Bungie (Sorta) Explains Why Some Of Destiny’s DLC Is On The Disc

Bungie (Sorta) Explains Why Some Of Destiny’s DLC Is On The Disc

For weeks now, Destiny players have been glitching into walls and finding secrets that they weren’t meant to see. Buried in the game’s files are all sorts of hidden zones that you can’t access normally, some of which will be used for Destiny‘s upcoming downloadable content.

That’s right — Destiny has committed one of gaming’s cardinal sins: On-Disc DLC.

On-disc DLC — that is to say, content that’s on a game’s disc but is locked until you download more files and potentially pay more money — has become taboo in the video game world for a number of reasons. For one, there’s the whole psychological element — if you’re paying for a video game, you’d expect to be able to access everything that’s on the disc you bought. More importantly, the very idea of DLC being ready in time to ship alongside the main game would imply that the game’s developers cut out that content to be sold separately.

Of course, there are all sorts of possible factors in play here — there are scenarios where parts of a development team might start work on DLC while other members of the team are finishing up the main game, therefore allowing some early assets to ship with the disc. In this case, it’s clear that most of the unfinished zones aren’t quite fully baked yet, and there’s no clear evidence that Bungie cut out planned content just to sell it later.

Sill, just the words “on-disc DLC” are enough to make some gamers’ skin crawl. So Eurogamer asked Bungie president Harold Ryan about it:

I’m sure you sure the recent leaks with players able to see a lot of this planned content already in the game. Based on what you’ve told me, a lot of that doesn’t seem to be in The Dark Below.

Harold Ryan: There’s a bunch of shared-world content we’ve shipped on the disc specifically to limit download sizes for people. Both inside the US and all over the world, how much you download on your local home internet connection can be a problem, and even how much storage space it takes up on your console.

So we share a lot of assets across all the activities in the game. When people get into areas that aren’t unlocked right now, they’re seeing pieces we built and shipped ahead of time, but they’re by no means the finished experiences or even the finished content.

But when we can get into these areas already and see this content, there’s a feeling at the content is finished, cut and saved for DLC.

Harold Ryan: No. Eris and her story were built over the last three months, long after the game was done. For example for The Dark Below, that included the activities and the bosses and all of the polish of it.

Satisfying explanation? Irritating non-answer? You be the judge.


  • “we created heaps of cool content for players, but instead of shipping a full retail game our publisher wanted to bleed the most money from consumers.”

    • No thats not right. I glitched my way into one of these off limits areas following a guide and you can tell its almost like a placeholder. All the pieces are there, walls, rocks, surrounds etc but its not as detailed or as “clean” as the playable areas. And there are no enemies either. Feels like the four walls of a room but its yet to have the walls painted and the furniture brought in. I get his explenation. But still….I get why ppl would think it was a cut job for extra cash due to the lack of story in Destiny. It does feel like some major pieces of the puzzle are missing.

      • Don’t you know, when you don’t have the answer, the most cynical explanation is often the right one.

    • Yeah, I normally see people getting down voted for comments like this. Maybe I’m just old fashioned but this doesn’t seem right to me and the fact the gaming community is just accepting this as the ‘new norm’ concerns me.

      I have not bought any more DLC for games. I would personally rather if they released everything at once. By the time the last DLC pack comes out, (let’s use BF4 as an example) 90% of my friends who play have already moved onto other games. So I sit there with a DLC pack that might get played a few times if I am lucky. I can barely find other people playing these maps either. Happened with Gears of War series as well.

      Not touching it anymore.

      • yeah valid point and I agree with you. They say they wanted destiny to be a ten year game. if they are releasing DLC in 5 years from now for it I can guarantee there will be like 2 ppl playing it.

        only DLC i will consider is Mario Kart 8. The game was packed full of content and the DLC give heaps more. you dont need it to enjoy the original game and thats the way it should be. having said that its not like MK is story driven…..i guess destiny wasnt really story driven either haha.

        • They say they wanted destiny to be a ten year game.

          I want free content for life but it ain’t gonna happen. 🙂

        • It’s actually going to be a ten year series. I expect Destiny 2 will be out in a couple of years, and by the time the contract is up, there’ll probably be four or five games in the series.

  • I bought the special edition of Destiny so I don’t have to pay for the added DLC (well I kind of did). I honestly feel bad for anyone who has to pay for it though, the content in the DLC is pretty abysmal.

    I was honestly hoping that the DLC will ‘redeem’ the game. But it increasingly looks like it won’t.

  • I always wondered about on-disc content that’s not available for some reason. When you buy a game you’re buying a licence to play the game, but does that licence cover everything that’s on the disc or just what they’ve made available?

    • No your license does not give you the rights to everything on the disc, the disk basically has nothing to do with the license, you only have the right to access what you’re given. This is an old argument that got shit down heavily

      • If you go back to the cartridge days, some of this ebganes were so hard I never saw all of the content from lack of skill. Makes you wonder if anyone pulled the “I paid for the cartridge, I’m entitled to all of the content on it” argument back in the day. And back then, you couldn’t just watch it on YouTube or look up what you were missing. If you literally didn’t witness it while it was happening, you’d never see the content at the end of a game.

        • Back in those days you couldn’t even get a patch, if the game was broken it stayed broken forever, our current system may not be the most straight forward and occasionally be consumer unfriendly but I’d rather it the way it is

  • Remember the days when you could pay the standard edition price and have access to everything on the disk/cartridge on day 1?

    • Agreed. I don’t get this is being accepted in the gaming community. Done with paying for ‘DLC’.

    • Remember when you paid $100 for a game that took $1-5 million to make in like 3 years? Now most people refuse to pay more than $80 for games that take $100 million to make over 10 years.

      • Back when games only cost 7 figures the majority of the money was actually spent on the game itself rather than the biggest marketing blitz for the crappiest grindfest ever made

        • Right and the game itself cost nothing, the 100s of people working on the game got years and years worked for free. You know that marketing budget has yet to be fully spent right? It’s for the life time of the IP.

          • He’s not saying that, he’s suggesting that excessive advertising drives push up the cost by a sometimes ridiculous amount.

            So instead of the cost for the game/dlc needing to be enough to pay for the people who made the game it also needs to pay an advertising company who is adding nothing of real value for the consumer.

          • I’m surprised at the marketing / advertising done by the GTA franchise. You don’t REALLY need to announce it to the world it’s coming out. For 3 years previous you’ll generally find “GTA 6” rumours and sites will be up top of some of the searches. Especially the gaming community, we know what’s coming out and what is going to be good. I don’t think the high level of advertising is really that necessary.

          • hmmm thats like saying maccas lies to us because the big macs we buy dont match the one on the poster in store. all the ingredients are there so just shut up and eat it you fatty! 😉

    • I remember paying $129 for SNES games that were less than 5MB in size and pale in comparison to things released today. Back then we had a bunch of pixels and maybe a few digitised voice samples and a campaign you could finish in a few hours with (usually) no multiplayer, and we thought it was incredible. Nowadays games have full casts of celebrity actors and mind blowing graphics and dozen hour stories. The complexity and engagement of games now is staggering compared to just 15 years ago.

      It seems the better games get, the worse becomes the complaining.

    • Yes but those of us who are very late 20’s and older are being replaced by millions and millions of new young customers that don’t know better and worse “justify” their being nickle and dimed when informed about it like console kiddies who get defensive about their particular platform.

  • Some of the content? From what I’ve seen most of it is on disk.

    I’m still not sure how I feel about this game, as a guy who bought it at launch, it was lacking in content. You do the same things over and over. Once you finish Earth you don’t really see anything new content wise.

    Now these on disk dlc packs come out where pretty much all your downloading are asset spawn points because most of the areas are complete (Some were even shown at E3 or in pre-launch trailers!). And on top of that they are pretty expensive for how much new content they offer.

    • Most of it? Really? So you’ve seen the entire raid area, all character models and the voice acting? You’ve seen what the rest of us have seen a couple of 2D map nodes and a almost completely empty expanse of space, exaggerate harder.

      • Perhaps there is some content we haven’t seen in countless videos showing content well into next year’s planned dlc.

        Perhaps the minuscule content offered up is really all Bungie could manage to make in 5 years!

        Regardles there is plenty of reason to why people are upset with the content being offered up.

        If you dissagree that’s fine and well but people also have a right to be upset with the developer and (mostly) publisher just as you have a right to defend them (mind you, it’s not as simple as wanting the game to be cheaper as you have stated. I mean realy!). I’m actually finding the posts here in stark contrast to everywhere else. But that’s just an interesting side note.

        • If you take issue with the amount of content in the update that is a different issue to what is/isn’t on the disc, which is the issue people are taking up here.

  • “games should be next to free and the people making them should work for next to free to entertain me” – the comments above

    • You are starting to sound a lot like a paid shill – refusing to listen to valid arguments and trying to polish the biggest turd ever laid by the AAA gaming industry

      • I’m not defending Bungie specifically it’s this consumer entitlement that has cropped up around dlc and games that. People want to pay less to get more but then want to get their backs up when the losses need to be recuperated, learn how business works before you go around spouting crap.

        Also I love how you’re down voting me on facts up there, real mature, nice work.

