Feature

The Places Of Destiny

by Bryan Vore on Dec 20, 2013 at 05:00 AM

Bungie art director Christopher Barrett broke down the enemies of Destiny for us earlier this week and now he's back to go in depth on the various locations you'll visit around the solar system.

The Moon

Barrett: The moon is interesting because we’re able to show the remains of very familiar human space exploration --  the first base that humans created after the Traveler came. You get this great visual that you’ve seen in a lot of movies about an abandoned space station and you’ve got old astronaut suits laying in the regolith. It’s a little bit darker tone. It’s a little bit of a mysterious tone on the surface in regards to the lost humanity. You get to play with all of the fun architecture of a space base.

And then what’s cool is beneath that is this crazy kingdom of aliens that’s being created. Why are the Hive here? I think because it’s close to Earth. It’s a place that is easy for them to create their base to start launching some kind of attack on Earth. And it works well for their tendency of cratering, digging tunnels under moons or planets and creating empires. Just imagining all of these holes that you can go down into and tunnels that go to this vast space underneath I think is a really neat vibe to play with.

The cliffs are probably higher than they’d be on the real moon. Craters are more exaggerated. You also get the really iconic view of a much-too-big Earth in the skybox because it’s always cool to exaggerate that stuff. Just standing there on the moon looking at Earth is just a cool visual for sure. And it’s cracking. There are huge chunks of the moon peeling off into space inspired by Thundarr the Barbarian.

Earth

Barrett: The main goal of the Cosmodrome is to establish Earth as it once was. To show that something has changed. You see things that are relatable now but have changed or grown over so you really understand that it is our history. Visually, just making that connection that it’s not just any sci-fi world. It’s the juxtaposition of what could be a post-apocalyptic grim scene made beautiful with flowing grass. It's an old industrial area grown over by nature reclaiming civilization. It fills in some of the story initially for players. There’s a concept image of an old, rusted tank half buried with grass covered up over it and birds sitting on the barrel.

The main thing in the skybox is a colony ship and the massive wall. This is the place where humans were building ships to colonize the rest of the solar system. We’ve always said that was potentially the last one that never left Earth.

It's primarily Fallen enemies here. There are human ruins and it’s a perfect place for scavengers. The space pirates are here to pillage through old human relics and stuff like that. That’s a majority of what you’ll experience there. That’s the first race we introduce.

I think over the span of Destiny we’ll be going to a lot of different places. The feel we want to establish is that Earth is hostile and you can’t just freely roam around. Earth is a great place because it has every possible type of environment you can use so I’m sure we’ll explore many interesting places.

[Next page: Learn more about the Tower, Mars, and Venus]

The Tower

Barrett: This is the place where the heroes of the world go back to after their adventures. It is trying to capture the feeling of Earth’s Camelot where the knights come back to. Not everybody is up there. It’s mostly for Guardians. This feels like something humanity built to protect Earth. A watchtower mixed with a home.

You’ll have different vendors where you can browse bits of gear or new weapons or turn in some of the things you found. There are different districts in there that you’ll be able to visit that have different themes. The plaza is the meeting grounds where everybody first lands. Then you have offshoots with areas for the different classes to go to. The ideal is every time you’re done adventuring you come back here and kick up your boots and sell your stuff and hang out.

I think we thought of the human futuristic aesthetic being contemporary inspiration plus some number of years, like ten to 50 years of advancement. It’s all very recognizable elements. For example, ships might feel like jet fighters or planes, but they’ll be more futuristic. There is some Japanese influence on some of the vehicles and it also comes into some of the architecture. But I think above all we wanted to make it feel hopeful and bright. When you come back to the gleaming white castle made of stone and covered with vines.

It's futuristic materials designed by an architect, but then it’s been lived in for many many years so there are things that they’ve brought in and pushed into the corner. There are tiles that are broken that add history to that. We don’t want to make it sterile at all. We want to make it feel lived in and have history. There's a place where some battle once happened on the edge of the tower that they’ve patched up and repaired.

Mars

Barrett: The driving thing here is massive red sand dunes and a buried city. A city that humans built is now buried up to the 30th floor in sand and you can crawl in the window and venture down into the depths of that skyscraper to find old relics and creatures that are now inhabiting it.

The Cabal are one of the major races there that have gone and built big war bases. It’s sort of their main place of operation. They have huge tracks running through the sand where their huge vehicles have plowed through and they’ve excavated it.

Venus

Barrett: Venus is similar in that we wanted to create a human city. It’s more of a research outpost than a civilian skyscraper kind of place. It was a scientific center, but now it’s covered in jungle and vines and that kind of thing. The vibe is sulfurous clouds and lightning in the air and volcanoes that are still active mixed with jungle and oceans.

The feeling of the city falling away into the ocean is the other element that we wanted to play with. And there's a huge tower that the Vex have built that is looming in the skybox. It’s like a Jenga tower basically times a thousand. It’s these random block geometric shapes that are arranged organically.

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