Bungie Was Unconcerned With Avoiding Halo, But Wanted Destiny To Look "Unique"

A Bungie artist talks about the developer's goals and what makes Destiny's art next-gen.



There are undoubtedly similarities between Destiny and Halo, both of which were created by Bungie. Those similarities include the visuals, which may be due to the fact that Bungie says it didn't specifically set out to make something that looked completely different from Halo.

In an interview with GamesBeat, senior environmental artist Jason Sussman was asked about whether Bungie felt its next game had to look nothing like Halo. "That wasn't our goal," he said. "I think Chris Barrett, our art director, has talked about how we went really high fantasy at first. We wanted to branch out and do something fantastic. Then we started falling back on some of the things that we know how to do really well, merging those worlds together. We weren't trying, intentionally, to say, 'Hey, let's not make it look like this.' We just wanted to make something unique and special, not only to the players, but to ourselves. We wanted to do something new, something bigger, something different in all the right ways, but still remaining true to our foundation."

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The Destiny alpha test wrapped up yesterday, and while it's prompted numerous jokes and critiques about Peter Dinklage's voice acting, the consensus is that it's an absolutely beautiful game. We've only seen it running on the PlayStation 4, but considering this is a game that will be released on last-generation consoles in addition to PS4 and Xbox One, it's an impressive achievement.

The scale and draw distance, in particular, have been lauded by those who have played the game, and it's those things that Sussman pointed to when asked about what makes the art next-gen. "It's the scale and scope of what we're doing," he responded. "The size of our environments and the amount of explorable space and the amount of A.I. in those environments, along with other players coming seamlessly in and out of those spaces. It doesn't matter if you're on a strike or playing a campaign mission or just roaming around. You're constantly going to run across other people, seamlessly coming in and out. That feels very different to me. It's not just a typical first-person shooter."

Sussman also talked up the work Bungie has done on the engine that's powering the game. "We're doing a lot of different technical things that we haven't done before," he said. "We have cloth sim on the players. We've rewritten our engine from the ground up. This is not the engine we used in the past. Every system has been amplified, from animation to the way we're lighting the environment. We're tuning in to every aspect of each next-gen console as much as possible."

Bungie has previously said that the last-generation-console versions will not be dumbed down compared to what's offered on PS4 or Xbox One, although we still don't have any real idea of what to expect on 360 or PS3. Sussman added to Bungie's past comments by saying, "We've pushed the 360 and the PS3 really far. We want to deliver, on all four consoles, the best possible experience."

Destiny is set to run at 1080p and 30 frames per second on both Xbox One and PS4, figures which Sussman confirmed to GamesBeat. Although those two will be comparable in that regard, the PlayStation versions will feature exclusive content, and the upcoming beta will launch first on those platforms on July 17.

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