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Bungie Weekly Update - 03/14/2014

This week at Bungie we…

We…

You know what? I’m not completely sure. I’ll be completely honest with you, weekly reader. Last night, I wrote these words in the window seat of an aeroplane. Again. Yeah, I know. And, it’s not the last - not by a damn sight.

Don’t worry. I’m not about to placate you with stories about airport security.

This week was an easy jaunt. Los Angeles was our Destination. By comparison to recent missions, this one felt like it was just on the other side of town. For as many times as we’ve welcomed Activision to our Tower to share our plans with them, they returned the favor. A small delegation of us rubbed elbows with a global invasion army that’s priming themselves for a mighty strike.

Outside my personal portal, the world lumbers by at hundreds of miles an hour, a breakneck pace that’s betrayed by our smooth sailing at 30,000 feet. Tiny points of light pockmark the surface of our unobliterated, well-populated civilization, like so many stars in a galaxy of would-be heroes. They remind me that you’re down there, wondering what the hell Bungie is up to now.

Right now, I share in your curiosity. Bungie’s had me on so many strategic errands lately, I’m as hungry as you are for that minute-to-minute flavor in the studio. I’ll get caught up on the prettiest (and most hideous) gems of the world of Destiny soon enough. 

We’re hosting another team meeting to close out this week. The projection screen will descend from its perch in the ceiling, and the pictures will fly through the air. The beer fridge will burst with its frothy bounty. Our kitchen island will bristle with edible loot like the scene of freshly conquered Strike.

I’ve missed a few of these of late, so I’m giddy for this one. We time these meetings with development milestones, so there will be a newer and even more improved version of our game to play. Once the vivid parade of dogs and ponies has passed, I’m gonna pick up a controller and play some Destiny. Might even take my work home with me. I need that.



This week, we invited you to play a game. It was similar to the same game we play almost every week. We invite you to ask us a question. We answer the ones that won’t diffuse the bomb we’re coding for your mind.

This was the pitch: “Our mission is to bring you along on this journey without spoiling yours.”

You see, while our journey is to build a world, your journey will be to discover its secrets. The explorers of old never read about strange coasts on blogs. Their sense of adventure wouldn't allow for such anticlimaxes – never mind the fact that blogs didn’t exist back then. This is about venturing into the wild with nothing but your own cunning as your guide.

We need explorers to play this game. Don’t see your question answered below? Perfect! You’re ready for launch. Pack those curiosities into your cargo, right next to your helmet and your favorite weapon.

Let’s open the Sack.


antarmy1  Have you ever been asked a question twice?

Are you kidding? You should read through the next Mail Sack before I make it disappear. This one was full of questions that began with phrases like “I asked this question last week, and I didn’t get an answer.” 

We file those questions alphabetically under “Cannot take a hint.” It’s the folder between “Because we said so.” and “DeeJ’s favorite trolls.”

Gazzatronz  I have a question but it is not about Destiny.

Then ask it! You can’t just be vague about stuff and leave us all hanging. I’ve been told at great length that’s not polite.

MikeZ90Z  Will Armor have a skill tree similar to guns in Destiny; i.e. the longer you wear it, the better it becomes?

Just about everything in Destiny can be upgraded. If you can wield it, wear it, ride it, or deploy it, you can also make it bigger, faster, bolder, stronger, or just more badass looking in general. In the case of your armor, you’ll need to do more than just wear it. Unlike your favorite jeans, your armor won’t just get better with age. You’ll need to invest in it. You’ll need to fight and scrounge your way toward becoming a legend. You’ll need to love it a little. Don’t worry. It’s fun work.

burritosenior  The Tower is a 3rd person view hub area to socialize in with other Guardians. Will we be able to see our character's face there, or is the plan to aim for the 'Master Chief' approach where 'we are the hero?'

Next week, Bungie dev Tom Sanocki will be at the GDC talking to a closed room about the magic he’s conjuring behind your helmet. With the time and talent that we’ve invested in enabling you to put a face on your Guardian, it would be an awful shame if no one else got to look upon it.

All talk of faces aside, make no mistake, in Destiny you are every bit the hero.

