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The March of the Mail Sack

Before we get down to the weekly ritual of opening the mail, we need to address a piece of serious business.{{more}} This week, before the sun could rise and set after the official reveal of Destiny, a piece of our game was seen on the loose in the wilds of the Internet. In an act of blazingly fast gunsmithing, one fan fashioned for himself an uncanny facsimile of our work.

“If anyone from Bungie is watching this right now, I’m not trying to steal your stuff.”

We were watching, alright, and that’s exactly what you did, Andrew. You should return our stuff to us as soon as humanly possible. Be sure to address the label to the attention of DeeJ – this final detail is extremely important!

We’re kidding, of course. DaFrontlineTrooper should feel free to mount that prototype on his wall. It’s really great work, and now that our new universe is out in the open, we’re already starting to see the community make it their own. We can’t wait to celebrate more creativity like this.

For now, we’ll keep tabs on the community by opening the Sack.

dmg04  Will we hear or see anything new from Destiny this week?
Are we there yet?

Duardo  What's the scariest part about creating a new universe?
The best sci-fi/fantasy blows people’s minds, while still resonating with them on a deeper, universally relatable level.  The entire team at Bungie has spent years figuring out how to best marry these two ideals into one wholly compelling experience.  It’s been daunting, to say the least.  But releasing it to the wild – that is the terrifying part.
Dave Mongan, Senior Writer

tyalka93  How much backstory and lore can we expect in Destiny?
Prior to joining the writing team on Destiny, Eric Raab painstakingly helped guide the Halo fiction as part of an external team at Tor Books. He has a wealth of experience curating deep volumes of fiction for other franchises and a stable of supremely talented authors, as well.  When we asked him your question, we expected a digital tome overflowing with carefully wrought prose. Instead, he wrote the following.

Generations worth.  Good luck uncovering it all.
Eric Raab, Managing Editor

Dark Delta 6  What is your favorite alien in Destiny?
There are many to choose from.  Let’s learn about the preferred targets of our panel.

My favorite alien is a dead alien.
Mike Forrest, Senior Engineer

The Cabal. I want to give them hugs. Special hugs.
Frank Krause, SDET

Everyone’s an alien, aren’t they? Concepts of nationality don’t really apply when there’s only one safe city left on Earth. Destiny is a melting pot. A tossed salad. Gumbo. What’s in gumbo? No one knows.
Tom Slattery, Localization Content Manager

The (yet to be named) “Space Zombies.” I love their mythos and how it’s communicated through the art direction of the characters and the environments.
Joey Gibbs, Broducer

I fell in love with the Fallen all the way back in 2009. Partly because there’s just something wonderful about the idea of a nomadic race of once noble houses now scattered to the solar winds. Partly because there’s something primordial and instantly terrifying about squaring off against an unpredictable Fallen Captain, his tattered crimson cape draped over a set of four splayed and angular arms that bristle with sleek firepower.  That said, now that all of the enemy combatant races have been fleshed out more deeply, I’m harder pressed to call out a single enemy as a frontrunner. It’s become too difficult to play favorites. The amount of visual variety has become mind boggling, and our writers have been in overdrive to give each race rich and meaningful motivations that don’t just create distinctions between enemy races, but within them.
Urk, Classified

The Vex. They are unlike any enemies I’ve fought in other games. The fiction behind them is really fascinating, which, in turn, creates one of the coolest deaths in the game.
David Candland, Senior Artist

I’d answer but my arms are too tired to continue typing.
Marty O’Donnell, Audio Director

Spawn  How will you be addressing all player audiences within Destiny?
You can’t make everyone happy all of the time, but with Destiny we’re reaching out to gamers who love heart-pounding action set in a world worthy of heroes. If that suit of armor fits you, here’s some speculative context from someone who is no stranger to player audiences.

Sometimes shooting aliens is -blam-ing relaxing and sometimes shooting aliens is stressful and intense. We’re going to accommodate both sides of that coin. Destiny will have activities for every mood.
Luke Smith, Senior Designer

ll ManBean ll  What's Bungie's favorite thing to do in Destiny?
With so many things to do, we’ll need our panelists to scratch the surface.

I stare at gorgeous vistas instead of playing the game.
Leland Dantzler, Tester

Nothing’s better than playtesting with the entire studio.
Francisco Cruz, Artist

One night each week after work, food and beverages appear in the kitchen and we all get together to playtest the latest build.
Josh Eash, Release Manager

I like slow dramatic walks on the moon.
Drew Smith, Producer

I just go out to kill stuff for the shiny loot.
Ben Thompson, Engineer

Sit on the Shores of Time on Venus and watch other Guardians run through, leaving behind a body count.
Nate Hawbaker, Associate Technical Artist

Dramatic entrances.
Josh Markham, Associate Artist

Camp out in the social areas helping people get to their next destination.
Kevin Hart, Associate Artist

Madness  Is everything in Destiny made so "lone wolves" like me can enjoy the game as much as the guys who like to play cooperatively?
You won’t be required to partner with strangers to achieve your goals in Destiny.  You’ll have all the freedom you need to blaze your own trail. 

