Feature Article

Seven Facts About Destiny You Might Have Missed


One year after its unveiling last February, Destiny remains something of a mystery. Few outside of Bungie's Bellevue offices have been able to explore space as a magic-wielding Warlock, a brutish Titan, or an elusive Hunter. But for as much as we'd all love to discover whether a legendary gun like The Fate of All Fools really deserves that sort of name, Bungie has done plenty to describe Destiny based on their own anecdotes and experiences. All it takes is a little searching. Luckily for you, we've done just that.

So have a look at the following quotes, pulled from various interviews and podcasts over the past few months. Destiny still has a lot of question marks surrounding it, but read on and you may just learn something new.

Destiny will never reach a final level of balance

"We have an evolving understanding of balance. In the past you might have characterized our idea of successful balance as getting it to the point where we could [stop working on the game] and it would be perfect. Nobody had to touch it anymore and it would just be a shining gem for all time. But the problem is, those games don't hold a community the same way as a living game like League of Legends or Dota 2. Those games can build these amazing communities around them because they're changing and evolving. There's a metagame that develops over time. The thing that was awesome before is not so awesome now. The thing that you didn't think about before is suddenly the best idea you ever had."

"That kind of dynamic balance where the game is ebbing and flowing, changing and circulating, we understand that and want more of that now. We want to build a game that's always exciting and entertaining, and not just exciting and entertaining because it achieved a final singularity point." - Tyson Green, lead investment designer

Source: Bungie January Podcast

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Everything in multiplayer is designed with a counter in mind

"We definitely believe that something can be powerful as long as there's a way to deal with it. That's a hard balance to strike, but that's the reason we play the game every single day. We're constantly looking at these things to make sure there's no one thing that's so extremely powerful that no one is ever going to deal with it."

"[For example], when you use your vertical movement modes, you're actually getting rid of your ability to be in combat for a short amount of time. So if you want to double-jump, if you want to glide, you're putting yourself in what we call weapon-down. You're making a tactical choice at that point. Like, I want to take the high road right now and get away from combat, but I can't just sit in the air and fire on people. That's now how it works." - Lars Bakken, lead multiplayer designer

Source: Bungie January Podcast

You'll need to make lasting choices

That kind of dynamic balance where the game is ebbing and flowing, changing and circulating, we want more of that now.

Tyson Green

"We're going in a little bit of a different direction from some of the recent RPGs where they really never asked the player to make any commitments. We want players to actually do some things that they may be locked into, at least for some period of time. Because we feel like that allows a person to actually make a different decision from another person and not just immediately copy the decision that's optimal. Everyone doesn't just go to a website and say, what's the best build? We're trying to give people the opportunity to distinguish themselves. Commitment is part of that. When nobody is committed to anything, nobody's distinct either." - Tyson Green, lead investment designer

Source: Game Informer's Designing the RPG Elements of Destiny

Playlists will change fast and often

"We have a really robust system for how we put together our [multiplayer] playlists, just like we always had in Halo. It's even beyond that now in terms of what we're capable of doing and in terms of how quickly and easily we can rearrange those things. So you can expect a similar cadence, if not faster in some cases." - Lars Bakken, lead multiplayer designer

Source: Game Informer's Revealing the Details of Destiny's Multiplayer

It's an action game first and foremost

"You can't make a bad action game good by adding investment. And you can make a good action game bad by adding investment. So we really have to look at it and say, is the game playing well? What are the ways we can add to this experience? A good example is breadth versus power. If you unlock new abilities and weapons that are balanced but different, those are valid rewards. They don't change or ruin the game; they broaden the game. They give people more varied experiences. So the investment game is really trying to make the action game better by creating breadth, personalization, personal identity, and helping it evolve over time." - Tyson Green, lead investment designer

Source: Bungie January Podcast

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Success doesn't come from twitch reflexes alone

"Skill is very important. It's not just your thumb skill, it's understanding how you're outfitting yourself, what choices you've made in your build, and how to use that properly. So getting around the map is different depending on what vertical movement mode you chose. Say there's a door to my right, and a staircase coming up to my left, and straight ahead there's this hole blown in the wall. Is the guy going to come up the stairs, or is he going to use glide to jump up through the hole in the wall? Then what's he going to use at that point? Do I want to plant my prox grenade on the ground so that he lands directly on it, do I want to hide in the corner, sprint towards him and melee him in the face? I don't know what's going to happen. There's such a surprising amount of depth to each encounter." - Lars Bakken, lead multiplayer designer

Source: Bungie January Podcast

You won't be exploring a hopeless wasteland

"We [want to build a hopeful world] because people have limited time they can spend with entertainment. We don't want to put them in this grim, dark, grotesque place. People are choosing to spend their time with us and we want them to feel like they're in a world that's worthy of their time, that's worthy of its heroes. It's really important for us to tell positive stories where every player is on the side of good."

"In terms of what we're doing, I think if you look at the art palette and the post-apocalyptic images, they're not about the terror that happened or the fall of civilization, but this reboot that you get. It's this world where you can leave your 9-to-5 job and become a hero and have fun with your friends, tell these cool stories with one another in a place you want to be in." - Eric Osborne, community manager

Source: GameSpot's Making a World Players Want to Be In

Of course, there are still plenty of details left for Bungie to reveal. So what's that one party of Destiny that you're most eager to find out about? Let us know in the comments below.

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