Bungie On How Destiny Beta Is Like a Full Product Launch

Community manager Eric Osborne discusses "massive undertaking" that is beta period for upcoming shared-world shooter.

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Bungie's first post-Halo project--the shared-world shooter Destiny--doesn't launch until sometime in 2014, but gamers can go hands-on with the new game earlier in the year through its just-announced beta.

It's the first time Bungie is allowing the public to try out the open-ended sci-fi shooter and it's not something the studio takes lightly.

The upcoming Destiny beta, in a number of ways, is being treated like a full product launch, according to Bungie community manager Eric Osborne.

Speaking with GameSpot about the Destiny beta, Osborne outlined Bungie's vision for the "massive undertaking" that is a pre-launch trial. Check out the full conversation below.

You first sent out calls for beta testers in 2010, after Halo: Reach had shipped, and before Destiny was announced. How extensive has your beta testing process been prior to this upcoming public beta?

During our 20th anniversary, we invited a few hundred thousand fans to sign up on Bungie.net, and enroll in our User Research program. Over the past few years, we involved that kick ass collection of core fans through programs ranging from simple online surveys, to full blown onsite studio playtesting.

We've learned a lot about what players expect from a great shooter, and from us, but there's nothing quite like throwing the doors wide open to the public and seeing what people do when you set them off on an epic adventure with their friends.

Bungie obviously has a strong and enviable legacy when it comes to online shooters, but Destiny is something altogether new. How are you preparing to beta test something the parameters of which have not been seen before?

"The Destiny beta, in many ways, is being treated like a full product launch. We can't just carve out three competitive multiplayer maps this time around."

We supported some pretty big, enduring gaming communities over the past decade, but we haven't sat around giving each other high fives these past few years. We went out and recruited some of the most talented and experienced people we could find. We brought in hundreds of fans to play embarrassingly early builds of Destiny in our labs, collecting millions of data points. We've built technology specifically suited to deliver Destiny's core pillars, enabling living worlds that feel like places you visit, filled with great action and adventure that gets your heart pumping, and offering up persistence of character that lets players become legends.

The Destiny beta, in many ways, is being treated like a full product launch. We can't just carve out three competitive multiplayer maps this time around. We'd only be gathering data on one facet of the overall experience--one that is arguably the least resource intensive and most well understood by our team. Destiny demands more.

How will this beta compare to the ones offered for Halo 3 and Halo: Reach?

Our ambition is to build big, rich destinations that players can visit over and over again, to fill them up with great story and moments that they can share with their friends, and to deliver face melting action that leads to treasure, challenge, and discovery. We want to pour all of that secret sauce into the Destiny beta. It's a massive undertaking, but one that we believe will pay huge dividends for us, and for our players.

What goals do you have in place for this beta?

We want to ramp up to a pretty massive scale, prior to launch, on all four shipping platforms. We can, and do, perform a lot of small to large-scale testing, but nothing beats a turbulent sea of gamers smashing up against our code, services, and content. No amount of prediction and intuition can account for the delightfully random human element that will ultimately define Destiny.

Your past betas for Halo have had millions of players. What kind of uptake are you expecting this time, especially considering you're on multiple platforms?

We have achieved some pretty significant scale in the past with our betas, and those experiences have afforded us with a small amount of confidence. So small, in fact, that we're conducting another public beta for Destiny, with the hopes of attracting millions of players again, just to be sure!

What do you think has changed in the online multiplayer space--in terms of technology and/or player expectations--since you shipped Halo: Reach in 2010? And how have you adjusted your processes as a result?

Players have a lot more choices when it comes to online entertainment. They demand richer, shared experiences. With Destiny, our approach has been to focus on how we can create a kick ass game world that offers players a super fun on-demand experience that they can share with friends, no matter their mood or play style.

What kinds of new technologies do you have today that you didn't have in the Halo days to track player behavior? And how will these help assist in data gathering when it's over?

We're fortunate to be building from data analysis bedrock that we first started working on more than 10 years ago with Halo 2. For Destiny, we built out a brand-new User Research team in-house here at the studio. They've not only brought in a lot of experience working in the field, they've been able to shape the tech we've been able to build to support data gathering and analysis.

We're not digging too deeply into the proprietary practices or technology they've built to support Destiny, but we think there's a pretty cool story to be told about how we track and strive to better understand player behavior. They have wonderful toys.

Will the beta be offered on all platforms, current- and next-gen?

The Destiny beta will be available on all four announced platforms--PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. Players can reserve their spot by preordering the game at a participating retailer while supplies last.

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Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and is a big UCONN athletics fan.

Discussion

72 comments
juanchito006
juanchito006

This game has copy so many things from other shooters..... No way I´m buying this

Mech-Gouki
Mech-Gouki

Sorry PC they would rather put this game on the dirty 7 year old 360 and PS3 than ruin this game with mouse and keyboard.

DarthRambo71
DarthRambo71

I'd love to preorder and be apart of the beta, but I want a digital copy of this game. Unless they offer a digital preorder, then my money is going to XBL/PSN on day one.

Tixylixx
Tixylixx

So what you're saying is they're selling us a beta?

ecurl143
ecurl143

Gimme this with an Oculus Rift and I swear to god you won't see me for months.

