Get to know the Devil Splicers better in Destiny: Rise of Iron

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Splicers (2)

Fallen aren’t exactly much of a threat in Destiny once you’ve got a few hours in and happen to wielding some Bad Juju on your side. Dregs fall like flies, Vandals can piss right off with that stealth cloak of theirs and even the mighty Captains of their race are no match for a taste of the ol’ exotic sword to the face technique.

They’ve been remixed in the past however to devastating effect. The Taken King amped up their danger level, creating Fallen variants who could pop shields or hurl orbs of dark matter at a player, creating a very different challenge to overcome. In Rise of Iron, the Fallen get another boost, specifically the house of Devils and their splicers who have been tinkering with SIVA to nano-augment themselves.

Rise of Iron marks the second time that an expansion has focused on the Fallen, after 2015’s House of Wolves, something that Bungie says fitted in perfectly with their story. “Story-wise, the Fallen fit,” senior designer Matt Findley said to Game Informer of the Devil Splicer threat.

Splicers (1)

The House of Devils are scavengers and each House is really trying to get better than the other and advance themselves. They’re also declining, being pushed into the corner of this new solar system. As scavengers, it makes a lot of sense for them to stumble on this. SIVA doesn’t have its own agenda or anything, but it is an aggressive nanite that allows its users to be transformed.

Some of the last instructions given to it were ‘Defend and Protect,’ so it’s got this aggressive, militaristic feel, and the Fallen themselves are like, ‘Oh, we want that, and we want to be stronger and better.’ The Fallen are also controlling it to be more aggressive.

This more aggressive form of Fallen is best reflected not just in their actions but their overall design as well. They’ve got a more angular look, focusing on a cybernetic marriage of machine and Eliksini to create a foe that is deadlier than ever. “Where you see a lot of the soft curves in the Fallen weapons, we now have a lot harsher curves,” Findley said.

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The projectiles themselves are flying faster. With some of the weapons, it’s like, ‘oh why shoot once when you can shoot three times!’ The way the weapons behave, they fire a lot faster, keeping these things in balance with the rest of the game, but just visually your experience should be that these weapons are more aggressive. Even in death, there’s aggression, so occasionally there is this seeking-ball-of-death that will come out of their heads when you kill them.

You’ll face a motley selection of them in Rise of Iron. Findley broke it down:

Dreg Splicers

Devil Splicers (3)

Dregs have peg legs. They run around faster. They throw a unique SIVA grenade which is a red ball of SIVA cloud explosion. If you kill them with a headshot they have the chance to spawn a deathseeker, which will slowly chase whoever killed them. We had that discussion a lot, a lot of ‘are we punishing the player?’

We like how it actually adds an element of ‘I have to keep aware, I’m no longer mindlessly plugging headshots into these guys.’ If I do a headshot, I’ve got to think about this for a second. They have the pistol and the shrapnel launcher, which are slightly different. The pistol is a little snappier, so instead of a straight line it sort of zig-zags back and forth, sometimes it makes it miss, sometimes it makes it hit when it should have missed.

Vandal Splicers

Devil Splicers (2)

The Vandals are quite visually distinct. They’ve got the big pyramid things on them, there’s not a lot of change to their geometry, but they do have a Berserk ability much like the Hive Knights. So they have the chance, when they’re at low-health, to regenerate a bunch of health and get super aggressive and run in as a melee attacker, and that fits with our aggression profile.

Weapon-wise they’ve got the shock rifle, which instead of being the slow, seeking projectile that the rest of the Fallen have, we’ve turned it into more of an aggressive machine gun. So it no longer seeks you but it fires faster. And then they have the wire rifle, and instead of being a single sniper shot we’ve turned that into a triple-tap burst. There is a slight spread on their burst so it’s possible for you to take a partial sniper hit instead of a full sniper hit.

Servitor Splicer

Devil Splicers (1)

The Servitor has a triple-tap shot as well, so instead of the single consistent shot that the Servitor used to do, this is more of a suppression role, and they’ll be firing a lot faster. It’s designed to keep you in cover. They have a lot more aggressive, artillery-suppression role. We wanted to make Servitors a little more interesting instead of just being this machine that sits back, like an anchor piece.

Now it’s something that’s integral to the fight of pushing the player around the space. Visually, they’ve added a bunch of Flash Gordon doo-dads on them, so they look a lot more angular.

Right now, I’m absolutely dreading to see what a Devil Splicer major looks like, considering that these guys have enough power to overwhelm Hive Ogres and steal their eyeballs, fashioning them into shock and awe rifles.

Last Updated: August 29, 2016

Darryn Bonthuys

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