There’s no question at this point that Destiny as it currently exists has a strong audience. Aside from the anecdotal evidence of watching friends whose opinions I trust go back week after week, the game is about to get its third expansion, The Taken King. One of the big criticisms of the original, both from us and others, was the game’s story. It’s not even okay. It’s just bad, filled with lines that move from cliché into silliness. “I don’t have time to explain why I don’t have time to explain.”
It’s almost unsurprising, then, that the story we got was a heavy overhaul of one that already existed, according to documents coming out of the recent lawsuit between developer Bungie and longtime composer for the studio, Marty O’Donnell.
The game had been originally set to release in September 2013, but the story began major revisions in August 2013, forcing a new release date of March 2014 (which would be further delayed to September 2014), according to the documents. Interestingly, Bungie’s lead writer, Joseph Staten, had left just a month earlier. He was lead writer on much of the Halo series, and his departure was the first hint that something wasn’t quite right.
Few games have undergone as many revisions as Destiny. The game’s Ghost character, originally voiced by Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage, is now voiced by Uncharted lead Nolan North, with all of Dinklage’s lines re-acted. The original and confusing leveling system is being replaced completely with a more linear leveling system. Now we learn that a huge overhaul of an almost complete story was the reason for a year of delays. It’s hard not to wonder what we almost got. Was the story we almost saw somehow even worse? Was it too high-concept for Activision’s liking? It’s likely we’ll never find out the particulars, but at least now we know a little bit about what happened.
The Taken King expansion, meanwhile, releases on Sept. 15.