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Destiny: The Taken King - Bungie on the new raid, PS4 exclusivity and more

That's no Moon. It's Phobos.


The identity of The Taken King, Destiny's next major expansion, may have leaked before E3, but that doesn't mean there aren't many questions to ask. Where does it take place? What are the new enemies? And, most importantly, what's included in the new raid?

We grabbed Bungie programmer Luke Timmins at E3 to find out more.

VG247: Does the quest for Oryx’s head involve the new raid?

Luke Timmins: I don’t really want to spoil any of the story. I can say that there is a new raid, a six-man raid, and we’re super-excited about it. It’s on the Dreadnought, as is the campaign. The whole story is about The Taken King and trying to stop him, but I don’t want to make any premature announcements about who you’re fighting and when.

There is a second part to that question. What themes can we expect from the new raid? Vault of Glass, for example, was team-based puzzle-solving, while Crota’s End was more run-and-gun.

Yeah, so we’re not going to reveal more details on the raid until closer to launch, but we are very excited about it. The raids are a bit of a gamble when we’re building them. When we were building the Vault of Glass, we didn’t know how popular it was going to be, if it would just be something Luke Smith, our game director, would play with five of his friends, or if it was something people were going to get really into.

Of course we thought they were a good idea, but we didn’t fantasise that they’d be as successful as they are, or that people would play them this much, or that this many people would get to experience the raids. We’re really happy with how popular it’s become, and we know how important it is to the game. We want to deliver.

Are the same teams allocated to different elements of Destiny, such as raids, strikes, and so on, or are they made by different groups?

There are some shared resources across teams, and then there are some teams that have separate resources that are autonomous. The raid is the same team.

So the same team built both the Vault and Crota’s End?

Right. They often have a different vision. Like, they were trying to do something different with Crota’s End, and I think we’re going to try to do something different again with the next raid. We try something different each time. You know, people don’t just repeat the Vault of Glass.

"When we were building the Vault of Glass, we didn’t know how popular it was going to be. We’re really happy with how popular it’s become, and we know how important [raids are] to the game. We want to deliver."

I don’t know… [laugh]

That’s because it’s still fun to play, and they’re trying to get the Mythoclast. And they’re trying to test their skills with their friends. And that’s awesome.

It looks as though the expansion takes place on Earth’s Moon, but there’s a lot of destruction going on. Can we expect some kind of cataclysmic event along the lines of the WoW expansion?

The expansion actually doesn’t take place on the Earth’s Moon. The first mission you’re going to play is called The Coming War, and it takes place on Phobos, which is Mars’ moon. You can actually see Phobos in the sky-box when you’re playing on Mars, and now you get to go there. That’s where the new campaign kicks off. But the new destination in The Taken King is the Dreadnought. The Taken King is this ancient Hive lord who’s come to this system on a mission of revenge, to get back at those guardians who defeated his son, Crota, and he’s brought with him a Taken army.

This is his evil castle. It’s an ancient ship that’s filled with loot, and you’re going to have to find it, board it and stop him. That’s the new destination that people are really going to sink their teeth into in The Taken King this fall.

Oryx appears to have assembled an army of Cabal and Fallen. Could you please explain something the new enemies?

The Taken are combatants taken from this dimension from each of the races. They’re twisted, corrupted and changed, and they’re given new powers by Oryx before being sent back to this dimension. They’re under his control. They’re his army now. In the mission we have playable at E3, The Coming War, there are three new Taken units. You have the Taken Psion, which now has the ability to split. So you’ll see one Psion and you’ll be like, “How many are there?” You can’t just fight them as you fought them before. They’re enhanced and they have new behaviours.

Then there’s the Taken Knight, which teleports and also has a wall of flame. And then there’s the Taken Phalanx, which has a shield that can push, that has a radiating force, and it forces you, the player, to be really mindful of your surroundings. With the previous Phalanx, you just come along and shoot him in the foot then hit him in the face, and you learn the game pretty quickly. The combat cycle that you have, one on one, you versus the AI, is brand new now.

Next question. I’m really disappointed that I can’t pretend to be Omnigul as the Warlock. When you said there was going to be an arc ability for the Warlock, I was really hoping it was going to be the arc missiles the Wizards fire. That isn’t a question at all. I’m just expressing my disappointment to you. I can’t pretend to be Omnigul.

In your head you could pretend to be Omnigul.

That’s true.

The Stormcaller is my favourite new subclass because of the power fantasy of lording around the battlefield and just barbecuing dudes with your powers. There are interesting talents that allow you to chain lightning between enemies and do additional damage, and there’s one right down the talent tree that allows you to do a horizontal dodge and teleport. You pop around the field. So you’re floating around the battlefield, barbecuing, teleporting in and out, and it just feels incredible. That’s better than Omnigul any day.

Yeah, that does sound good. I’m not disappointed any more.

I’m glad I could help.

House of Wolves introduced the Sidearm and the Scorch Cannon. Can we expect new weapons and tools from The Taken King?

We’re not making any announcements right now, but there’s going to be new gear, new guns and absolutely stuff that you’re going to get really excited about.

Can you outline the PlayStation-exclusive content? Adam Boyes said there’d be new gear, a new multiplayer map and a “bad-ass co-op Strike”.

I believe all that’s exclusive through September 2016.

Destiny: The Taken King launches on September 15.

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