Destiny Interview: ‘We Wanted To Make Something That Was Actually A Game Set For All Moods’

Bungie’s senior environment artist Jason Sussman on Destiny’s design inspirations, PS4/Xbox One development, possible PC version and almost everything under the hood.

Destiny is Bungie’s most ambitious game ever. The recently concluded alpha and beta of the online multiplayer first-person shooter was only a taste of things to come. There is a lot we don’t know about the game and Bungie are doing well to keep it a well guarded secret. GamingBolt got the opportunity to speak to the game’s senior environment artist, Jason Sussman, to know more about the game. Check out his response below.

Leonid Melikhov: One of the coolest things that I found about Destiny is that you guys are using real world environments. Different planets have different raw materials,  for example Venus has sulfuric acid and so on. What kind of research have you guys to accurately simulate that in the game?

Jason Sussman: We did a lot of different research looking at different planets. Even for Earth we did a lot of reference for different areas and we took some of that research and that’s kind of the foundation of the game and then we broaden that to kind of this mythic science fiction. We wanted to make everything a-bit more fantastic, so we just put our flare on it. When the travelers came things changed so we wanted to be able to show that in a lot of different ways, but still grounding it in kind of a reality for those destinations.

Leonid Melikhov: Will Destiny have micro-transactions in the game? Will the game allow to pick up all the weapons or upgrades via grinding? How are you balancing it?

Jason Sussman: So currently there are no micro-transactions, everything is in-game. As you play the game, you’re finding different equipment thats coming out of different enemies or treasure chests or even within the tower you will receive different rewards that you’re rewarded within the game. It’s all built within the game.

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The spaces that we’re building are some of the largest we’ve ever built within the studio. They’re really large with a lot of places to explore and even people within the studio keep finding nooks and crannies to explore.

Leonid Melikhov: Destiny takes place in these wide open worlds. How are you making sure that players are encouraged to explore them?

Jason Sussman: Oh! in a lot of different ways. #1 The spaces that we’re building are some of the largest we’ve ever built within the studio. They’re really large with a lot of places to explore and even people within the studio keep finding nooks and crannies to explore. Within those spaces there are public events that happen and there is even rare events that happen within those spaces.

There is always something new and fresh happening and we’re keeping those spaces alive with seamlessly having players pass through the spaces that you gonna encounter as you’re playing. All these destinations are very open on how you get around, you don’t always have to enter a space the-same way. There are a lot of activities that cross through the same spaces, so there is just a lot to find and see.

Leonid Melikhov: How many planets can we expect at launch? Can you please name them out?

Jason Sussman: What I can announce is that there is going to be Earth, there is going be Venus and there is going to be Mars and of course the Tower which is on Earth as well. That is what we’re talking about currently.

Leonid Melikhov: And beyond that.. expansion packs, will the content be added in the patch free or will that be something you buy?

Jason Sussman: We’re not necessarily talking about that, but what I can say is that it is a 10-year project and we’re definitely looking forward for the future.

Leonid Melikhov: 10 years is a very long time.

Jason Sussman: Oh yeah, we’re definitely looking to keep growing the franchise, but we’re not really going into any details on that.

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[On a potential PC version] But honestly we’ve been so focused on delivering the game on four consoles and it’s such an undertaking. It’s the most inclusive thing that the Bungie has been working on. We’ll see what the future holds, but for right now we’re focused on these four consoles.

Leonid Melikhov: Can you tell us the player cap in PVP?

Jason Sussman: Right now we’re doing 6v6 and we’re still balancing some things out. We’ve worked really hard in trying to figure out what the right number was for multiplayer and after a period we determined that 6v6 is just right for the kind of game we’re making. And there will be 3v3 and Free-for-All.

Leonid Melikhov: For multiplayer modes we’ve had Control which is where you kill enemies and capture points. Will there by anything like just pure deathmatch or snipers only? Something not similar to Halo, but sort of mods list where you put on certain conditions for that particular multiplayer type. Are you guys doing anything like that for Destiny?

Jason Sussman: We haven’t really talked about any other plans. We absolutely want to broaden the multiplayer and we have things ready to go.

Leonid Melikhov: So you guys have stuff planned but just not ready to talk about it?

Jason Sussman: Right, exactly.

Leonid Melikhov: Sounds good, I’ll take that as a yes.

Jason Sussman: Yes! (laughs)

Leonid Melikhov: Is Destiny going to run at 1080p/60fps on the PS4 and Xbox One?

Jason Sussman: It’s 1080p on PS4 and Xbox One at 30 FPS.

Leonid Melikhov: What about the PC version?

