Destiny is our “entire focus”

PlayStation Access talks to DeeJ from Bungie about the studio’s epic shooter Destiny, asking what they learned from the game’s beta and how big it will eventually be.


TotalXbox interviewed Bungie’s director of production Jonty Barnes, which you can read below.

Activision, you might recall, was obliged to publish a version of its contract with Bungie to develop the Destiny franchise back in May 2012, as part of a legal clash with former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella.

Some aspects of the contract have been shown to be thoroughly obsolete, such as the mention of a timed exclusivity deal with Microsoft for the “Xbox 720”. Among those that haven’t yet been shot down (to my knowledge, at least) is a clause stipulating that Bungie is at liberty to create a sequel to Marathon, the desktop sci-fi shooter that paved the way for the developer’s reputation-making Halo: Combat Evolved.

Knucklehead Radar (Hunter Helmet)
Knucklehead Radar (Hunter Helmet)

Bungie’s director of production Jonty Barnes wouldn’t be drawn much on the contract when I spoke to him at Gamescom last week – in particular, he refused to reveal whether Bungie has committed to a certain number of games in the Destiny universe – but he did downplay the suggestion that other projects are in development alongside Destiny.

“I think it’s very hard to imagine anything detracting from our focus on Destiny right now,” Barnes began. “I think we’ve got really ambitious plans going forward, we’ve really built a foundation for the universe and we have really elaborate plans to build upon it.

“And I think one thing that I’ve learned over the years as a studio manager on multiple projects, like multiple Halos and between Destiny and Halo was – there’s nothing better than the entire focus of the studio to do something really ambitious, and I think as the complexity and demands on games to be great pieces of entertainment, the more eyes you can have on it and the more expertise, the more chance you have of success.”

According to Barnes, Bungie made a “tactical decision” when it became an independent studio about “whether we wanted to do multiple initiatives, because we certainly had the talent to do that adventurous stuff.” This would have been in keeping with the activities of other larger independents, such as Insomniac – a studio that has produced smaller games for Facebook in addition to resource-intensive console shooters.

It was ultimately felt, however, that Bungie would be better off focusing on just the one game and universe. “By putting all of our eggs in one basket we’d know it had more chance of eclipsing what we’d done before, and I’m really glad we took the latter [decision], and I think we’re going to continue to take that philosophy of making sure that the quality is guaranteed, and anything which is a distraction from that is going to be challenging, so… it’s all about Destiny for – as far as I can tell.”

Barnes’s recalcitrance notwithstanding, it seems all but certain that Destiny will receive a number of sequels. Speaking to Digital Trends, engineer Roger Wolfson has already discussed how the developer could handle cross-over between games.

“Let’s say Destiny 2 [and] Destiny 3 are out, and we have new players joining the fun,” he said. “They want to play those new games alongside those who have been playing Destiny from the beginning.

“[We want to ensure] they won’t feel like they’re four years behind. And then, if they want to, they’ll be able to go back and pick up the old content on their same character. So we’ve done a lot of planning for how that’s going to work, to not make people feel like they have years worth of levelling up to do.”