There isn’t much to do in Destiny if you’ve finished the story. Hardcore players may have run the same levels a hundred times over by now. But, they could be getting a look at the awaited expansions.
On Sept. 28, a video was posted on YouTube that purports to show upcoming content for Destiny. If this is a hoax, the production values are quite nice. What makes the story believable is how currently threadbare Destiny is, both in terms of the story and the number of missions/Strikes.
Destiny players are waiting for anything that will explain the huge holes in the narrative, and to let them mix up the Strike playlists that are currently only drawing from six different 20-minute levels ad nauseum.
On-disc DLC is a contentious topic at best among gamers. While it makes sense to deliver expansion content via the disc instead of via downloads that are at the mercy of internet connections, popular sentiment is that players are entitled to any data that’s present on the disc when they make their purchase.
While the above video, if it’s real, doesn’t prove anything other than the existence of some UI elements, the scaffolding for at least one of the new Strikes—the Jovian Complex—was discovered during the Destiny beta in July.
Another area on Earth called King’s Watch, which is not present on the current list of content purportedly revealed by the bug, was also accessed in July by beta testers.
Glitching under, over, or through parts of a level is not uncommon. Glitching underneath the Roundhouse multiplayer map in Call of Duty: World at War happened so often that it ruined the map for competitive play.
It’s perfectly normal that Bungie would build areas of maps into the game even if it didn’t plan to use them immediately. For example, over the past two weeks some doors in the Tower that were closed when the game was released have opened, revealing a wide area where an emissary for the Queen of the Reef was doling out quest rewards.
Just as important as more physical space to play in is more story content to explain what the hell is going on in Destiny. Characters are introduced in brief, poorly written cutscenes before disappearing from the story. There’s an artificial intelligence named Rasputin that players discover early in a mission on Earth who is then mentioned as taking over computer systems on Mars toward the end of the game. Players have no idea what’s going on there.
A mysterious Stranger appears in multiple cutscenes and makes an unceremonious exit at the end of the game, with nary a clue as to who she is and where she fits into the narrative. Also, who is the Queen of the Reed and how did she get where she is? These sorts of gaping plot holes are all over Destiny, and speculation has it that the departure of the lead writer on the project is responsible.
Joseph Staten, design director on Destiny, announced his departure from Bungie in September 2013. A design director has weight and creative vision that may touch every aspect of a video game’s development, and this was only a year before the game was released. Rumors abound that the story in Destiny went through some radical changes in the year since Staten’s departure.
Bungie is a developer known for its storytelling. The haphazard way the story is told in Destiny suggests either a slipshod development process, or last-minute reshuffling in the face of an impending release date. This being Bungie, the former is practically unthinkable. Occam’s Razor suggests the latter, and it would explain an awful lot.
It is also not without precedent. It is generally understood that the ending of Mass Effect 3, one of the most polarizing video games in recent years, was the result of a writer leaving developer BioWare. The departure of Drew Karpyshyn, the lead writer on Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, may have left BioWare no choice but to devise an entirely new ending.
And there are scenes in Mass Effect 2 that can only be explained in reference to the original ending of the game. Similar narrative holes are all over Destiny.