Destiny: The Taken King (opens in new tab) creative director Luke Smith had an unlikely source of inspiration for the changes brought on by the latest Destiny expansion: his two four-year-old nieces. Smith told GamesRadar+ during one of our recent “How It’s Done” streams (opens in new tab) that making the game more clear and understandable was a major focus for The Taken King, and keeping his young extended family in mind helped him keep that philosophy throughout development.
While The Taken King was always going to have quests, reflecting on how his nieces would perceive such a major change so late in the game haunted Smith. “I had a moment in a meeting … We were talking about the quest log and talking about how to do it and how we would make it work and what the transition would be like for a player playing vanilla; what it would be like for that player to suddenly begin The Taken King and have all this quest stuff turned on. And I just was thinking about these two nieces and being like, ‘Oh my God, those kids would never understand it.'” Smith realized that, in order for his nieces to be engaged in an activity, the rules would need to be there from the start – not something new that they’d suddenly be forced to learn. As a result, Destiny’s previously released content was “questified” as well.
Thinking about his nieces helped transform the Light system as well. Operating under the same philosophy that prompted the team to go back and rework old content to be compatible with the new quest system, Bungie reworked Light to be something that started at level 1 and ran to level cap. Smith said he didn’t want players to feel like a rug had been pulled out from under them, that everything should be one, easy-to-learn system throughout the whole journey.
Smith went on to talk about far more changes and insight into The Taken King’s development during the stream. You can watch the whole archived video below, or skip to 30:27 if you just want to learn more about Destiny’s evolution.
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