Jason Sussman: Wouldn’t that be awesome?! Dude, I honestly like playing PC games.

Leonid Melikhov: Seems like a PC-friendly game.

Jason Sussman: Absolutely, and my wife works for Valve, so I absolutely love PC games.

Leonid Melikhov: Oh really? So how’s Half Life 3 going on?

Jason Sussman: (laughs). But honestly we’ve been so focused on delivering the game on four consoles and it’s such an undertaking. It’s the most inclusive thing that the Bungie has been working on. We’ll see what the future holds, but for right now we’re focused on these four consoles.

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Each console has their own nuances, there is always like little tweaks and things. That’s standard, anytime you’re working cross-platforms there is a-lot of new nuances to each console and we’re making sure that the game looks best on all of them and it does, it looks really good.

Leonid Melikhov: Ok. Cause I know people been talking about a PC version.

Jason Sussman: It’s understandable, I hear them.

Leonid Melikhov: When you put the word MMO and FPS , it just screams PC as opposed to consoles because we’re not used to that. There are not that many MMOs that I know that are FPS on consoles. I don’t think there is any, barely any.

Jason Sussman: Destiny has these exploratory elements and these customization portions, but Destiny first and foremost is FPS boots underground. That’s what we deliver to the consoles owners and some of our fans and that’s what they know us for.

Leonid Melikhov: I wanted to ask you something specifically about the Xbox One Since we have not seen it in action, is it going to be dumbed down in anyway compared to the PS4 version?

Jason Sussman: No, we’re working really hard to make sure that the best experience and the quality of the game we’re trying to deliver is equal across the platforms.

Leonid Melikhov: Has the eSRAM caused any technical issues to develop on Xbox One?

Jason Sussman: Each console has their own nuances, there is always like little tweaks and things. That’s standard, anytime you’re working cross-platforms there is a-lot of new nuances to each console and we’re making sure that the game looks best on all of them and it does, it looks really good. I think we’ve succeeded, it definitely looks good.

Leonid Melikhov: So you didn’t have that much problems developing for either systems?

Jason Sussman: No, we didn’t, it’s fine.

Leonid Melikhov: Furthermore, how are the last versions of the game shaping up? They’re at the point you want them to be?

Jason Sussman: Oh yeah absolutely, we’ve been really pleased. Yeah and they’re getting better and the Alpha was a test of that and the Beta is gonna be another test of that. We’re always growing forward, we’re always going up and we’re trying to constantly to improve. I think in some ways it looks better than what people played in the Alpha.

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We wanted to make something that was actually a game set for all moods. Depending on what mood you are in, if you wanted to go in and just play by yourself you can do that.

Leonid Melikhov: Can you talk us about the different abilities and skill sets that each of the three classes will have in Destiny?

Jason Sussman: Okay. So you have the Titan, the Hunter and the Warlock and each one of them have a completely different grenade type. The Titan has stun grenade and he is in the mix of the fray, he is heavily armored and he can do his Fist of Havoc that decimates his enemies around him. Then you have the Hunter that has a grenade that spirals out and tracks to its enemies and it’s more of a stealth/stand back player. His melee is the knife and his special is the Golden Gun.

The Warlock is kind of like your high fantasty – like the Wizard type character. He has something what I call “Warlock High Five” you slam him with your force field that you have in your hand and vaporize your enemy and then his grenade pulses in place and does damage over time.

Leonid Melikhov: How many year’s its been in development?

Jason Sussman: I can’t remember the exact years, but it’s been years. We’ve been working it for 4 years officially, so all of that has been amazing. We’re just kind of seeing where we can broaden the foundation we already have.

Leonid Melikhov:  What made you want to make as a co-op game from the beginning, what was the inspiration for co-op?

Jason Sussman: It doesn’t have to be co-op, so you can play single player. We wanted to make something that was actually a game set for all moods. Depending on what mood you are in, if you wanted to go in and just play by yourself you can do that. If you want to go with your buddies you could do that. If you just want to do multplayer you can do. If you wanna do some really complex and challenging missions then you could do the Raid or Stride.

It’s not always co-op, it doesn’t have to be, you always see people in the world, but you don’t have to join them up with them if you didn’t want too, but we did make that seamless if you did want too. Too really answer the question. We did it that way because we wanted the world to feel alive, we wanted the world to feel like there is always something new happening to it and to do that is opening up to all people to just be able to come in and join along with you.

Leonid Melikhov: Any closing words about Destiny?

Jason Sussman: We’ve been waiting for this for so long and we’re glad that everyone gets a little bit of glimpse of this game we’ve been working on for so long.


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