How Bungie turned Destiny leak into a positive

Design director Joe Staten says studio's response was "typical Bungie"; leak allowed company to initiate conversation with fans.

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A late November information and image leak gave gamers the first details and images of Bungie's new world, rumored to be titled Destiny. This leak caught the developer by surprise, but design director Joe Staten told Edge that the situation became a positive and even motivated the company.

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“I was in a conference room. And [Pete Parsons, Bungie COO] walked in with his laptop. Pete has this look on him when he’s a little nervous and his eyes get really wide; his entire body was quivering," Staten said.

“I think our response was typical Bungie. We just took it in our stride and, instead of making it a negative, we turned it into a positive. We initiated a conversation with our fans, which we hadn’t done in a really long time. And I think having done that, the great reaction that we got from it really made us all very excited internally. It motivated us.”

A leaked marketing document in November described Destiny as a "fun and accessible" game with a "deep, tangible, and relatable" universe compared to Star Wars. The game is also described as "social at its core."

"I think our response was typical Bungie. We just took it in our stride and, instead of making it a negative, we turned it into a positive" - Joe Staten.

According to the document, Destiny's plot revolves around an alien ship bent on destroying Earth and the "knights" tasked with defending what's left of humanity. The document also shows images bearing the Destiny logo along with Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 icons.

Staten did not comment on any of these claims.

Elsewhere in the feature, Bungie music man Martin O'Donnell talked about how the company is available to avoid the "hire-ship-fire" tendency that many big-name studios have become known for.

“There was a very conscious decision when we went independent from Microsoft,” O’Donnell said. “We wanted to make a game company that didn’t get into the habit of swelling its ranks in order to finish a project, and then letting a bunch of people go. We wanted to figure out a way to make a place where people could come and work and stay.”

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Destiny is Bungie's first project as part of a 10-year publishing deal with Call of Duty company Activision. Legal documents from May suggested that the game will be released for the Xbox 360 in 2013, with a 2014 release slated for the PlayStation 3.

The game is reportedly "quite like Halo."

Bungie will discuss Destiny during a session at the 2013 Game Developers Conference in March. Presumably, the game will officially be announced prior to the talk, which will focus on Bungie's design process and world-building techniques, running from concept to production.

Those in attendance will get a glimpse inside Bungie's new world, though it's not clear what state the game will be in during the briefing. Additionally, the event description suggests the next ten years of games from Bungie will be based in the Destiny universe.

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