Lord Revan  What is the wildest reaction to the game that stems from the early public play-testing?

A few weeks ago, we shared the interpretative sketch that was provided by a recent tester. That emotional response to our game obviously holds a special place in our hearts.

What we’re finding as we abduct people from the streets to play our game is that it’s fun. “Well of course it’s fun,” you think, but that’s no easy feat. There are a thousand tiny details that make something fun, and the numbers on our User Research scorecards are starting to tell us that we’re narrowing in on them.

We’ll be interested in what you have say about it when you play the Beta.

Doody Bound  So the community took forge mode from halo 3 and turned it into something completely unexpected with forge art. Are there any aspects of this game where you think the community will take it beyond the original intent?

We’re certainly hoping so. The Bungie Community has always surprised us with their creativity – especially when it comes to using our games to create experiences even we hadn’t imagined. When you come together in the public spaces of Destiny, we’ll be watching. Our studies of your behavior will inform the way that our game engine will evolve over time.

Falkus  Will there be Guardian profiles on BNet? 

Oh, yes. And so much more. If you download the Bungie Mobile app, your Guardian will be your companion wherever life finds you.

RiverNiall1  How open is the game?

You’ll choose your own path. If you want to leave no stone unturned in search of relics from the Golden Age that will add to your power, you can do that. If you want to blaze a trail that is the shortest distance between points of explosive action, you can do that, too. You’re going to find that there will be many decisions for you to make as you play this game, and that many people will tell very different war stories from their time away from the Tower.

Zenwrath  Will there be opportunities to play with the awesome family of Bungie for example raids?

Tell you what, when the first of you beats our raid (good luck), we’ll make a big deal about it. There will be one catch. Your victory will not count until you can reproduce it with me and Luke along for the ride to witness your bravery, first hand.

Larsa 83  How will the matchmaking work in Destiny competitive multiplayer? For example, some first time gamers playing multiplayer in Destiny and are matched against, say a clan of very skilled players that knows every corner of the map and wins easy. That would ruin my multiplayer experience if I get into a game like that. I like close games where every kill counts and all players are somewhat equal in their skill level.

If you like those moments when you get to tie the leader, you’re in luck. Bungie likes a good, close match, too. Don’t take it from me. Listen to Design Lead Lars Bakken tell you about his work.

“We agree that the best matches are the ones that are the closest. With that in mind, we match players in Destiny based on their performance. Not every game will be neck and neck (as human players have a tendency to get better over time and can have random spiky games), but we’re going to do our best to match you with other players of a similar skill.”

Admiral Quint  How are you guys able to troll your fanbase but yet we're still able to love you guys?

We’re not trolling. We’re keeping you pure for your wedding night.

You can tell the difference, if even only subconsciously. We don’t deprive you of information because we like to see you frustrated. We keep you in the dark so that you’ll reach for the light when it dawns on you. You can tell that we love you, too.

CourteousMakis  On a Bungie note: What are the chances of me, an almost graduated student who loves programming, getting an interview with your lovely company? Which job should an avid programmer apply for?

The asteroid field you seek to successfully navigate is here. We’ll never tell you the odds.

mi pie  What do you think the staff of Bungie spend more time doing: Playing Destiny? Or making the game have more exotic uncertainties we have yet to encounter?

Just like playing our game with a persistent character, one activity serves the other. We’re not going to just slap this thing together and release into the wild, not knowing what it is. The designers play their own game every day. The decisions they make are born in their own battles.

DustInTheWind  Will there be a noticeable dichotomy between PvE gear and PvP gear or will gear bonuses not be specifically beneficial to either mode of destruction?

Look at you with your big words and your book learnin’.

When you look upon a Guardian, you’ll be able to judge the book that tells their story by its cover. Their gear will be signposts for the missions they’ve completed. You’ll know if they are warriors of the arena, or journeyman from the wild. Their very appearance will tell tales of their finest moments as weapons of light.

With that last question, we emerge on the other side of the minefield. Take stock of your lingering curiosities. Add them to your manifest. They can be your guide as you take your first steps into our game. We’ll take another dash through next week.

Until then, look to the skies for our comings and goings.
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