Bungie could improve on its development practices – here are five studios it can learn from.
Let’s face it – Bungie’s Destiny has seen better days. However, the game has seen issues since the first day of launch, culminating in the absurdly low amount of content offered by its expansions. The Taken King purports to fix all of this but there’s still a high amount of skepticism. And it doesn’t help that many of its current business practices haven’t exactly set the gaming world on fire. Thankfully there’s still plenty of time to fix some of the more disparaging development tactics that Bungie uses.
So, instead of criticizing Bungie for its work on Destiny, we look at five different developers that the studio could learn from. Whether it will actually do so remains to be seen but at the very least, there are some lessons that could be learned when Destiny 2 eventually happens.
CD Projekt RED
CD Projekt RED is perhaps one of the more celebrated developers this year thanks to the stellar open world RPG The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. From being forth-coming about changes in the graphics for the sake of stability to delivering on its promises for a wide open world, full of intriguing stories and quests, many believe the developer to have already earned Game of the Year.
However, the developer’s post-launch support has been phenomenal. Despite The Witcher 3 launching with its host of issues, it was still a highly playable and enjoyable experience. CD Projekt RED has launched patch after patch though to make it better. That’s to be expected, sure, but how about the free DLC that’s been releasing each week? From new quests and equipment to alternate costumes – not to mention giving away extra stuff to all players who pre-order the game – CD Projekt RED knows how to respect its audience.
Yes, it is somewhat hilarious to think that Bungie could learn anything from an Ubisoft studio. After all, this is the company that delivered not one but two of 2014’s most disappointing launches with Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed Unity. However, Ubisoft Massive is the key developer for Tom Clancy’s The Division and it’s working fairly hard to deliver a compelling experience.
More importantly, it’s delayed the MMORPG/shooter to ensure proper quality. The Division was thought to release in late 2014 but was delayed to Autumn 2015 and then to March 2016. Could Bungie have made a better game in Destiny with substantial delays? Perhaps not but it would have possibly had more time to reflect on some of its more questionable choices at launch, including no voice chat, the engram debacle, connection errors, etc.
Many may not have heard of the studio but Larian is responsible for the awesome Divinity: Original Sin. This isometric RPG offers up a tactical experience and meaty story that recognizes the weight of one’s choices throughout. Divinity: Original Sin will receive a Definitive Edition later this year and it contains a ton of new content.
Along with significantly reworked visuals (utilizing Direct X 11), the story has been reworked and improved with a new ending, all characters are now fully voiced, new game modes will be introduced and that’s not counting all the new builds, quests, local split-screen co-op, characters and content that will be introduced. What’s more, despite Divinity: Original Edition being a new release for the Xbox One and PS4, it will be a free deal for those who own the base game. It won’t even overwrite the same – you’ll essentially receive a brand new game for free.
Contrast this to Bungie/Activision charging $20 for a few emotes, shaders and some class items for Year One players of Destiny. The moral of the story? Offer those who have been with you since the beginning a hell of a lot more.
Activision and Blizzard work alongside each other rather than one being under the other and it shows in the latter’s games. World of Warcraft has tons of different micro-transactions outside of its monthly subscription but its key to look at what’s offered to those who subscribe monthly. New raids, new zones, new activities, tons of new story content – the list goes on. Again, you could say that Destiny’s “expansion” packs are a means of filling the void of no subscription but you’re still paying quite a bit and not receiving even a quarter of what WoW players get.
Even for games without monthly subscriptions like Diablo 3, Blizzard is doing a lot more. The upcoming patch 2.3 for the game will not only add a new zone and an item that allows you to equip abilities from Legendary weapons and armour, but the company also introduced features like Rifts, higher difficulties, Adventure Mode and much more. Diablo 3 didn’t have the smoothest launch but Blizzard did everything possible to fix the game including improving the RNG system, closing the Auction House and whatnot. It even allowed trading of items within your party. You’d think Bungie would have picked up on that part at least.
The Batman: Arkham Knight developer is under a ton of criticism these days alongside publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Even though it delivered a great experience on consoles, the PC port – handled by Iron Galaxy Studios – was a horrible mess. Low resolution assets, missing graphical features, horrible optimization, crashes, pathetic frame rate drops…the list goes on.
Within a day of release, Warner Bros. suspended sales of the PC version and offered refunds to consumers in order to fix the game. You could argue that Destiny players could have returned the game since they didn’t get what they expected (and Bungie mislead quite a number of people with its hype). And even if it had its issues at launch, they weren’t like the various glitches that rendered Arkham Knight unplayable on PC.
However, the decision to pull Arkham Knight from retail revealed that Warner Bros. was not happy with the result. Rather than trudge on, it wanted to make the effort to actually give players a game they would be proud of. A little more of that kind of behaviour from Bungie for Destiny – which still suffers numerous problems to this day – would be appreciated.
Which other studios could Bungie learn from in the development of Destiny? Let us know in the comments.