During my time working with Bungie, I was able to work on their Beyond Light expansion. I assisted in converting familiar, existing gameplay activities to work with Bungie’s newest tech. After a few months, I was selected from my original team to work with the team owning creation of the main story campaign. Here, I owned the development from start to finish of two endgame story missions and later moved onto assisting targeted development of important story content. This included working on the introductory mission to the expansion and late game encounters meant to show off the the new Player combat ability, Stasis.
The first of the two endgame missions that I owned from conception to finish, this is my favorite out of all the Destiny content I worked on. Early on, I collaborated with environment art, narrative, and tech design to achieve the goals we set for this mission. In particular, we wanted to make a mission that was fun and dynamic on repeat playthroughs with objectives that could be sped through quicker by skilled players.
In particular, one objective requires players to hack 3 under-construction Fallen Brigs. This hack can be started on each brig individually, as long as a player remains in a close radius to the Fallen Brig. This enables skilled players to split up and hack all the Brigs simultaneously, while newer players can stick together and hack each Brig one at a time.
Additionally, I really wanted to convey an ‘out with the old and in with the new’ moment in the boss fight, as one of the old enemies, the Spider Tank, is rarely seen on Europa. I pitched a bait and switch moment where the players would fight a Spider Tank for a bit and then a giant Fallen Brig would drop down on the Spider Tank, destroying it. After creating an early prototype, I showed it to some senior technical designers and we polished the prototype, ensuring that the moment would still work even across several players networking.
The second of the two endgame missions that I owned from conception to finish, we realized early on that we wanted this mission to introduce the new Boss for the epilogue, Kridis. Additionally, since this is the first story mission in the Fallen City we wanted to convey the chaos the Vex invasion had on the city.
Collaborating with Narrative, we wanted to convey both the story of Vex invading the Fallen City as well as friendly Fallen evacuating the city and Kridis. To achieve this, I made the first objective relate to the Vex and, as the player progresses through the mission, change the combatants from Vex to Fallen.
Additionally, the environment artist for the space created an expansive open area with a pit that most player classes could jump over. I wanted to make an objective that encouraged players to take risks and jump over the pit, so I created an objective that forces players to move around. This way, careful players can take their time but skilled players can take advantage of their abilities to move around the space quickly.
Late in development, leadership wanted to spend some time focusing on the quality of the introductory mission in the game. This mission is free to all players, so it’s important that it is impressive to convince players to purchase the expansion. Unlike the endgame missions, this content had a lot of eyes on it and I collaborated directly with the Creative Director and Lead Designer on this mission.
In particular, we wanted the Fallen Brig moment to stand out as an epic moment and tough fight. We worked on several iterations of this to make sure the fight was fair but challenging. Additionally, we implemented the storm system into the mission to make it feel more dynamic.
These Stasis Aspect encounters were also specifically requested by upper leadership, as we wanted more Stasis-specific combat opportunities. This re-used the original Stasis acquisition system to buff the player and then spawn several high difficulty enemies.
The main challenge of these two encounters was balancing high difficulty without making the combat too difficult. By controlling spawn rates and combat areas, I was able to ensure that AI don’t overwhelm skilled players, while still offering a challenge.
Although I only worked on this Strike for a month, it was a fun challenge to adapt an old Destiny 1 mission to fit the modern standards of Destiny 2. This required understanding what makes the Destiny 1 strike good, but also recognizing how the gameplay has changed from game to game.
In particular, enemies in Destiny 2 are weaker but more numerous than in Destiny 1 to fulfill the player’s power fantasy. I increased the rate at which enemies spawned throughout the strike, while also using enemies that had more health than usual.
Additionally, I pitched improving one of the unclear strike objectives that involved throwing a grenade down a hole into making the hole a regular destructible that can be shot and destroyed.