This week at Bungie, we plotted and schemed. We made grand and impassioned speeches. We debated and collaborated and came to a consensus. We laughed maniacally, twisting our long and imaginary mustaches.
From the reveal of Destiny in February, to the announcement of our September 9th release date, we paved the way for things to come. The sweet morsels of media that sprang from our foundry were only a taste. This year, our ancient engines of war will be unleashed again.
If you’re reading this, it’s a safe bet that you’re more than ready. Maybe you’re wondering if we held our powder for a second assault. Or, maybe you’ve seen enough and have already made up your mind. Maybe you’re anxious to finally grip an exotic weapon right now, and blast your way onto the bow of a Fallen Ketch. Wherever you land on that spectrum, we believe you’re in for one hell of a ride this year.
Urk tells me it’s dangerous to make a promise on the Internet, but I’m feeling bold. Last year, we played our game on stage, and allowed only a few secret glimpses behind closed doors. This year, it will be your turn to get hands on.
In the coming months, the countdown will begin again. As always, we’re accepting fresh registrations from anyone brave enough to be our test pilot. Anyone want to go for a ride?
Of course, marketing and community aren’t the only teams gearing up for adventure. Every other team is carving through their own set of development missions. The landscapes of our worlds are coming alive. Bolder skirmishes are coming online that will demand even more of your bravery. More and more developers are fighting over coveted playtest slots, captivated by the most important feature Destiny has to offer: Fun.
We’re seeing developments that excite us, and we live with this project every day. Yet, every day, something new and hopeful enters the mix. We see its performance improve on a console that you just might have on your shelf. We see the seeds of new applications you’ll use to carry your Guardian with you, wherever you go. We see potential.
More work to be done. Much more work to be done.
“He came out swinging!” –Jeremiah Pieschl (aka Ninja on Fire, aka Jerpie)
At the loftiest heights of Bungie, a place exists where designers and testers meet to make war upon each other. They are the Guardians of fun. We see them looking down on our kitchen from the ramparts of the mezzanine, like warriors of the Tower surveying the City they’re sworn to protect. Their mission is to build a better mousetrap for gamers that just want to battle other gamers.
Each week, they fight a great battle to discover, at that moment in time, who among them is the best. Such is the ritual of the Weekend Champion. As the dust from the most recent rumble settled, it was a relative newcomer who had emerged victorious. Like a dark horse in the running, he outpaced his fellow competitors, until only the goal line could be seen in his field of vision.
His name is Brandon Lewis. This is his story.
Who the hell are you, mystery man?
Brandon: My name is Brandon Lewis, and I am a tester. I work with other awesome guys to make sure the competitive experience in Destiny is the absolute best it can be.
Rumor has it that you just got here?
Brandon: Yes, sir! I started learning the basics in November, and moved to the competitive multiplayer team about three weeks later. Since joining the team, I’ve been mainly focused on looking at each and every map and finding things that are broken. I’m tasked with finding gaps that will let people escape the environment or incorrect physics or collision on an object.
Speaking of collision detection, tell us your recent victory over the field of happy hour gladiators.
Brandon: That glorious match was fought around and inside of a Cabal refinery on Mars. Lots of open spaces, as well as narrow hallways.
What variety of hero did you send into that space?
Brandon: I was rolling a Hunter, armed with a Ghost Gun. The Hunter is probably my favorite class right now, mainly because the Ghost Gun and Arc Blade supers are awesome. The other two classes are great in their own ways, but the Hunter is great for sniping and sneaking.
Let’s go there. Tell us about your tactics. It’s been said that, if you find yourself in a fair fight, it’s because you didn’t do your homework. For the readers who want to get a leg up, what should they glean from your notes?
Brandon: My biggest tactic was to maneuver through the buildings and tight corners to find the guys unsuspecting of a sneak attack, and then unload on them with my Auto Rifle or disintegrate them with the Golden Gun when they least expected it. That, and sniping people’s faces off as they rushed for cover.
Your fresh perspective caught a lot of those faces off guard. What do these old men need to learn from you?
Brandon: Keep moving, and watch your back. Destiny is a very fast paced experience. In the heat of battle, it can be easy to miss that sniper hiding behind a rock. If you see the glint of my scope, it might be too late for you.
Pretty bold statements. Can you back it up? Think you can defend the title two weeks in a row?
Brandon: I wish. There is a general agreement now that a champ can’t be champ for two weeks in a row. I think they’re just scared…
Speaking of fear, there are those who are doubtful that Destiny will be a skill-based competitive experience. As someone who just walked into our studio and bested people who had been working on this game for years, what would you say to the doubters?
Brandon: That’s not how Destiny works.
On story missions, the goal is to find better and better gear to be able to take down the galaxy’s toughest foes. Multiplayer is still all about skill and teamwork, and while you may look badass wielding that exotic, it’s not going to allow you to mop the floor with no resistance.
Thanks for your wisdom. Enjoy your break as you’re forced to sit this week out. You've earned it. The playtest lab will be waiting for you next week.
“Thank you, for all your cards and letters,” goes an old saying. At Bungie, we prefer forum posts. They’re greener, and easier to sort. It is for this reason, and so many more, that we open the Sack.
Captain Scurvy How extensive is character customization going to be?
Deep enough to make you feel like a unique snowflake. Not so deep that you’ll need a database powered by a distributed network of cold fusion nanocomputers to manage it.
Ops mom I have a really technical question: Where do you guys get your coffee?
We’re attended to every morning, and some nights, by these delightfully helpful robots. There are those among us that think they understand our needs better than any truly sentient being. Oh, Coffee Robots! We love the way you love us.
IcarusXYZ Will we be allowed to make gameplay videos in Beta?
Sure. Go nuts. We love fan-created content. That hasn’t changed about Bungie at all. We want to hear your war stories from the frontier. Hurl yourselves into the wild, and let us know what you find there. If you tell your story well, it will be our pleasure to echo it.
Pentad Vortex You guys have talked about melee weapons, but is there going to be throwing knifes cause that would be awesome.
Someone didn’t watch their VGX.
Johnny700 Where can you fight other players?
There will be times for Guardians to be unified as a force for good, and there will be times for us to boil you down in a crucible and see which of you is in possession of skill that is pure.
Swamp Stomp What is cooler than being cool?
Humility: the act of having no idea just how cool you are.
More Console DeeJ, tell us more about the Ghost.
Rottayok DeeJ, can my Guardian hold their hand cannon sideways like a gangster?
I am not answering this question. I will, however, let you know it was met with howls of laughter when I read it aloud to my desk neighbors last night. Don’t you go changing, Rottayok. We like your style.
Disclaimer: This response is a promise of nothing.
CDWheeler93 Do you still have love for your Xbox community?
Yes. We’re making a great game for you to play, based on the same traditions of action and adventure that brought you to us in the first place.
ChuckieJ Why do you think Destiny PvP will work when it certainly has the possibility of being imbalanced due to weapon & armor & other choices?
Because I’ve played it. And because the Weekend Champion told me otherwise. That’s why.
Flash Am I too late?
Afraid so, friend. This Mail Sack is closed.
You’ll have another chance next week, though. On Bungie.net, anything is possible. Check in with us again soon. Between now and then, have yourself a weekend filled with its own epic adventures.