There’s a lot right with Destiny. It’s a punchy, great feeling shooter with probably my favourite melee animation in the history of gaming. There is also a lot bad with it, and that usually boils down to the disappointing, near non-existent narrative that the game only flirts with from time to time. Bungie at one point touted the story alongside the likes of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, but the end product came nowhere near. And now it seems we finally know why.
Bungie and Activision have been caught up in a long court case with former Halo and Destiny composer Marty O’Donnell, who filed against the two for termination without cause. One result of that court case has been some juicy details being documented in court filings, one of which deals with an incident that occurred in August 2013. Just a single month before the expected launch, Bungie decided to rework the story entirely – leading to the year-long delay that the game suffered from.
It was also, curiously, a month before Destiny’s lead writer left Bungie – supposedly unhappy with the major changes being made to the presumably much more coherent tale the game was meant to have. The delay eventually resulted in most of Destiny’s story being side-lined to the dreadful Grimore app, forcing curious players to sort though text outside the game for lore that wasn’t even worth the effort.
What’s still confusing is the why. If Destiny had a geared up story to tell, why was it changed at the last possible moment to strip it of any sense of personality? It’s a question that might have answers rooted in the fragmented, DLC-focused nature of the game, but even breaking the story up makes little to no sense. Destiny’s lack of narrative identity has been the topic of many debates, with most agreeing that it really missed a fine opportunity with its potentially gripping lore.
The Taken King launches next week, and my brief time with it already showed it explored more narrative themes than the first few hours with the core game. But at this point, story seems like the last hook Bungie is trying to hook fans with. Not the wrong move, but still a slightly disappointing one.
Last Updated: September 8, 2015