I’ll have my Critical Look at Destiny done this week. A game like this really needs a certain amount of time commitment, and although I have put many hours into it, there’s still some stuff I haven’t done enough to truly give my thoughts. Beware of spoilers ahead in this article, since it is about the overall storyline in the game.
Destiny has been out for 3 weeks now. The Vault of Glass has been beaten, there are players that have already reached the level cap. This has led to a lot of time to speculate over the flaws that many are seeing in Destiny. Namely, the story, or lack thereof. The DestinyTheGame subreddit has been on fire the last few days with rumor and speculation ranging from the planned DLC already being on the disc to the most profound bit of news, Destiny’s storyline, and what happened to it.
Reddit user Acer1096xxx made this post taken from the bungie.net forums with quite a few highlights about what the story in Destiny was supposed to be. Starting with Destiny’s lead writer, Joe Staten leaving Bungie in 2013. After Joe’s departure, it seems a large chunk of the storyline, and accompanying missions, cutscenes and entire areas were taken out of the final game.
The prime example of this is Crow, the character/faction who was set out to expose the Traveler and Speaker for in fact bringing the darkness along with the Traveler, and not the Golden Age.
Add to this,the Warmind Rasputin, that the beginning of the game has you finding and interacting with, and then there is no more mention of it. Take a look at the shoddily developed Grimoire Card system, with no in-game UI that they use to tell you all about this massive world.
I can confirm that there were sudden and abrupt changes in the development of Destiny less than a year ago. There was tension between higher ups the entire time we were developing the title due to a lack of cohesion about the vision for the game. One side wanted this huge space epic, like an MMO Mass Effect and the other side was not convinced that would sell and wanted to pare things back to more “easily accessible” standards. They were afraid too much story elements and cut scenes would drive players off.
Then Joe left and everything just fell apart. By the time we were 7 months out to release, word came down that we were making massive revisions to the game’s story. Huge portions of dialogue were excised and I think several recordings were redone to support the new narrative. Entire areas that would have been in the final game were removed, but some of the context wasn’t, which explains weird reactions from NPCs and strange, unexplained motivations. We had a guy come in to write the grimoire cards who was given access to the original script with notations on what was cut and what needed to be revised in order to make this zombie of a game seem plausible.
All of the Last City factions had their storylines and dialogue cut, the Guardian’s initial introduction to the Tower and the Last City was cut, and ALL the origins were homogenized down to the one originally used for Exo characters.
Most of what was cut was planned to be re-polished into DLC, but it’s all there on the disc. Not all of it is live on the servers, but it’s all there on the disc. Some last minute art assets needed to be remade, which is what you’ll be downloading.
It’s an embarrassing disaster and not the game I thought would be published.
This is all very depressing and really shows how marketing and a worry over making “what will sell” vs “a good and compelling narrative” can ruin what could have been a very successful series of games. Now the problem is that Destiny broke sales records for a new IP, but probably won’t keep the users it currently has for more than 6 months, if that.