Would you watch an animated series about Destiny bounty hunters before the Fall? Would you play a game where you have to balance Destiny guns? On episode 78 of Kotaku Splitscreen, we answer all these questions.
During last week's show, we reached into the mailbag and took out some questions from listeners, including this great one about what Kirk and I would do if we were in charge of Bungie. Here's a transcription of our answer.
Note: This conversation has been lightly edited.
Hey guys. Love the show, big fan of the site, et cetera, all that good stuff.
So let's say Pete Parsons also steps down from Bungie, and the CEO position is now filled by Jason Schreier and Kirk Hamilton. (Congrats!)
Your first week, you're each charged with concepting ideas for the following:
- A secondary Destiny console game (NOT Destiny 2, though genre choice is up to you)
- A Destiny mobile game/non-companion "mobile experience"
- The first steps into the Destiny "expanded universe" (animation, novels, comics, whatever you choose)
What do you pitch to the team?
Jason Schreier: First of all, if we were offered the CEO position at Bungie, I do not think that we would accept it for many reasons.
Kirk Hamilton: So part of the fantasy of this letter needs to be that you're offered the position and you've accepted it, because we did. We just did.
Jason: And there wasn't immediately a staff revolt.
Kirk: Right, everybody at Bungie didn't immediately just run us out on a rail.
Jason: So all that said...
Kirk: One thing I think would be cool, is the Destiny expanded universe. I feel like right now there is a novel about Dredgen Yor, right? It has been documented in full on Kotaku dot com, the story of Dredgen Yor, and The Last Word... [pausing to look up names]
Jason: If I were the CEO of [Bungie], I would publish a book or story of some sort that's like the behind the scenes development of Destiny.
Kirk: If you were CEO, you would do an exposé on Bungie?
Jason: Yeah, because then press sneak fucks like Jason Schreier wouldn't be able to tell people what they have heard about it, because we would be totally transparent and tell our own story. I've always believed that everyone would benefit if video game studios were more transparent about what went down.
Kirk: [Finishes looking up lore names.] OK, so it's Jaren Ward and Shin Malphur. Shin Malphur is the young man whose mentor, Jaren Ward, was killed by Dredgen Yor... So that already exists. There is already a extended Destiny universe. If you view it as something that exists outside of the story of the games — [if] the games are the main canon, then the grimoire cards are the expanded universe. So there already are these stories and characters. There's a template for this. This stuff is actually pretty cool, a lot of it — these stories of the fall of the cities and the fall in general, after the Traveller arrived.
So I would think you could do a really cool animated series about either a group of non-Guardian bounty hunters going around, maybe during or after the Fall, [set farther] in the past than the games. And also you could do a really cool story about people after the Traveller has arrived, that whole golden age when they were building everything, it'd make for a cool graphic novel or something.
And for a secondary Destiny console game, I'm gonna throw this out there because I just thought of it right now, it'd be pretty cool to play a golden era management city-building sort of game.
Jason: Building the Tower.
Kirk: Yeah, or building everything on Earth and throughout the solar system.
Jason: Like colonising all the different things.
Kirk: You're developing new technology because this alien presence has arrived, and every so often you get new stuff.
Jason: Maybe you have to defend your colonies from alien invasions.
Kirk: Right, though the Darkness hasn't shown up yet, so they'd need some new enemies.
Jason: Whatever that means.
Kirk: (laughs) It's just the bad guys. They're the Darkness.
Jason: My idea for a secondary console game is an exploration game that's basically only puzzle-platforming, no shooting. Sort of like raids, you go into places like the Vault of Glass, and maybe under all the different planets there are different raid-like mazes you can explore. And it's you by yourself, so it's got this Shadow of the Colossus vibe, you're just exploring and going around and solving mysteries and doing puzzles.
Kirk: That could be cool. What about a game where you play as a Ghost?
Jason: (laughs) And you have to help out some ungrateful fucker.
Kirk: Who's constantly dying in shitty ways or wiping on bosses and you have to rez them every time.
Jason: What about a game where you have to play as a Bungie staffer who has to balance the weapons in PVP, and every time you make a weapon change, everybody complains at you. You have to make everybody happy with all these [sliding] bars.
Kirk: This would totally be the meta browser game that somebody would make, where you just have to select from options: Nerf pulse rifles or buff auto-rifles? And then each time you do it you get a new email, like a Papers, Please kind of game. You get an after-action report: "Well, 7000 people have left angry comments, but the pulse rifle fans seem happy." That would be good. That would be a really funny game.
Jason: And there's no way to win — no matter what, everybody's unhappy.
Kirk: It just goes forever. People get angrier and angrier and angrier, and the only way to win is by launching a sequel and completely resetting everything. And then you just do it again and it never ends.
Kirk: [Oryx's lore] was this really long, epic story of transformation and ascension to godhood, it was really wild. I remember thinking, who the fuck wrote this, what in the world? So they have got the raw materials.
Jason: That's another game idea: What if you play as Oryx and you have to smack players with your hand and fight off raid groups. What if you get to play as all the raid bosses, you have to play as Crota and then the player will try to pull the LAN cable and you have to get him before he does?
Kirk: Oh man, it'd be like a Dungeon Keeper type of game, except it's a Destiny raid and they're cheesing you.
Jason: I think this conversation is evidence that video game ideas mean nothing and that execution is everything. Because I think we've already come up with like four game ideas that would be fun to play, but executing them would be a multi-year, miserable process.