Destiny’s cut storyline: Bungie insider claims ‘everything just fell apart’ in development

As the most hyped game of 2014, it was inevitable that Destiny would become one of the hottest talking points among gamers post-release. What probably wasn’t expected was some of the negativity surrounding the game, in particular toward the storyline which failed to impress critics and gamers alike.

In recent days, the debate has hit a new level in forums and social media circles across the web, with rumours that Destiny’s final storyline wasn’t exactly how things were supposed to play out. One of the biggest rumour sources is Reddit, where a user going by the handle Acer1096xxx shed more light on the hotly debated subject, suggesting that characters and factions were “gutted” from the story, possibly due to the departure of former lead writer, Joe Staten, during the development process.

There’s a great write-up on Reddit pointing to evidence over the past year or so that Destiny’s story underwent major revisions in the months leading up to release, including snippets from trailers and ViDocs that didn’t end up in the final game and hint toward much bigger plans. There’s even the suggestion that Grimoire Cards, which can be unlocked in-game and redeemed at in return for text-based back-story, were a last minute decision by the developer in an attempt to plod out the bare-bones narrative that launched with the game.

Now, an anonymous, alleged Bungie insider has stepped forward in response to criticism about Destiny’s narrative, stating that “everything just fell apart” when the lead writer left. Here’s a snippet of the text from the Reddit user, 404Architect. The rest of the thread can be read in full at NeoGAF. Besides painting a picture of a Bungie rocked by turmoil and disagreement, the insider states that a chunk of the storyline and dialogue which was cut was planned to be released as DLC, yet it’s already on the shipped disc.

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Of course, we don’t know whether this is really a Bungie insider or not, but if true, I wouldn’t be surprised if what 404Architect writes is entirely correct. Destiny’s jilting, messy story came as a surprise to me because it didn’t seem like work that writer Joe Staten, who left Bungie last year, would produce. Cinematics and storyline were what he loved doing and he did great work on those during the Halo days. Just look at how long and detailed Halo 2’s script is. Destiny’s final script is nowhere as thorough or cohesive.

Speaking of Halo 2, Destiny’s development sounds like a repeat of the tumultuous time Bungie had with Halo’s second chapter, except 10 times worse. You can see some of that in the behind-the-scenes document linked above.

The difference is Bungie came out of Halo 2 stronger than ever and with everyone still together. Coming out of Destiny, the developer is short of lead writer and cinematics director Joseph Staten and head composer/audio lead Martin O’Donnell – the story and music, the heart and soul of their games’ campaigns.

What I also find suspicious is the lack of behind-the-scenes ViDocs released in the months leading up to Destiny’s release, something that has become a tradition with past Bungie releases.

Has Destiny met your expectations? Would you like to see the story once planned for Destiny? Tell us how you feel about Destiny in the comments.