The highlight for many at this year's E3 was seeing more of Bungie's Destiny. We talked with writer and design director Joseph Staten about the studio's ambitious open-world shooter.
During the substantial interview we discussed a variety of topics, from the size of the huge open-world setting, to the various character classes players will be able to explore: "A lot of the base abilities are very similar," he stated. "It's really about tweaking and tuning at the high end to really customise what you like to do, but we want class, as much as possible, to be a really visceral, emotional choice."
Destiny will see a fusion of classic sci-fi themes and fantasy-inspired ideas. The result is space magic: "Space magic is kind of the silly phrase that we use for it, but the magic, the abilities in the game, are this really great, visceral, kinetic weapon that you have at your disposal. When you shoot the power of the Sun out of your hands it feels like the best thing ever..."
Staten then elaborated: "Space magic is awesome because it can do lots of different things... A lot of it is just offensive; throwing stuff at your enemies and melting them, but some stuff is going to be more helpful in a social experience too."
With the game launching across a variety of different platforms, it was important for Bungie to ensure that all players have the same experience with the game, even if the graphics are different from system to system: "The number one important thing about our design is no matter what platform you play it on, the design experience is the same. So the number of AI, the way they behave, the sandbox, all the weapons, the public events; whether you're playing on Playstation 3 or Xbox One or PS4, it's going to feel the same."
Bungie are renowned for their enemy AI thanks to the work they did in Halo: "We've always prided ourselves on really fun, clever sandbox AI, so this is not a scripted game," Staten told us. "So you're going to go in there, into an encounter, and the AIs always going to be different. They're going to play differently, depending on what you do."
The man from Bungie also took time to tease us about a feature that the studio isn't ready to talk about in too much detail just yet: "The way that you choose activities in this world is really special, and at the very top level you're going to be able to say "oh ok, well if I choose that, that's going to be really hard for me, but it's probably going to give me a lot more loot, so what do I wanna do? That's going to be hard if I do it by myself, but if get a couple of guys together that are my friends, or maybe even more than that, we could tackle that thing and probably earn something really special.""
"So again, it's all about clear choices at the very front-end of these activities, and then making sure when you're playing through, every once in a while you get tempted by something that's a little bit outside your comfort zone, that maybe you might want to choose to do later."
One thing's for certain, we can't wait to get our hands on Destiny when it launches next year.