Life Of An Exotic: The Return Of Destiny’s First Weapon

by Ben Reeves on Aug 05, 2016 at 09:00 AM

With Destiny’s newest expansion, Rise of Iron, Bungie is giving fans a shot of nostalgia in the form of an automatic rifle. The Khvostov was the first weapon players picked up when they started playing Destiny almost two years ago, and that classic rifle will soon return with a significant power boost as one of Destiny’s newest exotic weapons. We sat down with Bungie’s art director Shiek Wang and lead designer Ryan Paradis as they explained the Khvostov’s trajectory back into relevance.

An Exotic Two Years In The Making
Bungie didn’t think much of the Khvostov when they originally created it. It was the first weapon players used, so it served a purpose in helping provide players with a positive early experience, but it was quickly followed by a thousand more powerful weapons with a host of more useful perks.

“I think it was very much like, ‘Hey, we need an old weapon that speaks to European design language, pick this reference, use it, make it look broken.’ And then we moved on to designing other things,” says art director Shiek Wang.

However, as Destiny’s fanbase grew and the expansions ticked by, Bungie noticed a growing love for the first weapon players ever fired. Bungie took note of people in the community asking them to bring the weapon back. Several players even admitted to keeping the weapon tucked safely away in their vault even though it had outlived its usefulness long ago.

“We really wanted to pay homage to that,” says lead designer Ryan Paradis. “Let’s tug at the heartstrings a little bit. Let’s give this gun a little bit more fiction and purpose. It’s one of the true military weapons we have in the game that really feels like an assault rifle, so it was kind of neat for us to bring that back.”

One of the ways Bungie is playing up that nostalgia is by reintroducing the gun through a quest chain that takes players back though the early areas of the game.

Above: Learn how Bungie is turning the Khovstov into one of the most interesting exotic weapons in Destiny: Rise of Iron.

Picking Up The Khvostov Again
Players will be able to pick up the quest to earn the new exotic Khvostov 7G-0X in several different ways. Similar to how players discovered last year’s Sleeper Simulant, players will periodically find Khvostov weapon parts as they explore Rise of Iron’s new Plaguelands zone. These weapon parts will be randomly hidden in chests or be random rewards for participating in the Archon's Forge battle arena.

Players only need to find one of these weapon parts, but when they turn it in to one of Rise of Iron’s new quest givers it will kick off a chain of events that eventually has players completing a new mission to retrieve the upgraded Khvostov. Alternatively, players can acquire Khvostov weapon parts by scrapping their original Khvostov, assuming they’ve hung onto one these last two years.

“We devised that mission to take you back through those original spaces,” says Paradis. “Sure, you’ve seen them a lot since then, but you haven’t gotten Ghost’s perspectives on it. So he’s talking about the time he found you and ‘Remember when we were first here?’ The Khvostov was the everyman’s gun and we still want it to be the everyman’s gun. We want this to be your exotic and really tell the story of the guardian and how far you’ve come.”

Old Gun, New Tricks
After Bungie had decided to bring back the Khvostov, they debated a bit on how much they should actually change the weapon, but ultimately settled on altering very little. Aside from a new coat of polish, the exotic Khvostov doesn’t look much different from its original incarnation.

“We gave it a brand new barrel and made it look really new,” says Wang. “We thought it would be fun to actually swap out the scope, because if you remember the scope was broken. But we also thought it would be fun to have the original one, which is the broken scope that everyone identifies with. So there is a brand new scope and the old scope, and we have those as two different perks. If you want the old scope to be really OG, you can have that, but then the rest of the body looks brand new.”

Breaking Down The Khvostov's Perks


  • Classic Scope – The original Khvostov scope. Optimized for range and stability
  • Modernized Scope – Grants additional zoom and target acquisition
Firing Mode
  • Automatic – Sets firing behavior to fully automatic 
  • Burst Fire – Sets firing behavior to burst
  • Semi Auto – Sets firing behavior to semi-automatic with higher muzzle velocity
Frame Options
  • Hammer forged – Improved range and accuracy
  • Rifled Barrel – Increased range; Slower reload
  • Braced Frame – Increased stability; Reduced magazine size
  • Extended Mag – A larger magazine
  • Counterbalance – This weapon has increased stability
  • Rangefinder – Aiming this weapon increases its effective range
  • 450 RPM – Sets firing behavior to 450 RPM. Grants bonus range    
  • 900 RPM – Sets firing behavior to 900 RPM. Grants bonus stability
  • The final column on the right represents the gun’s ornaments. This feature is new to Rise of Iron. We don’t know much about the Khvostov’s ornaments at this point, but we do know that once players find the requisite items to activate the ornament that they will be able to change the way the gun looks. Players will also be freely able to switch between these ornaments after they’ve been unlocked.

Many of the new Khvostov’s other perks continue to play around with the idea that it can be an assault rifle that fits every player’s tastes. The Khvostov 7G-0X is primarily an auto rifle, but its first perk column allows players to switch to auto, burst, or semi-automatic fire modes. All of the Khvostov’s perk columns allow for choices like this. For example, another column allows players to set the gun’s rate of fire at either 450 or 900 RPM. We estimate there are more than 100 different configurations for this exotic. In addition to all this, the Khvostov is a lightweight weapon, meaning it will automatically give players a +2 boost to their agility.

“Most players don’t gravitate towards auto-rifles, so one of the cool features is that node selection for firing,” says Paradis. “That’s the first time we’ve really fiddled with that, but it kind of makes it a gun for all occasions. We really thought about what the first Khvostov meant to players and tried to reinforce that in this gun. We want you to make this a gun that you’re going to use throughout Destiny. I mean, sure, you’re going to replace it, but this was your first love and it’s going to be another love for you.”

For more on Destiny: Rise of Iron, including interviews with the team, a deeper dive into Bungie’s raid philosophy, and a video interview with the writing team, check back in on our Destiny cover hub throughout the month by clicking on the banner below.