Wondering why something felt like it was missing from Destiny at launch? Here's why.

Details revealed about Destiny’s troubled development

Wondering why something felt like it was missing from Destiny at launch? Here's why.

Despite Destiny’s undisputed success since it launched in September of last year, it was pretty apparent from the get-go that something was off about the game. Everything looked cool and intriguing, but it never felt that way. There was always some disconnect between the player and the events of the world, which was supposed to be one of the things that Destiny was adamantly trying to avoid.

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Well according to a recent interview with Kotaku, several anonymous sources confirmed what many players already knew; Destiny’s story was pretty much a rush job. To be fair, Bungie is rectifying a lot of what was wrong with Destiny at launch – and of course, it goes without saying that “anonymous sources” can (and should) be taken with a grain of salt. Regardless, this is the jist of what allegedly happened.

According to the sources, the writing team compiled a two-hour supercut of the game’s cinematics and story beats to show to the senior staff for a final thumbs up. Unfortunately, the leads were unhappy with the direction of the story, citing that it was “too campy and linear”, and the writing team was forced to start over. This happened in the summer of 2013, just a little more than a year before the game officially released to the general public.

The leads were unhappy with the direction of the story, citing that it was “too campy and linear”

Destiny’s story ended up being large chunks of existing content and assets that were rearranged or re-purposed into different contexts (character models, the order of the planets/missions), while a lot of other things were omitted completely (the Dreadnaught level that later appeared in The Taken King).

Opinions on the supercut itself seem to vary, but multiple sources agree that the quality of the cut wasn’t exactly stellar. The leads ended up taking the reigns and stitched together the narrative that we saw when the game launched. As one person put it, “the story was written without writers.”

Quick take: I think what needs to be understood with this story is that there’s no evil entity that the gaming world should point the finger at when it comes to Destiny. It’s very easy for gamers to stand on their personal soap boxes and criticize studios and publishers for not putting out a perfect product.

Sometimes issues come up internally that can’t be fully dealt with on such stressful development schedules, and certain priorities have to be taken into account. Obviously, Destiny did not initially live up to its lofty expectations, but that hasn’t stopped many of the same people who have bashed it over the last year from buying it. We can at least be glad that Bungie is trying to rectify their mistakes. 

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Daniel R. Miller
Freelance Game Writer and Journalist. I'm an Independent Writer who's passionate about spreading the word about all things gaming. My favorite games of all time are Pokemon Blue and Final Fantasy VIII. Check out more of my writing at thevideogamejournal.com.