You may be surprised by what Destiny’s post-apocalyptic landscapes represent

Wednesday, 18th June 2014 04:50 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Destiny takes place after the fall of humanity, when one lonely city holds out against the darkness crowding the solar system. But for Bungie, the shattered remains on the Earth’s surface aren’t supposed to communicate despair.


Destiny is about figuring out what went wrong, and retaking the Earth and beyond for humanity. Speaking to GamesBeat, senior environment artist Jason Sussman said that feeling is built into the very landscapes.

“They all embody our goal, which was to take reality and amplify that, make it more majestic. We wanted to build a hopeful world,” he said.

“Even though humanity has been lost – you’re trying to figure out what happened to humanity – we wanted to build that up.

“On Cosmo, for example, there’s a lot of abandoned buildings. A lot of things are kind of strewn apart. But the way we light it, the way we bring the colour saturation and time of day together — we focused on time of day in each of the destinations. Through the span from day to night, we never wanted it to look bleak. We wanted to give some vibrance to the worlds. We’ve done that across the board.”

Certainly the snowy landscape of the alpha environment was surprisingly colourful, at a time when we’ve all grown sued to “realistic” environments being grey, grey and more grey. Sussman said Bungie wanted to avoid “that rusted tone” common to post-apocalypse settings and make something “more vibrant and alive” – which having other players around helps with.

The art style of Destiny has some slight similarities to Halo – I’m not an expert, but I thought some of the enemy and weapon design rang a few bells – but although both games are sci-fi, they’re actually very different. Bungie didn’t plan this, but Destiny began as a high fantasy, swords-and-sorcery affair before the sci-fi angle crept in, so it ended up being visually distinct despite the genre match.

“We just wanted to make something unique and special, not only to the players, but to ourselves. We wanted to do something new, something bigger, something different in all the right ways, but still remaining true to our foundation,” Sussman said.

“We’re doing a lot of different technical things that we haven’t done before. We have cloth sim on the players. We’ve rewritten our engine from the ground up. This is not the engine we used in the past. Every system has been amplified, from animation to the way we’re lighting the environment. We’re tuning in to every aspect of each next-gen console as much as possible.”

The shattered world setting has narrative effects as well as differentiating the game form Halo.

“That just goes with the narrative. Humanity has been lost and you’re trying to figure out what happened all these years later. What is the Traveler? All this stuff. Each of these spaces, each destination, tells its own story in a way,” Sussman said.

“It may not be just destruction. It might be a degradation, like things are just falling apart. What was the last thing that people were doing here? You’re seeing some of those things within the environment as you play.

Sussman reiterated that Destiny runs at 30FPS at 1080p on both PS4 and Xbox One, but also said that it already looks better than the build showcased in the recent alpha.

“It’s already looking better. What people are seeing in alpha right now, we’ve already started improving on that,” he said.

“We’re actively testing the systems. We’re trying to push these new consoles as far as we can. We’ve pushed the 360 and the PS3 really far. We want to deliver, on all four consoles, the best possible experience.”

Destiny arrives on PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One in September.



  1. Catgirlmasterrace

    Destiny doesn’t have female monster enemies.. SEXIST GAME PLS SIGN THIS INTERNET PETITION THX

    #1 6 months ago
  2. wally10975

    @Catgirlmasterrace Jesus christ calm down. I doubt Bungie would even think about having to go out of there way when I bet making the game the best it can possibly be, rather than ensure an ALIEN RACE has a separate gender. Ever heard of asexual reproduction? No gender required…

    #2 6 months ago
  3. TheWulf


    In defence of Destiny (which I thought I would never do), how the hell do you know what gender they are? Humans tend to be oblivious, stupid creatures, and as such only those of us who’ve studied an animal species for a long period of time can begin to see the dimorphism. For example: 99 per cent of people can’t look at a dog and tell you what gender it is. (I can, but ONLY because I’m so familiar with dogs. I’ve volunteered aid a lot, as I generally find them to be superior company to other humans.)

