The Tortured Story of Destiny’s Development | Giant Fire Breathing Robot

The Tortured Story of Destiny’s Development

It’s rare that I report on other people’s reporting. For the most part it’s lazy writing, and tends to feel a wee bit incestuous. However, every so often I see something that demands to be shared due to its quality.

Over on Kotaku, Jason Shrier has spent the last 13 months putting together a report on the tortured development of Destiny, Bungie’s multi-million dollar “shared world shooter” that was launched last year to less-than enthusiastic reviews.

Following on from the massive success of the Halo franchise, it’s safe to say that everyone (myself included) expected something great from Bungie. It’s likely that Activision did too, given that they had invested $500 million in publishing a game that supposedly has a 10-year plan behind it.

What arrived was a mess of confusing plot, embarrassing dialogue and barely fleshed-out characters. Despite the gunplay and combat feeling as tight and rewarding as you’d expect from Bungie, the game mechanics were a nightmare of grind, RNG, and blind luck.

According to the report, the reasons behind those failings can be found in the massive change in direction that took place, partway through the game’s development. At that time almost all existing story and plot work were thrown out in favour of a new structure, cobbled together from various parts of the original.

Most of the flaws in the launch version of Destiny have now been addressed with the release of The Taken King, the game’s first major expansion. While the confusing story and terrible dialogue still remain they have either been streamlined and refined, in the case of the story, or re-recorded with better voice acting, in the case of the dialogue.

Even if you have not played Destiny, and don’t intend to, the report is definitely worth a read. Even if it’s just to see how easily an incredibly successful developer like Bungie can get things so wrong, so easily.


Follow Craig on Twitter, @d20shapedheart or email him at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *