This week at Bungie, we welcomed some hungry new friends into our kitchen.
One of the best parts of managing the Bungie Community is giving people their first taste of what we’re cooking up. I get to remove the lids from our cauldrons and pass them a spoon. In truth, what I really do is sit them down in front of a dev kit and drop a controller into their hands, but you get the idea.
Destiny gets a little more delicious every week. With so many cooks stirring the brew, you would expect the aroma to get a little sweeter every day. There are some moments, though, when a new build explodes with unexpected flavor. As a long-time Bungie fan that pushed away from the dinner table to work for the chefs, it’s a joy to see those knives in action.
So there I was, giving the usual studio tour to some new allies. On several occasions since the last Weekly Update, we processed some NDAs under the watchful eyes of Jerome, and let the doors swing wide. Being the guide of that tour is always fun, especially on the rare occasions when it leads upstairs.
When we reach the virtual portion of the inspection? That’s where the real fun begins.
Did you watch that again? If you did, you ain’t seen nuthin’, yet.
Imagine how many times I’ve played the Moon Strike. It’s one of the few experiences on the menu in Destiny that we’ve let escape out the door, so we feel pretty comfortable sharing it with new allies who need a hands-on introduction to our game. Worst case scenario: Some loose lips let slip harmless gossip like “I fought my way through all these nasty aliens on the moon, and killed this huge thing chained up in the basement!”
That recipe won’t spoil.
Of course, sampling the Moon Strike first-person is an altogether different experience. It’s one that I’ve served up (and wolfed down) many times now. You think I’m sick of that same helping of action and adventure? No way, friends. It’s been fascinating to see it evolve through my gunsights. When you’re witnessing it marinate in its own juices, the mission never gets old.
Yesterday, I was shocked by some of the more recent developments. As I led green recruits below the pocked surface of our closest celestial neighbor, I became a tourist on my own tour. I betrayed my inner-fanboy right in front of my “professional colleagues.”
“Holy crap!” I breathed, as newly tuned music started to score a particularly tense encounter.
“What?” asked my new Fireteam mate. “Don’t you get to play this all the time?”
As I braided a wicked crossfire with the other two Guardians in my Fireteam, Marty and Michael (with some help from their friends) spurred us on with their orchestral shot of adrenaline. Memories of marching to their drums echoed in tune with the pounding of blood in my ears. With an assault rifle mounted to my armored shoulder and Thralls falling around my feet like luminous piles of ash, I recalled what Designer Dan Miller said about his favorite milestone:
“It’s not a game until I hear the music,” he told me.
That’s damn right. But music was not the only new element of polish on display in the increasingly vile depths of the Hellmouth. New visual cues let me know when my most destructive tactics beckoned to be unleashed. New voices conducted me into corners where the Light fails. New atmospherics added weight to the already menacing air. New effects roiled around the arrival of reinforcements, entering the fray in first-class fashion. The Darkness seemed to boil through the floor.
Luke was right. Ever since he told me that the next eight weeks would be a sight to see, I’ve taken in some new and beautiful scenery. And those eight weeks are still counting down. There’s still time to make this even better. All hands are on deck at Bungie, and the elbow grease is flowing.
Sorry we can’t show you yet. In the coming months, it will be your turn to wield the spoon. Between now and then, we’re perfecting the delicate blend of spices. That’s what you expect, and that’s what we insist.
Care for another taste of life beyond the security checkpoint? Let’s open the Sack.
OsiRis VeX: Can you elaborate on how PvP will be competitive?
Well, uhhh… What?
Maybe I don’t understand the question. When we talk about Player versus Player engagements, we’re cutting right to the heart of competitive gameplay. Some missions will lead you to thread your crosshairs over another Guardian, but you’ll need to choose them very deliberately. PvP will not come in the form of an ambush. We need volunteers to enter the arena. As much as we’re looking forward to bring you together as a force for good, united against common enemies bent on the destruction of humankind, we have a long and joyous tradition of pitting you against one another. To those about to game, we salute you.
We want to know the baddest Guardian in the Tower. We want to see you battle each other for glory and bragging rights. You’re going to practice the combat style you perfected in fighting against the Cabal’s professional military and see if it works on each other. May the odds be ever in your favor.