    I dislike Destiny on the grounds that it’s a generic pile of tosh featuring shamefully stolen art assets from the likes of Warframe and Phantasy Star Online, which I don’t believe can be defended. Especially when those stolen assets give the game a haphazard look that doesn’t really mesh with anything else. One of the reasons I like games like PSO or Warframe is because they do have a unified aesthetic, whereas Destiny just feels like a grab bag from other games.

    Some of the more human armour, even, feels like Shepard’s hand-me-downs, considering the configuration of the lights and glowies, and how segmented it is over all. Some of it looks like it was ripped straight from ME2 and ME3, and then tinkered with a bit in order to make it look unique. That kind of aesthetic theft really gets under my skin, and it’s why I took an instant disliking to Destiny, as soon as I saw it.

    (Just look at how the bright, colourful, PSO CAST mecha armour clashes with the more monotone yet heavily detailed Warframe armour, and how that clashes with the Mass Effect armour.)

    But yes, as far as the monsters go, you can’t tell. You wouldn’t be able to tell. If you can genuinely tell two salamanders apart by gender, I’d be willing to listen to you. But you can’t. Our observational skills just aren’t that great. So as it is, that’s an entirely facetious complaint meant just to troll. :P Which ultimately leads me to…

    JM, is that you?

    #3 6 months ago
  4. TheWulf



    You do realise that he’s a healthy, normal, extroverted, straight, white, cis-gendered, small-minded, bigoted, and prejudiced guy just like you probably are given your defence, right? He’s trying (badly) to use irony to troll articles about how social equality has become an issue of late (all of those wuminz stealing his ice cream and whatnot).

    The fact that you fell for his low brow use of irony is… I don’t even. Just… how?

    #4 6 months ago
  5. Sylrissa

    I actually wouldn’t be surprised if that was JM’s next account, it would fit.

    #5 6 months ago
  6. polygem

    Bungies world design has always been pretty great, the skyboxes, the mood these areas capture. It´s a big part of what made the Halo franchise so good imo (That and a fantastic feel for firefights and pacing, for challenging but extremely well balanced combat that just never stops to be fun).

    From what i have seen from the alpha gameplay it definitley takes a lot from halo, also in the enemy design but it also looks unique and different enough.

    Halos enemy AI is smart. Playing these games on harder modes really gave you a challenge. Enemies didn´t just become bullet sponges and you became a bullet magnet instead (with less health), no the enemies started flanking, outplaying you. The skill bungie always had in that regard makes me very optimistic about the levelling process in a game like this. I think that it will feel right. I listened to their podcast. They have taken all this crazy seriously it seems. Gamers will benefit from that dedication.

    To me this shit looks glorious and i cannot wait to play it.

    It´s true what Sony recently said, they expect Destiny to become a huge system seller for them this year…it certainly works here, might pick one up this week already :D just to be prepared.

    #6 6 months ago
  7. CyberMarco

    @TheWulf “I generally find them to be superior company to other humans”

    I feel pity for you dude, seriously. You should ask for some help.

    #7 6 months ago
  8. YoungZer0


    Seriously. The way he talks about other people is just downright disgusting. It’s not even arrogance, he talks like someone who’s recording manifesto’s in his car.

    #8 6 months ago
  9. Gheritt White

    @CyberMarco: Tbh, I just feel sorry for the dogs.

    #9 6 months ago
  10. Anarky23

    @TheWulf Dude you sound like such a whiny emo. You’re basically going “All humans suck except for me, you’re a narrow-minded bigot just because you made a joke and I’m super edgy and stuff because I post all this pretentious crap on a frickin videogame article.”

    You are just annoying beyond all reason because you’re pretentious, whiny and make assumptions on people with little to go on.

    #10 6 months ago
  11. Armitage Shanks

    @9 Well he is a “furry” … now i feel realllllllllly sorry for his dogs…

    #11 6 months ago
  12. MontyOkeefe

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    #12 6 months ago

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