By Bungies’ own admission, “the number one thing players have been asking for is more content”. It’s something Christopher Barrett, Destiny (opens in new tab)’s creative director, told me when I got a chance to speak to him about ’the ten year plan’ – Activision’s famous launch promise, and the future of the game in general.
The request for more content has been a common one after what many perceived as a period without substantial updates. While we’ve had The Dark below, House of Wolves and The Taken King, for many regular players there’s not been enough new stuff to keep them busy. That’s something the upcoming Rise Of Iron (opens in new tab) expansion should hopeful rectify.
But it’s not like Bungie hasn’t been busy, as Barrett explains. “We’re always looking at the game, the current balance, each of the systems: trying to figure out what players are most excited by”. That’s actually seen plenty of new stuff over the last (almost) two years, just maybe not the content filled expansions players have been demanding. “We were introducing new systems. We were trying multiple things within the studio while also planning future releases,” he says. “We’re always rebalancing: what’s the right thing to deliver? Our goal is to release as much great content as we can”.
Some of the disquiet has been caused by the intermittent and variable nature of the updates that have been released. “The ideal thing is for us to come up with a consistent release schedule,” Barrett admits. “We’re trying to communicate that to players. Certainly with Rise of Iron we wanted to deliver what payers have been looking for, and I think you’ll see, coming in the following months, we’re going to be releasing more regular releases with additional events. We’ll be talking about that more and more, coming up”.
When I asked if the 10 year year plan was still the objective, Barrett answered “We’re focused right now on the current release, on Rise of Iron, but there are a lot of great stories to be told and there’s a lot stuff we want to do with the franchise. So, absolutely, we see a lot of potential for more adventures, more features”.
There’s also the question of how the ten year plan will affect the game overall. Will Destiny year nine be recognisable to year two players? “I hope it’s coherent. We want it to be,” was Barretts answer “We have some ideas where we want the world to go. But I think we’d be kidding ourselves if we knew what exactly what was going to happen nine years from now”.
Ultimately, as far as that long term plan goes, it’s down to what fans want. “We’re constantly looking at the current state of the game, what players enjoy, what’s working well, what’s not. I think we’ll constantly be evolving the game,” Barrett explains. Whatever happens it’s important to the studio to preserve the essential ‘Destiny-ness’ of everything. “I think at its core it’s a game about bringing players together to have fun in a world that’s inviting and exciting,” he says. “I think you’ll see that as a common thread no matter where we go”.