The Enemies Of Destiny

by Bryan Vore on Dec 16, 2013 at 08:00 AM

With the Covenant and the Flood in Halo, Bungie knows a thing or two about creating iconic enemies. Art director Christopher Barrett told us all about the four new alien foes that players will be gunning down in Destiny in terms of background, looks, architecture, and more.

The Fallen

Barrett: The feeling we wanted to get across with them is they’re space pirates, basically. They’re these vicious race of guys who act like a pirate crew. They might mutiny or there’s a captain who might lead them on a particular ship. We wanted a race that could show up anywhere. They didn’t need some big base or installation. You find them around a corner and they were scavenging for loot or whatnot.

We wanted to give this idea that they were this once proud and noble race with these great houses, but now they’ve fallen. And that’s where they get their name. Now they’re scattered to the winds and have their own pirate ships, but they still wear the banners and flags of their once great house. Maybe someday the houses will reunite. There are a lot of fun ideas we can play with there.

They have four arms, which is unique to them. We actually went back and forth a few times on the four arms thing. We weren’t sure how it was exactly going to work. People were worried that it would look like that guy from Mortal Kombat [Goro -- Ed.]. They have pieces of body armor, but then they’re pirates so it’s torn and tattered. They’re like the bounty hunters of the solar system. They have cloaks and pieces of armor. Playing up the four arms idea, they’re a little bit spidery I guess.

Because they’re sort of nomadic you see them mostly in their ships. [They’re inspired by] Maschinen Krieger [Kow] Yokoyama style of mechs and vehicles. It’s kit bashed pieces of armor. It’s almost like a weird rusted futuristic submarine kind of style. We may someday come across a bigger Fallen space.

The Cabal

Barrett: We knew for a space sci-fi kind of game we needed the big, huge, militaristic empire kind of theme. They definitely fit that. They have huge capital chips and giant tanks. Their bodies are huge, their armor is huge, and their guns are huge. So they might just go and take over a planet by force, just kind of roll over it. They definitely are coming to the solar system and setting up these bases and trying to take over by force.

We definitely wanted big, heavy space marine kind of look so that’s why you have the heavy armor, almost an animalistic feel to their armor designs. When they take off their helmet they’re big lumbering space rhinos. They come from a warm, humid climate so they have to keep wet inside their suits. They’re basically big beasts. We joked for a while about lining the inside of their spaceships with troughs so they were like horses. We wanted their ships to be basically space barns. I don’t know if you’ll find hay on the ground, but you want that feel. I don’t know if we’re actually going to end up doing that.

They’re gruff but they’re really ordered as well. They have a hierarchical military order to them. It’s sort of that back and forth of the beasts that are really gruff and aggressive mixed with that kind of order is kind of a cool thing to play with.

[Their structures are] massive, metal, and industrial. There will be black smoke pouring out of them. There will be oil streaking down the sides of the facades -- these monolithic industrial military structures.

[Next page: Read about The Vex and The Hive]

The Vex

Barrett: The fantasy of them that we wanted to play was these endless waves of metal armies marching at you. They aren’t entirely machines. They have some organic part to them as well. They’re a little bit of a mixture of robots and creatures. We wanted to make them with tails and long, claw-like fingers, not your typical sci-fi robot or android. We didn’t want to go that route.

They’re creating armies. They’re creating these big warp gates around the solar system. They can potentially bring in armies from elsewhere. They might time travel or come from another distant time. Where they came from or when they came from is inscrutable. They’re not shiny, brand new, right off of the assembly line. They’re made of almost something that feels like hammered brass or something that could be thousands of years old. But that mixed with the robotic design of them gives you that [feel] of ancient robots.

Their weakspot is not their head like many of the other characters. It’s in their abdomen. It’s a glowing white energy core. And when you shoot it, it just explodes this glowing liquid. [Remember] in Halo the grunt birthday party skull? When you shoot a grunt there’s this spray of confetti and this noise like, “Yay!” That’s absolutely what inspired the way you kill Vex.

We wanted with them to create architecture that wasn’t logical in some way. Like you don’t understand why they’re making it. I think that’s the crux of why we did that. It’s inscrutable in some way. Whether it’s some routine they’re running or some ceremonial thing they’re doing or if they’re just doing it because they have always done it.

You’ll come across [everything from] small pillars of stone to massive towering citadels. The architecture that they build is almost like stone anthills. They’re building in an organic fashion. There are corridors inside them where it’s almost imperceivable what’s up and what’s down. You don’t go in there and see staircases and railings and the coffee machine. They’re very much alien.

The Hive

Barrett: Think space zombies. They’re the most fantasy-inspired race. We’ve imagined them as this ancient alien race that’s kept themselves alive by some magical means for millennia. They just float through the solar system on these big, sarcophagus-looking ships. It’s really playing up the feeling of zombies and fantasy undead. It also plays with the feeling of royalty, like they might have kings or they might have knights.

Their main units are a mixture of organic and inorganic so they’re not clothed like a lot of units. You’re not sure if the armor is organic or if it’s ceremonial armor that they put on a million years ago and it’s sort of grown into their skin. An organic shell that’s sort of grown in a way that almost resembles knights’ armor. You’ll see their dry, mummy-like flesh exposed. And then when you shoot them they’ll burst into dust and embers.

Imagine when you look at pictures of shipwrecks underwater and they’re just kind of covered with barnacles and they look like they’ve eroded because they’ve been there for a long time. We want to make their ships feel like that. Basically spaceships that feel like they’ve been covered in space barnacles or whatever and have been eroded because they’ve been moving like shipwrecks for millennia.

It’s much more darker, gothic inspired. But still alien and sci-fi at the same time. We’re trying to mix those two, but they’ll have what might typically feel like a dungeon or more ceremonial throne room-like spaces or dark corridors filled with webbing.

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