        • When you actually provide facts and not propoganda then I will stop downvoting you because you are adding nothing but lies and deception to the discussion

          • Right so you think buying a game entitles you to all the content on the disk? Wrong, like it or not, its fact, it sucks, its still fact no matter how salty you want to be about it.

          • He’s not lying at all, but expressing his opinion. How is an opinion a lie? You both have a difference of opinon, which is fine, but doesn’t make either of you liars.

            BTW – people need to whinge less. Don’t buy it if you aren’t happy..

      • You miss the point where landscape modelers completed their work many months ago, and their work is in the game since well before alpha build.

        Then artists come in and pretty things up. Then mission/level designers/writers come in and do their thing. Then QA and balancing.

        All these things take months, if not years.

        TLDR: Of course there is some work on the disc that was completed long ago and was intended for dlc release. That is exactly how game development works.

        • That’s not how it should work. All content on disk needs to be available day 1 and DLC needs to actually be DOWNLOADABLE rather than already on the disk. It is DLc on ODc

          • lol your arguments are self delusion , you’d rather the content sit on a server for you to download an extra 100mb when the content releases rather than it be on the disk, either of which doesn’t change the fact its completed to the stage on release? Get over yourself.

          • So you would rather have the majority of the content on the disk be in small pieces which all cost $50 each after paying $60 for that disk in the first place?

          • The pieces are $26.95 each after paying $99.95 for the game. If you get the first two together it’s $39.95

            Changing the numbers doesn’t help your cause.

          • LOL this also coming from the guy complaining about having to download extra patches for Halo MCC, want it both ways do you? You want everything on the disk except what you don’t want on the disk?

          • Back in the days of the Expansion Pack, games like Command and Conquer used a lot of assets on the original disc so to speak. The Expansion Pack added new units, new missions but they didn’t radically change the game. Nobody called BS.

            DLC does the same thing and people are sharpening pitchforks and lighting torches.

            If you don’t like Destiny, don’t play it. If you don’t want the expansion packs don’t buy them. But I find it hard to get upset that they didn’t build an entirely new moon and force me to download it. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next planet they added was mostly on the disc.

            Now I think Destiny needed roughly twice the missions it has. I think the Expansion/DLC needs more missions and Strikes but I’m upset at the cost to content ratio not the fact that I’m still on the Moon going ever deeper into the Hellmouth.

            I like Destiny, I guess I’m not cool enough to hate it. I think it’s a bit sparse, I think the DLC is too expensive/sparse especially on XB1 where I don’t get a strike for a year. I’m fine with the PS3/4 getting some Guns, Ships and rare gear. It’s mostly cosmetic. I wouldn’t have too much of a problem with the Strikes being delayed a few months. But when your game is this Sparse holding back a Strike or two is very bad when it’s 25% of the strikes in the game. I have the limited Edition I have the first 2 Expansion packs already. But it’s going to be a tough sell in the future if they keep holding back a Strike every DLC.

        • Afukingmen.
          I for one am thankful they included this initial framework on the disk as it will mean smaller downloads and better integrated content when the rest of it is made and ready.

    • That’s a nice straw man you’ve got going there.

      EDIT: For what it’s worth, while I do have my issues with Destiny, I don’t believe in the slightest that the entire DLC is on the disc. They’re just placeholder areas.

  • “There’s a bunch of shared-world content we’ve shipped on the disc specifically to limit download sizes for people. Both inside the US and all over the world, how much you download on your local home internet connection can be a problem, and even how much storage space it takes up on your console”

    Something something digital copies something something…

    • Digital copies have the same content as the disc, because they have to go through the same certification process. Developers aren’t going to spend twice the certification cost (in the tens of thousands) to get two separate SKUs for physical and digital distributions.

  • Destiny has a lot of flaws and disappointments and I’ve panned it pretty hard for chopping out anything resembling RPG aspects or a story in favour of a competitive multiplayer with daily-quests focus…

    But the ‘DLC is complete, on the disc’ arguments bother me.

    It’s a lot like walking into a kitchen and telling the chef:
    “Why is it taking you so long to serve my dinner? I can SEE it’s finished!”
    “Uh… what?”
    Someone found the salad is already made, in the fridge! You’re holding out on me!”

    Y’all know the map is only PART of the game, right? And probably designed all at the same time as everything else for consistency and because, y’know, the map-designers needed something to do while everyone else was working on other stuff? Project management… maybe you’ve heard of it.

    • In some ways, I think it’s good that the areas are already there. It makes the world seem more cohesive when doorways, buildings, etc don’t just magically appear after you download the DLC.

      But I do think the DLC is expensive for what we’re getting.

      Not to mention that the arguments about download sizes and hard drive space are pretty weak, given the amount of digital purchases and mandatory installs on next gen consoles.

