gdc 2013

How Bungie Built The World Of Destiny

by Ben Reeves on Mar 28, 2013 at 03:33 PM

Bungie admits that there is no secret to creating a brand new fictional universe from scratch. In order to create the world of Destiny, Bungie drew hundreds of pieces of concept art, argued about the team’s ideas in meetings, and scraped a lot of concepts and started over before they finally landed on a concept they loved. You can see examples of this concept art in the image gallery at the end of the story.

During an hour-long presentation at the Game Developers Conference, Bungie’s Joe Staten and Christopher Barrett talked about what the company went through to design Destiny’s sci-fi/fantasy setting. Here are a few of the fun facts and details the duo revealed.

  • Destinty started as a fantasy world. The team liked the idea of tapping into old myths and wanted to make a game featuring castles and horses and beasts with strange names…and giant frogs.
  • Bungie made more concept art for Destiny than it has for all of its other previous games combined. The art phase took over seven months.
  • One early concept art piece that really sparked the team’s imagination featured a space tiger.
  • While the game was still being designed as high fantasy, a large castle sat in the center of town. This was intended to be the game’s major hub. This concept evolved into the Traveler – the large sphere that can be seen in concept art today.
  • Bungie went though a hundred iterations of the Traveler’s space ship.
  • For inspiration, Bungie looked at Westerns as well as films like Stalker and Solaris. However, the team didn’t want to take themselves too seriously so they also looked at Terry Gilliam’s film Time Bandits.
  • Seventies artists like Peter Gric and John Harris were also very inspirational for the team.
  • Vampires and ghost influenced the creation of the Awoken character class, but there was once a fourth race that players could choose as well: The Tiger Man. This race was a group of noble beasts who were very wise and looked like werewolves, but they were eventually cut from the game.

For more on Destiny check out our feature on the game’s announcement. And check out this trailer about Destiny Character Development.