I''m sure many of you are familiar with Jason Schreier's expose on the making of Destiny 1. Now on D2, I thought it would be interesting to re-read the article and see both how we got here, and how what happened in the past affected what we have now.
Here's what I found interesting:
They’d put together what they called the ‘supercut’—a two-hour video comprising the game’s cinematics and major story beats. In July, they showed it to the studio’s leadership. That’s when things went off the rails, according to six people who worked on Destiny. Senior staff at Bungie were unhappy with how the supercut had turned out. They decided it was too campy and linear, sources say, and they quickly decided to scrap Staten’s version of the story and start from scratch.
So, to be clear, Bungie scrapped the entire Destiny 1 story because it was "too campy and linear". What do we have in D2? A 100% linear story with the campiest dialog I could ever imagine. Ghostard, Failsafe, Cayde, Zavala, even Asher Mir. All campy. The final 'boss' fight has Ghaul shouting a marketing slogan at us, breaking the 4th wall.
Bungie’s senior leadership, including Jason Jones, didn’t like what they saw. Some in the studio took issue with the rhythm of progression, which would have shown players all four main planets—Earth, the Moon, Venus, and Mars—within the first few missions of the game
In Destiny 2, we get all the new planets in order fairly quickly, so we again relapsed to the original, cut version of Destiny.
Jones also told the team that he wanted a less linear story—one in which the player could decide where to go at any time. That became one of Destiny’s key pillars.
We now have a 100% linear story, and can't decide anything. We can't even replay them unless they are given out by Ikora.
In December of 2014, Diablo III director Josh Mosqueira and a few other members of his team at Blizzard came to Bungie for a talk, according to two people who were there. The parallels were uncanny; Diablo III had launched to commercial success in 2012 but saw a great deal of criticism from fans thanks to randomized loot, frustrating online DRM, and a lack of endgame content. Both games shared a publisher, Activision, that thought Destiny could redeem itself in fans’ eyes the way Diablo III eventually had after its release.
“They basically came in and said, ‘Look, here’s our story of developing Diablo III and then bringing in [the expansion] Reaper of Souls,’” said one person who was at the Blizzard talk. “They were saying, like, ‘Hey, random numbers are not fun—dice rolls are not fun. You can give the illusion of randomness, but you want to weight it towards the player… The only point you have to deliver on is that when people leave your game—because they will—when they leave your game, they need to be happy.’”
This part is interesting because it seems Bungie completely spit in Blizzard's face on these suggestions. Destiny 2 may have gotten rid of random stat rolls, but the items themselves are incredibly random, leading to much grip about duplicates. We saw this especially in Iron Banner, there was no illusion of randomness, it was only random. People did not leave happy. Numbers declined every day.
Also mentioned are the "lack of endgame content" being an issue for Diablo 3. Bungie, taking no notes, cut the endgame out of D2.
director Luke Smith has talked openly about avoiding randomness and designing quests with guaranteed rewards
Well this is true. We get exotics from mundane quests or from the story now, we have no random rolls, etc.
That entire last Mars chunk was later cut and passed to Activision subsidiary High Moon Studios to develop for Destiny’s full-sized 2016 sequel
Well, no Mars in D2. Coming soon?
“Instead of it going Destiny, DLC1, DLC2, Comet, DLC1, DLC2, they’re actually just gonna go [big] release and then incremental release. So it’ll just be Destiny, Comet, Destiny, Comet every year. It’s basically just switching the game to an annual model.”
Well, we went Destiny, DLC1, DLC2, Comet....DLC3, Destiny 3, DLC1, DLC2...not an annual release at all.