LLamuh  Will competitive gamers have a home in Destiny?
Yes. The most competitive guys at our studio are having a damn good time playing Destiny.
Josh Hamrick, Senior Designer

burritohsenior  Will Destiny give us a chance to have cooperative Ride Along matches, where fans work side by side with Bungie to kick all the buttocks?
Not all combatants have buttocks, but, just like anything that’s fun, Destiny is a game that’s more fun to play with your friends. We can’t say that enough. When we ship this game from our hands to yours, we’ll want nothing more than to play it with you. 

Father Franklin  Who is currently the best Destiny player in the studio?
This is just the census we need to solicit volunteers to ride along with our community.  What say you, Bungie?

Our test automation is by far the best player; it can create a character and play through an entire level faster than any human. Austin Spafford is the best human player, in my opinion.
Alan Stuart, Senior Engineer

Mat Noguchi, Nate Hawbaker, Leland Dantzler, Mike Forrest.
Elliott Gray, Graphic Designer

I’m consistently thrashed by Monske or Hawbaker.
Leland Dantzler, Tester

Not me.  Launching has put me a bit behind the curve.
Tom Gioconda, Engineer

John Harris. The man brings death with him wherever he goes.
Joey Gibbs, Broducer

Josh Hamrick. I try to avoid playing against him in anything.
Francisco Cruz, Artist

I haven’t played against everyone, but I was in a game the other day where Shaun Martin dominated my team.
Rahsaan Green, Sandbox Test Engineer

I thought I was good till I played our testers.
Kevin Hart, Associate Artist

I'm the unluckiest, statistically speaking.
Mat Noguchi, Programmer*

It’s unanimous.

Flamestryker  Aside from the Mail Sack, when can we expect our next stream of Destiny related information? Will this be on a weekly or a monthly basis?
The Mail Sack won’t be your only or most theatrical source of Destiny news, but it’s inevitable that our ongoing weekly chat will touch on our game from time to time. We have a lot to show you before it’s your turn to play, and you won’t miss a beat if you’re paying attention to, or any of our official channels. What we don’t want to do is commit that parade of details to a predictable cadence.

Its a Mirage  Did anyone come close to accidentally announcing Destiny?
Are you kidding? Before its “official” reveal, Destiny was the worst kept secret in the history of video games – or secrets, for that matter.  While it stung to have our showmanship disrupted by sneak previews that we didn’t plan, it was hard for us to complain about the fact that the world was hungry enough for details about our mysterious project to pry them from our clenched fists.

Professor24  When Jason Jones (or whoever) pitched the idea of Destiny, how was the companies reaction?
Jason Jones doesn’t pitch anything to Bungie. He tells us that he has an idea, and we listen from the very edge of our seats.

Bricypoo  Will there be a ninja cowboy in Destiny?
Is there such a thing?  Your archetype is a walking contradiction.  Ninjas are sneaky and methodical, striking from the darkness when their victims least suspect.  Cowboys are bold and foolish, attacking from the center of the street with guns ringing out in a blaze of glory.

Mandroid  Will there be grinding? I hate having to grind for stuff.
Destiny is an action game, so you’ll grind your enemies into dust. 

EpicWaffles  For the Environment artists and level designers: What is your process of designing then creating a level for Destiny?
We have world designers now. We’ll tell you more about what that means later.

frdeswaq  I am guessing that most of you have played some form of Destiny by now. What was your first reaction when you stepped into this brave new world?
We play this game every day. Here’s what some of us said when we stepped into Destiny for the first time:

“I want to know more and see more.”
Rahsaan Green, Sandbox Test Engineer

Dawn Vu, Graphics Tester

“I made the right decision coming to Bungie.”
Tom Slattery, Localization Content Manager

“Hey, this is pretty damn fun… wait, what time is it now?  Uh, I’ve been playing for how long?  Wow…  Eh, a few more minutes won’t hurt.”
Tom Gioconda, Engineer

“OMG, it’s so pretty!  When can I take this home again?”
David Johnson, Engineer

“I’ve never experienced a User Interface like this.”
Kevin McGinnis, Art Lead (User Interface)

“Oh god, how are we going to test this thing in the usability lab?”
John Hopson, User Research Lead

“Hey, that’s finally working!” 
Tyson Green, Staff Designer

“We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
David Candland, Senior Artist

As you can probably tell, some of these first impressions were made earlier in the process than others, but Mr. Candland is right.  There is still a lot of work to be done in building this brave new world.  Fortunately, that work will be done by the most talented team that we have ever assembled.

We’ll be sharing more soon. I can hear the whispers as I type these words.

Until then, we’ll be seeing you in all the familiar places.
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