Game of Thrones Heavily Influenced Destiny's New Expansion

Bungie used the same motion capture dog that played Game of Thrones' direwolf "Ghost."

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Now Playing: Official Destiny: Rise of Iron Reveal Trailer

Bungie based its art direction for Destiny's Rise of Iron expansion on a single image: a view of Lord Saladin, the gatekeeper to Destiny's Iron Banner challenges, as he stands resolutely facing a snowy wilderness, fur coat draped over his armor, massive axe in hand. His back is to a massive wall. Two wolves flank him.

If this evokes images of Game of Thrones, that's no coincidence. Not only were the gear, armor, and landscapes of Rise of Iron inspired by HBO's fantasy series, but so were the storytelling methods used in the expansion's new narrative.

"In Game of Thrones, you have these big, long episodes with a lot of different characters," art director Shiek Wang told GameSpot at Gamescom. "But then [the show] leaves them for a while. Then they come back and dive super deep into, say, Arya. And you say, 'Oh my gosh, that's why she did this, and that's why the writers chose to do this!' That's very much what we're doing with Rise of Iron."

Prior to Destiny's The Taken King expansion, the shooter lacked much of a forward story, opting to flesh out its world through the Grimoire, a tangential wiki on Bungie's website. With The Taken King, however, the developer returned to existing characters to tell a more cinematic and personal story.

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"When Destiny first came out, all of these characters were little opportunities: Cryptarch, Xur, Saladin, Petra. We added characters like Variks," executive producer Scott Taylor said. "As we go, we figure out which areas, and which characters, we want to dive deeper in. We're building a universe."

Rise of Iron will follow Lord Saladin as he reveals what he's been training players for since Destiny's beta release. He summons guardians to Felwinter Peak, an ancient Earth stronghold where the now-defunct Iron Lords sacrificed themselves to weaken the biomechanical plague SIVA. The latter will play a prominent part in the expansion's storyline.

As it turns out, Rise of Iron and Game of Thrones also share a more direct link.

"The one literal tie-in is that we used the same dog they used for the Ghost the direwolf in Game of Thrones," Wang said. "We had the same dog do motion capture."

Past those details, Taylor and Wang were reluctant to share more of the expansion's story threads. In addition to an in-depth campaign, Rise of Iron will also bring a new PvP mode, private PvP matches, two new cooperative strikes, a new raid, new social events, and a new hub for players to explore. It also begins Destiny's third year, with a sequel looming on the horizon if recent leaked artwork is any indication.

Mike Mahardy on Google+

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