Destiny just celebrated its fifth birthday, and developer Bungie is in a very different place to where it was five years ago. Destiny 2 has just entered its third year, the Shadowkeep expansion is imminent, and Bungie is now an independent studio having split from Activision.
Luke Smith, game director on Destiny 2, recently spoke with Kinda Funny to talk all things looting, shooting, and raiding. When asked what his lowest and most proud moments from working on Destiny, Smith is reluctant to use the word “proud.”
“A thing the team created that I look at really fondly, I think, would probably be the first raid that we released [the Vault of Glass],” he explains. “I didn’t get to experience any of [the launch] and I don’t know what happened at the studio that day, but I remember logging in the night that it came out and people were still raiding.” Smith jokingly says he was sobbing when a group in “some random Twitch stream said ‘it’s like a World of Warcraft raid in a shooter’.”
As for his lowest point, that came after the “six-week honeymoon period” following Destiny 2’s release. “That period for me lasted about a year, I think, of looking at the game and what was happening with it. Mark [Noseworthy] and I were working on some different stuff at that point, and feeling like your work is unfinished is a really bad feeling. And so I would say that period after the game came out and we really felt like our work was unfinished was a low point, and I think if there’s anything people have taken away from that period and the way that we turned things around in Forsaken and the way that we’ve gathered ourselves up this year going forward, it’s to finish what we started–like the metaphorical ‘Never Again’ tattoo Mark and I and a bunch of folks from the team have on us to not set the game adrift like that again.”
Beyond this, Smith also spoke about the guns in Destiny 2, and how a comparable Weapons 2.0 update won’t be happening. Armor 2.0 is, of course, releasing as part of the upcoming Shadowkeep expansion, drastically altering the way armor works by revamping various properties and giving you more customisation options than ever before, where universal ornaments mean you won’t have to sacrifice looks in order to construct an ideal build. Smith says this won’t be happening with weapons, though, because the guns are already pretty good.
“We’re looking at weapons overall right now. There’s a long, long, probably 2000 words, deleted scene from the director’s cut [a three-part blog Smith posted last month] that’s really looking at things like infusion in weapons and the relationships we want players to think of [with] their weapons in Destiny. We’re not working on Weapons 2.0 right now,” Smith says.
On this date five years ago @DestinyTheGame launched
It has been and remains a big part of my life, both at the office and in my game time at home.
Happy Birthday? Happy Anniversary? I don’t know which?
But I’m glad this game is around.
— Luke Smith (@thislukesmith) September 9, 2019
“It’s the type of thing where we could bet on that right now, but what we really are looking at is how are we going to continue to grow build crafting. And that’s the frontier we’re exploring right now. I can imagine at some point taking a look at weapons down the road, but I think that’s pretty far down the road. I think there’s some stuff that we’re going to continue to improve about weapons, like I’ve been seeing a bunch of chatter and sentiment around, like, ‘We want certain weapons from certain activities to feel more special.’ I think there’s good feedback that I’ve been seeing there. But there’s not an active, ‘Let’s overhaul weapons!’ Nope, those are good. Let’s figure out what the behavior we want players to have, like the emotion we want them to feel with their items, and figure out what the right thing to do with weapons is once we have that answer.”
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep launches on October 1 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.