      • I also am not entirely impressed by the amount of content in the DLC, and its announcement has made me realize that the experience of ‘becoming Legend’ as I expected it, with a rich, deep, epic storyline, isn’t going to get patched in on the next couple DLC packs.

        What I expected of Destiny 1 is probably only going to turn up in Destiny 2.
        I’m very confident that a compelling narrative with strong, character-driven storytelling will be present at some point for the sequel. If only because I’m 99% sure it’s what cost them 2-3 points on all their review scores, and several million dollars of take-home pay.

        …I’m confident, but not certain. The only thing I’m certain of is that I’ll be watching and reading reviews very carefully before buying Destiny 2.

        • I was fairly indifferent about Destiny even though I enjoyed the beta, but I’m a sucker for collectables and ordered the Ghost edition (before I even had an Xbox One). As such, I have essentially already bought the DLC, but I’m not even sure if I’ll still be playing Destiny in a month. I’ve played it a lot, and while the core shooter mechanics are fun, the rest of the experience is quite hollow.

          The story is nonsensical, the missions are repetitive, and the loot system is unfriendly at best.
          I’m pretty sick of repeating the same few missions/bounties over and over, and at this point, I generally only hop on to do the raid with friends (because it’s so different from the rest of the game).

          If Destiny 2 turns out to be a similar experience, I don’t think I’ll bother.

  • Imagine an author, writing a book.

    They finish the bulk of the work, and send it off to their publisher. Their publisher is going to take some time to read it, get an editor to read over it and make notes, maybe get started on designing the cover. The author will be involved in that, but it’s not heavy, all-day work for them.

    So they come up with an idea for a novella – a prequel to the novel they’ve just written. They can go into a bit more detail about the backstory stuff they had to cut, and that character who everyone loves but has to die on page 76 can get some of the spotlight. They put that together in a couple of weeks – most of the story was already there in their heads, they just had to get it out. They send that over to their publisher, too.

    Their publisher has an idea: why not ship both books out at the same time? The editing process for the novella will take much less time, and the cover can work with some of the assets they’re creating for the novel, and it won’t take as long to print because it’s shorter, so they’ll probably be finished on about the same day. And if they put them on the same trucks, bookstores can have them both on the shelf at the same time – it’s a great way to get people to impulse-buy the novella and spend an extra 10 bucks. And maybe if you pre-order the book they’ll give you the novella as a bonus.

    And then, I don’t know, people on the internet complain that they should have gotten the novella for free, because it was already finished and in the same place.

  • To be fair, an argument can be made that Ahn Qiraj, the portal to BWL and mount hyjal mostly in its entirety bar npcs existed in WoW long before content existed to support them. If the skeleton exists on release to support what will later be actual fleshed out content then I don’t consider it to be a case of a developer withholding on disc DLC or whatever. Terrain is one of the most straight forward things to create once you have a concept in mind and a lot of these areas are basically that, the terrain, devoid of objects, ready to be used later. I am mostly ok with this practice as it does do all the things that bungie say it does, save space, bandwidth and so on. That said it is a fine line to be walking

    • Pretty much this. I clicked on the article hoping this didn’t seem too dodgy, and after viewing the vid of the person awkwardly finding their way into the DLC area I was reassured. The area looks like it could contain something epic in the future, but at the moment it’s just a big, boring, empty room.

  • Must be to cut down loading times when crossing that magic line. Be much easier to just wallpaper the place than render it fully right?

  • I don’t get the fuss. The 2 DLC packs were announced way before the release and are included with the some editions when purchased. So if they have planned that so far ahead, why are you surprised that the expansion foundation is on the disc?

    Now, if they had released the game and announced the DLC packs after and people then discovered those extra areas, by all means be pissed.

    I do think it is BS that the DLC only has 3 extra story missions. They should have added at least 10 or another planet. I would like to know the story more or I’ll just lose interest.

  • You can’t tell me that they seperated this stuff with thoughts on people’s internet and storage space. That’s a load of nonsense. Especially when you can get entire games that are digital. You can’t tell me a few missions and a raid and a strike are at size levels that are going to be a problem to the general gamers. We’re not stupid.

    • Its not your internet they’re worried about. Its theirs. Thousands of people downloading at the same time would cost a fortune in bandwidth and cause all kinds of issues for their servers due to excessive volume…

  • To me this seems like just some Bs excuse to justify their actions from the simple and most logical answer. We want more money for less work and this was the easiest way to go about it. All companies use whatever lowdown tactics they can to bleed as much money as possible from the consumer and I’m personally no longer purchasing any future Destiny games/content or any games that come with a paywall for pre-existing content.

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