and you can stick with this character over time.

You know it’s really important when you’re in a social shared world to have an identity that people recognise, that people can remember.

And not just for your friends, but for the people you meet out in the world. ‘Oh, that’s that Hunter with that crazy cloak and that amazing spaceship.

Is that a holographic sight on his sniper rifle, that’s crazy, where did he find that stuff? Who is that guy? I’ve seen him before, I’ve matched with him in public places, I see him in the city sometimes.’

You really are going to be identified by the choices you make, so it’s really important that your character sticks around for a long time.

Is it true that players will get their hands on spaceships, will there be space combat?

Well the only thing we’re sure of right now is that the spaceship is a thing that’s going to take you from place to place. Like other things that belong to you, you are going to be able to personalise it.

You’ll certainly have some choice over which ship you have. It’s another thing like your weapons or your armour that makes you you in the world of Destiny.

Will you also present the social action in a third-person style instead of first-person?

The stuff we’ve shown in the city there has been a third-person camera. I think it’s safe to assume once you’re in a social space combat is less important so it might make sense to break out to a camera that’s a little bit more social.

In the social spaces you want to see and be seen, like walking down the carpet at the Hollywood academy awards.

When you walk into a social space you want top present yourself and it’s fun of course to see how you look as well.

Yeah, absolutely, when you’re in the city and the Tower, combat isn’t a priority, it’s interacting with other players.

Will Destiny include competitive multiplayer?

Destiny is built on a strong foundation of co-op and competitive play and it’s a Bungie game. We love competition, we love that part of the gamer.

We’re not talking about that part of Destiny yet, but you should assume that it’s a Bungie game and we love competitive multiplayer, if you love that then you’ll love Destiny, too.

Some of Destiny’s innovations – persistent characters, upgrades – were used in Halo 4, what did you think of it?

We of course look at all kinds of games from Halo 4 to Call Of Duty and certainly more MMO games or RPGs where character customistion is an even bigger part.

I think for us and the shooter space, we saw that there was some experimentation with customistation, but the big thing about customisation in most games is that it’s really siloed by activity.

You have a character for the campaign and you have another character for competitive multiplayer.

In Destiny, your character is your character. No matter where you go in the story or the co-operative activities or competitive multiplayer, you will always have that character and it will persist from one mode to another.

That is the big difference when it comes to character customisation in Destiny. You are you no matter where you go in the world.

Will there be any differences between the current-gen and next-gen versions of Destiny?

Anytime you get your hands on new hardware you’re going to try and take advantage of everything it has to offer.

I know coming up at E3 we’ll be talking more about the specific features, but just like with any hardware leap, absolutely, we’re going to push this game as far it can be pushed on whatever platform.

It’s going to look great on PS3, it’ll look awesome on 360 and it’ll look great on PS4 as well. You can bet that no matter where we are, we’re going to make the game look great.

Is there still ’30 seconds of fun’?

This is a Bungie sandbox action game, from moment-to-moment the choices that you make in combat are still just as important as it’s ever been.

If you love that fast cycle, sandbox gameplay that Bungie is known for you’re going to love this game. We’re tuning all the weapons and the combatants to make that a great 30 seconds of fun experience over and over again.

50 comments on “Destiny: Bungie Opens The Floodgates On Its ‘Shared World Shooter’

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  3. Harold

    Hurry the heck up guys, been nearly 3 years since Reach. You folks better not be on vacation after it ships either. You have to play with your fans non stop.

  4. IamAGamer

    Sounds great, but for heaven’s sake don’t make it subscription or pay-to-win. If it has to be subscription, make it a year’s free with the price of the game or something. I refuse to purchase subscription or any game involving micro-transactions as a competitive element.

  5. Mirko

    Everything, that I read about Destiny makes me smile. It sounds pretty awesome, so far and we can surely expect a lot from Bungie. Can’t wait to play it.

  6. TootyJenkins

    I wouldn’t mind paying for a subscription for this game. Why? Because that means NO MICROTRANSACTIONS! Look at world of warcraft? You pay a sub, and people keep playing it.. Why do they? It’s because they have a sense of achievement. You don’t gotta pay to have the Sword of a thousand truths. You don’t got to pay to get the super duper op armor gladiator set of the monkey. Games who use microtransaction like APB:Reloaded , WARZ (which is failing) , and other games i’ve played are shitty. Pay an extreme amount of money and you’ll win. that’s not fun.

  7. TootyJenkins

    Hell.. It also funds for the game to always frequent have updates and patches. Better in-game security.. Thats why people pay for a subscription.

  8. Michael

    This guys’ job sounds awful. He comes in every day and has to sit at his desk and play Destiny. Someone get him some TPS reports and a huge stack of cover sheets, stat!

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  10. Captain napa1m

    Someone please explain shared world shooter to me. Please lol. I’ve been playing video games my entire life and am having the hardest time understanding.

  11. Jaberwocky55

    This looks to be an incredible game, knowing Bungie. I’ve been a hardcore Halo fan nearly all my life, because of Bungie’s terrific approach to designing and producing videogames. Stay Awesome!

  12. AndyChanglee

    Don’t listen to the impatient ones. Don’t be like Bethesda and rush a gem, you’ll just end up with ugly looking carbon. I love the concept and I trust that everything you guys do has been well thought through, and I am willing to wait for you guys to masterfully craft this game. There has been a lack of games where I can be the person I wanted to be. There have always been games where I get to play as a character with an amusing story, and so far the closest guy to who I want to be is Master Chief in Halo 3, but it still wasn’t who I was, of course.

    The idea that you’re giving us a chance to create the hero inside of us just gives me the jitters and I can’t wait (well, I can wait, just an expression) to explore the amazing universe of Destiny.
    You’ll always have me as a fan, cheers and good luck!

  13. mitch

    Is there going to be co-op campain? Have u designed it around the new xbox specs tho the info isnt out yet on it? Could i say that game would be like mass effect and fallout combined? Thanks,


  14. Lyndan

    Reading this article has gotten me SOOO much more pumped about the game!!
    This is going to be so freaking amazing! I think the experiences we will have in Destiny will be many to remember and I feel like this is going to be one of the greatest games ever created.

    I agree with IamAGamer though. I hate subscription games and I really hate pay to win games. I never play those games. I’d rather pay $100 for this game than pay a recurring fee.. But I get the feeling Bungie knows best. ;)

    Good luck building the world’s next greatest video game, Bungie!!

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  37. solfinder

    The things I am worrying about is…. Will people use mics? If they don’t I will kill them (if possible)i am so happy we don’t have another 5899 shooter as last 5899 shooters… Its becoming like sport games. We have to throw 2k5 out because we will never play it again. I loved help and help 2 but every year something new… I stopped buying… Finelly a new game that will change the world like halo did!

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  43. WeepingReaper

    Look everyone! Everyone look!
    … That boys and girls, is the indigenous dumbass!
    Ssshhh quiet, you don’t want to scare it away.

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