Guardian: How many characters will players be allowed to make, and if that can’t be answered now, then when?
I can guarantee that you’ll know full well the answer to this question on September 9th, 2014. That’s assuming, of course, that you’re sorted to be one of the first Guardians to venture into the wild. For the time being, I can tell you this: Each class of Guardian is worthy of your bravery. The Hunter, and the Warlock, and the Titan are each a blast to play in their own way. It sure would be a shame if you had to take my word on that. Play ’em all!
McFisticup: I’ve wanted to choose the Hunter class ever since I saw how cool it looked, but I had two dreams that I was playing Destiny last week and I was a Warlock in both of them. What does this dream mean?
It means that the Matrix cannot tell you who you are. Wait, no. It means that Destiny will appeal to your every mood.
There are times when you’ll want to kick open the door and stride through it ahead of your Fireteam. You’re a Titan, and your armor will shield your hulking frame from the angry response that awaits on the other side. Your explosive retort will erupt from your fists, as you lunge forward and plunge them into the ground at your enemy’s feet.
There will be moments when you’ll prefer to stalk your enemies with stealth and cunning. You’re a Hunter, so your prey may never see your dashing cape. Your true cloak is invisibility. When you are seen, you’ll be brandishing a mighty revolver sheathed in Light, dealing brilliant bolts of death instead of lead.
And, as foretold by your dreams, there will definitely be moments when you’ll glide through the air on wings on divinity. You’re a Warlock, whose finest weapon is your devotion to the Traveler. You wield Light like an artist, painting the landscape with nova-hot salvos of energy.
MepmClopudFF: Are you planning on releasing a Collector’s Edition for Destiny?
Ask us again next week.
brain surgeon: When do you guys plan on making another podcast?
We have a cast of characters all lined up. Urk and I aren’t doomed to enter another pressurized cabin for a few weeks, and Halcylon is always here, spooling up sweet graphics to help you relive your adventures. What we need is some time when we can invade the Audio Lab again. Those guys are hard at work, trying to inspire you to induce permanent hearing loss. If we can get on the docket, we’ll recreate some of the eureka moments that went down behind closed doors at GDC.
Nitropacked: Can you tell us a bit about how clans/guilds will be handled in Destiny?
One cannot handle a Clan. Those tribal forces of gamer unity follow their own collective will. What we can do, and what we do right now, is provide you with the club houses you need to incubate your private armies. If you plan to lead (or join) an exclusive team in Destiny, help yourself to a Group right here on Bungie.net.
Of course, all of the very best clans tend to migrate off site toward their own secure war rooms. We’ll be seeking them out and paying attention to their exploits. On a personal note, your friendly neighborhood community manager is a chronic Clan junkie. If you’re a successful Overlord among gamers, expect some love.
lieutenantdan: I’m sure you know we are anxiously waiting for the Beta, but how is the atmosphere over there? Has anyone gone insane yet?
Right on the edge of madness is where we thrive. We know full well that you’re anxiously awaiting the Beta. Your impatience and your lofty expectations are the wind at our backs.
lordgeneral745: In the last safe city on earth will there be vendors selling things that we Guardians will want to buy for our journeys into the stars?
The Tower will be your bazaar. Overlooking the city, you’ll find your shelter and supply in a bustling marketplace of merchants who trade in the industry of building your legend. Need deadlier weapons? Sturdier armor? Deeper secrets for how to channel the energies of creation as a force of destruction? There’s a vendor for that. And more. Tyson doesn’t let me talk about how awesome the Tower will actually be.
Håvard J: How important is the element of magic in combat? Is it just something fancy to show off or does it have a big impact on the game?
It’s definitely a marvelous spectacle when a Guardian lets slip an attack that is powered by the Traveler. As pretty as it might be to see through the lens of our shiny new game engine, it’s the effect that it has on your enemies that will have you spellbound. It’s the hammer strike. It’s the closing argument.
The time has come for Bungie to say “Adiós.” The weekend is nigh, and we have dangerous maneuvers in User Research that demand my immediate attention. Perhaps we’ll tell you about them at a later date. We’re narrowing in on this creation of ours, but we won’t know what it is until it’s played. On a long enough timeline, you’ll be a factor in that equation.