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AusGamers Destiny Developer Interview Video With David "DeeJ" Dague
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 09:52am 29/04/14 | Comments
AusGamers was invited out to Seattle, WA to Bungie's HQ for time with Destiny and the team. Below is our chat with community manager DeeJ. Read on or watch for what he had to say...

Watch the full video interview with DeeJ embedded above, or click here for a direct link

AusGamers: Ladies and gents, welcome back to AusGamers -- another wonderful interview for 2014. I’m out at Bungie. I don’t need to say any more than that really, except that I’ve got DeeJ with me. DeeJ: you were leading my Fireteam yesterday...

Yeah, that’s right, I played the game!

David “DeeJ” Dague: Played it well.

AusGamers: Thank you. Let’s start with, what this is [gestures to poster art].

DeeJ: This is a piece of concept art that shaped some of our early inspirations of the world of Destiny. This is a setting on The Moon. This is a lost settlement from the golden age of humanity -- a time of miracles; it was a time when mankind rushed out to the stars, we created moonbases, we had settlements, we had whole cities on Mars and Venus, but of course, as you’ve learnt, it didn’t last. The Darkness came, it had been hunting the Traveller for centuries, and a great battle was fought. Everything that we knew was laid to waste, but the Guardians rose up in the collapse of the golden age, shielded by the protective aura of the travellers, and rebuilt a city underneath.

So in playing Destiny, you as a Guardian of that last safe city, will venture back out into the stars to beautiful but destroyed places like this moon accelerator base, to reclaim all that we have lost, and battle the hostile aliens that have taken up residence in our rightful homes.

AusGamers: Now I’m a quick study, and I played around a little bit with the director yesterday, and I noticed that there are four spaces: Earth, The Moon, Mars, and somewhere else?

DeeJ: Venus.

AusGamers: Venus, right. So are they the four destinations that are coming out with the retail version?

DeeJ: Currently those are the four destinations that you will explore in the game. You did leave out The Tower. We didn’t take you there yesterday, but that will be a great social hub where Guardians can get together and socialise; they can strut their build, and they can have wonderful conversations that will hopefully lead them into the action together -- maybe they admire each other’s gear or a weapon, and say ‘where did you get that?’, and they’ll be able to have a great conversation like ‘oh, this? I got this on my favourite Strike. Ever been to Mars? We can go right now’.

As you know, we played through that Strike three times yesterday, and playing through these missions again and again and again, with different players, using different abilities, embodying different classes of guardians -- be you a hunter, a warlock, or a titan -- makes these experiences, we hope, very replayable. Because there is so many different variables that fill that Destiny sandbox with great action, and the more you change them out, or the more you customise yourself in different ways, makes the action always fresh and new, and hopefully makes the world of Destiny a place that you want to come back to again and again.

AusGamers: Now we did play that Strike three times yesterday, and I used a different class each time and had a lot of fun with it. I’m curious to know, internally, what the direction is toward making players feel like they’re not doing the same content over and over. You’ve said it yourself that it’s a sandbox, and the idea is that it’s always going to be something different, and Bungie has a reputation for some of the best AI in the business, but can you talk to me about the differentiators. What’s going to change every single time a player comes into… whether or not they’re doing a Strike again for the fifth time, or whether they’re doing a story mission?

DeeJ: Absolutely. I don’t want to give your viewers that impression that we’re sending you into Destiny to play the same thing over and over and over again, because that doesn’t really sound fun. We’ve got a huge world for you to explore. It’s a bigger world than we’ve ever created, and put into the hands of a gamer to go out and plunder and loot and seek out its secrets; see it during different times of day, under different tactical combat scenarios.

There are so many different ways to enjoy the action in those spaces. There are cooperative activities, there are story-driven activities, there are competitive activities, and there are end-game activities that I can’t talk about, because they are so shrouded in mystery that it’s a puzzle for you to solve. It’s you and a team of your friends, and we’re going to really challenge your problem-solving, your teamwork, your ability to work together.

There are so many different things to do in Destiny, so many different ways to approach the action. To shoot enemies in the face, or to wield the power of the Traveller as a weapon, that we think that fans will spend a lot of time in this world before they really feel like they’re duplicating the same experience.

When you mention a sandbox, I also want to say that, at Bungie, when we talk about a sandbox, we talk about creating a world, and then filling it up with a lot of fun things to do. We fill it with engaging aliens that are always fun to fight, we fill it up with mysteries for you to solve, deep story that involves vivid characters, lots of weapons, you got to see some of the vehicles, that’s what we mean by a sandbox game.

While Destiny is definitely an opportunity for you to roam around, and discover this world that we’ve created on your own or with your friends, we’re always going to give you a clear indication as to where you can go next, to jump back into the action.

AusGamers: Let’s talk player numbers for a minute. A Fireteam has three members of any class, it can be the same class or all different classes -- all that stuff is great. Multiple Fireteams can meet up in a public space and take on a public event, as far as my knowledge goes. Can you talk to me about how many players, at any given time… is it capped at the moment? And also, I know the answer that is going to come from this, but I’m going to ask it anyway: have you guys worked on a persistent number of players in a given server at any one time?

DeeJ: Ok, there’s a lot of questions there. The first thing we’ll jump on is your Fireteam. The Fireteam is the essential combat unit in Destiny. In a strike, it is three guardians -- you and two of your friends, or just you and two people that we will match-make you with -- that is for a very specific cooperative activity. You can, if you want to, go into Destiny as a lone wolf. You can be the strong, silent type -- you can explore the frontier all by yourself. There are certain activities, like the Strike we played, where we will match you up, or let you select your teammates.