Hell of a shame this isn't coming out on the PC but this game is still going to be colossal.

Kickable
Kickable

funny, quite often these days people also say some game launches feel more like betas.

apophis32
apophis32

Looks like a better version of borderlands

dbb00kw0rm
dbb00kw0rm

I'd buy it in a heartbeat if it was on PC (and if they didn't ruin the game on launch like some other developers I could name...)

Cas Sanchez
Cas Sanchez

The Xbox One was in my town today, I played killer instinct that game is awesome!

Cupp21
Cupp21

I wonder if we'll be able to keep our characters for launch...


jok3rxfear
jok3rxfear

No PC? Piss off trash developers! >:(

LordCrash88
LordCrash88

Yeah, console shooter......

Nuff said.

Master_Vexov
Master_Vexov

BECOME LEGEND!, Cause fighting for survival isn't enough, fk all that you got a Destiny. Your Destiny was found deep in the stars (yep, cause the galaxy gives a shit about humanity!) and that destiny is to become a LEGEND!!!! LEGENDARY!!!.

God, shit like this. I rather fight a struggle then just come out as some Mr: "Race saving, Godly ultra blessed, likely American soldier acting, Destiny written, star child, Nephalem., Teeeeeeerrrrrrrror ender". 
Speaking of "American soldier acting" Im sure everything will come off American or be it (sry, just tired of America vs Germans/Russians for the 5000th time), get creative ffs........... yes i know its humans vs Aliens, but more likely America vs aliens). Kind of like X-com, sure they paste some flags of other countries.. but all of x-com is american owned basicly.. and the majority of soldiers come from the U.S(ya... really not how a humanity vs aliens underground base would be). Also, next expansion is PUNCH ALIENS IN THE FACE LIKE A TOTAL COWBOY, YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHAW!!!!!.

Destiny has to be "humanity" struggling to take back whats ours, kicking these bastards out of our solar system and making sure to cripple them in their own system.
I will play regardless, but if it is going to reach and grasp at being an amazing game (adrenaline left out, a fking new CoD game would be summed "amazing" if so) then it need to truly be a story and fight about "humanity's" "struggle".

jdc6305
jdc6305

Not interested in subscription based games. I'm not paying $60 for a game and then $15 a month on top of it. They can shove is business model up their rear.

lorider25
lorider25

Hope this comes out to PC, now that BF4 has turned out to be absolute shite.

maitkarro
maitkarro

And the decent humanity will be playing the Dark Souls 2 beta.

Keitha313
Keitha313

@juanchito006 For how many years has shooters existed?

How do you purpose they change it up without making a ridiculous boring/crap game, borrowing several aspects of good shooters is the best way to make a game.

jessiebristol
jessiebristol

@DarthRambo71 Just preorder the game from a store, and play the beta. Then get a refund from the store and apply that to a digital copy. Gamestop only requires a $5 deposit for a preorder.

handelo
handelo

@Nocturnal-Gamer Nah. Planetside is awesome in that it has colossal-scale battles, sort of like an open-world Battlefield, but there's no story there, nor much progression or RPG elements at all.

justinka777
justinka777

@apophis32 I love Borderlands to death but I really got no argument agents that. sorry Borderlands, these guys 1-Uped ya.

amdreallyfast
amdreallyfast

@dbb00kw0rm "Ruin the game on launch"?  How so?  As in day 1 bugs that crash it, or day 1 dlc, or day 1 server crashes?

Solace427
Solace427

@Cupp21 usually beta characters do not carry over so that at launch the playing field is level for everyone

TheCloverr
TheCloverr

@jdc6305 It definitely isn't subscription based, they have said that specifically.

MatiasMGS
MatiasMGS

@lorider25 What's wrong about BF4? I'm waiting for the open beta, can't play it yet.

Raymond11
Raymond11

@lorider25 Hope they will release in PC but I doubt since Bungie create Halo and Halo was never release on PC.

Culochilegge
Culochilegge

@maitkarro U are probably talking about Glitch souls 2, sequel of dumb boss fight souls...

Butt_Chunx
Butt_Chunx

@maitkarro What the hell is "Dark Souls" and why would everyone be playing the beta to some sequel to some stupid game that people don't care about or have even heard about?

handelo
handelo

@amdreallyfast @dbb00kw0rm All of the above, probably. Though bugs and crashes are fixable, but Day 1 DLC's and micro-transactions that give you an advantage are what could really ruin game launches. There's no fixing money-grubbing.

aepervius
aepervius

@natalieyan @LordCrash88 can't speak for Lordcrash88, but in my case, after trying console FPS, all i can say is : meh, I pass until they consider PC. It is not a question of jealousy, it is a question that sof ar none of the FPS i tried on console ever had a good handling, halo included. FPS definitively are much better with a mouse and keyboard. Just like some type of game are better with pads, or even joystick.

CincoToes
CincoToes

@GallowJig I've always liked Miss Laid, she's much more fun than Miss Guided.

justinka777
justinka777

@TacticaI @jdc6305 it is not subscription based, they have said from day one of announcement that it isn't this guy just like to make crap up.

Rooten
Rooten

@maitkarro  google is your best friend and stop bitching on something when you don't know what you're talking about!! :D