Sunday, December 15, 2013

Bungie: There's no wrong way to build a character in 'Destiny'

In a recent interview with Game Informer, Bungie Lead Investment officer Tyson Greene revealed some interesting tidbits about the studio’s new RPG/FPS mashup, Destiny.

Destiny is a MMO-style shooter with dynamic RPG traits, giving players a bevy of investment potential. On the other hand, it has the traditional matchmaking multiplayer aspects that console shooters possess–but its more alluring aspects fall in line with how Destiny blurs the edges for a mashup of genres.

Like most RPG’s, gamers have to build up and invest time into their character to progress further. Ranking up EXP, allocating skills, and attaining gear are all essentials to moving on to the next area or quest.

Destiny will be no different, and players will be faced with a myriad of challenges throughout the game.

But how did Bungie formulate their plan for Destiny? Did they just look at what other studios were doing for their respective genres, or did they always have this in mind?

Tyson Greene, the Lead Investment for Bungie, reflects on the studio’s past efforts at player investment, citing Halo 3‘s Recon Armor as a prime example of early community-based content.

To get Recon Armor, players had to work together cooperatively to tackle a challenging series of campaign missions. It was grueling at times, but the reward was highly coveted, and Greene related that overall experience to how they were approaching Destiny.

But of course Destiny will be on a much grander scale–a galactic scale, if you will.

Greene also cites Borderlands 2 as an example that had strong results within the gaming community, but he felt something was missing. The game had an incredible randomized structure that afforded for a dazzling array of loot, but Greene felt that there wasn’t enough to do in terms of in terms of end-game content and multiplayer.

Analyzing these key components helped Bungie realize their goals. Greene also tossed around a few questions that the studio asked itself in order to build their Destiny:
“So what’s important to us? Strong activities, strong investment, things to do. Well how do we support that, in an investment game?”

The Bungie employee continues to touch upon the game’s gear drops, saying that the loot will be more personalized and meaningful to players. And the drops themselves are per-player, so loot-ninjas won’t be able to practice their sticky-fingered tactics:
“And I think that means less randomly generated stuff, less just…constant bombardment of items. If something drops and you don’t really care about it, we want to take that out of the game. I think we have a lower frequency of drops that you’d see in some ARPG’s.

“But the individual drops are much more interesting, much more meaningful to you.

“Our drops are per-player, so there’s no ninja-looting, there’s no mad-rush to be the first person to pick up everything. And when an item drops for you, there are systems that will ensure that the item is worth looking at.”

This is great news for any RPG player who has had their inventory filled with accidental junk-clicks, but it also raises the possible conundrum of not being able to keep consistence when faced with an array of useful weaponry.”

Greene also discloses that Bungie wants players to make a commitment with their characters, rather than clone the best possible loot/skill combination that becomes a standard in games like Diablo III.
“We’re trying to give people opportunities to distinguish themselves–commitment is part of that, because when nobody’s committed to that, nobody’s distinct either.”

Destiny will be very dynamically varied and flexible in terms of theory-crafting, and Greene even says that players won’t have to be anxious about making wrong decisions.

There’s really no wrong way to build a character in Destiny.

To get that high-tier bit of armor you’ll have to work for it, and gameplay will be challenging not only on a skill-based level but also on an investigative level. According to Bungie’s Tyson Greene, you’re going to fail a lot in Destiny–but it’s all part of the experience, isn’t it?
“We’re building encounters where it’s not immediately obvious what you’re going to do…and you’re going to fail. Oh my god, you’re actually going to play a AAA video game and fail alot!”

All in all, Bungie is crafting a different type of shooter–one that marries expansive RPG elements with a heavy emphasis on interaction and community.

While the studio has been inspired by various other games on what to include (and what not to include) in Destiny, Bungie reminds us that they’re gamers too–and as such they’ve compiled everything they’ve wanted to see in a game while providing an amazing array of atmospheres that fully utilize the power of next-gen consoles.

Destiny is slated to release on current-gen consoles (Xbox 360 and PS3) as well as next-gen (Xbox One and PS4) on Sept. 9, 2014. The beta for the game will launch Summer 2014, with PS3 and PS4 owners getting early access. For more information be sure to check out the game’s official website.

Via Game Informer

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