Those Fireteams will scale for certain other activities and become larger combat units, but it will always start with three, and then scale up from there. In terms of a public event, there’s no technical limitation as if to say ‘we can only have fifty players in a public event’, but what we are going for, is creating an experience where there are enough Guardians in that space where the event feels exciting, but not so many guardians that you don’t feel as though you’re making a vital contribution to that event.

I think a good example of this is the way that we concluded our E3 demo, with the capital ship that spawns in and overflies the space, and three Fireteams converge, and you’ve got seven players duking it out against a fallen tank, and they’re working together to bring that thing down. You’re aware of every single guardian in the mix, and every single one of them is contributing vital gunfire or guardian abilities, and at the end of it, they’re all doing the victory dance around the destroyed vehicle.

So there was no tourist, there was no wallflower on the outskirts going ‘what am I supposed to do? They’re the ones taking care of everything.’, they really do have to team up together to overcome those incredible odds. And I know there was one more question at the end of that, but I forgot.

AusGamers: It was about how many players can populate a space, if it’s not a public event.

DeeJ: We’ve got a big team here on Destiny right now. This is a bigger world than we’ve ever created, and it’s full of more things to do than we’ve ever packed into a game. So there are hundreds of us making this game, and we’ll actually shut down operations of our studio for a day, and we will all test our game. It’s a very crucial thing for us to do. It teaches us about this world, and lets us understand these public events.

So there have been hundreds of us playing the game at the same time. Obviously, that does very little to inform us as to what it’s going to be like on day one, when many, many, many guardians invade this brave new world, which is why we need people to help us test this game. We need people to invade the Destiny beta, with all of their passion and thirst for action, and show us what this world feels like when it starts to support the weight of a living, breathing population of gamers for the last safe city on Earth.

AusGamers: I’m not sure if you can answer this one, but I heard a bunch of you guys yesterday lamenting that often you’re playing these characters, but you don’t get to hang on to them, which kind of negates the concept of attachment, and the looting aspect of the game. Obviously you’re going to do it anyway; like I said yesterday, I can’t help but loot.

So what I want to know is, from the beta, have you worked out whether players will be able to carry over their attachment from the beta to final game. Is that even something on the drawing board?

DeeJ: Obviously it’s something that I’m very aware of, that people want to do. Whether or not we can do that, is something that we’ll figure out later. We’ve heard the feedback, and we know what it’s like to create a Guardian, and to love that Guardian -- upgrade it, and give it new gear, and find new weapons, take it to school, polish it up, bring it back to The Tower and teach it some new ways to fight.

You do want to hang onto those things, and we are creating a persistent world where your character is something that you bring with you from activity to activity. So the things that I learnt in fighting the Cabal, I can use when I fight my very good friend over the Internet. As to whether or not that beta character is persistent through the launch, we’ll figure that out later.

When we lament the fact that we’re deleting our own characters, it’s because we’re always iterating on this game. So when a new build of Destiny comes out, the world has changed in ways that make my old Guardian obsolete. So we all take a screengrab, and we share them out in email, and we say goodbye. But then we have to jump back into our game -- I know it sounds like really hard work -- we have to jump back into our game, play the game some more, and understand how a new guardian interacts with the new sandbox, with the new progression systems that are coming online, and very quickly we find that we don’t miss the old Guardians.

But I want the would-be players of Destiny to know that when they create their guardian on day one of the launched title, that is the guardian that they will use to play Destiny, that is one of several guardians that they’ll use to play Destiny, and they should expect a long relationship with that character, who evolves and becomes more dangerous over time.

AusGamers: You’ve talked a little bit about [competitive] multiplayer, and it’s been teased during my visit here. Last time I was here, or the last time I saw any of you guys at E3 or Gamescom, it was a little bit of ‘we’ll talk about that when we’re ready’. But now you seem to be really, really ready to almost talk about it. Can you at least give us a player cap on that?

DeeJ: A player cap on that?

AusGamers: As in how many players in PvP.

DeeJ: PvP, competitive multiplayer, whatever you call it when guardians come together in a very separate activity and decide who is the toughest guy in The Tower is something that we are going to invite you to experience and to play at E3 -- that’s what I can tell you today.

In terms of how many people that experience involves, or how many people you have on your team, or how many people that you have to battle, these are all questions that we will answer at E3. I hate the word tease, I don’t like to tease; I really want to be the guy that tears your ticket, I don’t want to be the guy that whispers the ending of the movie as you go in, but I know that there are things you need to know before you play Destiny.

What’s exciting about this year, is that I’m going to stop telling people what Destiny is. We’re actually going to get to the point, and very soon, where people are playing Destiny, and then they tell us what it is. So E3 is a great opportunity for that, whether you’re in line playing at E3, or whether you’re watching the media that comes out of E3, it will be a great time for anybody that’s curious as to how guardians will battle each other -- for honour and bragging rights -- will come together.

AusGamers: Ok DeeJ, thank you so much for your time today. As I understand it, based on the way we ended our three Strikes yesterday, the Darkness will come at E3.

DeeJ: Or perhaps you will battle back the darkness, that’s the whole thing about the game. So be brave, and we’ll see how you do. We won’t tear you away from the ending of the strike next time, we’ll let you finish.

AusGamers: Alright. Guys you heard it here on AusGamers; DeeJ; Bungie; Stephen Farrelly: E3. Thank you very much.

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