Destiny: The Taken King is a huge step forward for the franchise and the game experience itself, adding in new features and fixing a lot of the problems players have vocally criticized on the Internet over the past year. The Taken Kinghas also been lauded by critics and fans, and was the most downloaded game on day-one in PlayStation history.
To many who have already sunk dozens of hours into this new expansion, its success is not surprising. But what may be surprising is that Destiny: The Taken King was in development for much longer than most people realize.
In an interview with Kotaku, Creative Director Luke Smith said Destiny: The Taken King began its development even before the original game shipped. Smith, who led the design team that created the Vault of Glass, says he transitioned to work on The Taken King shortly after he wrapped up his work on Destiny’s first Raid, months before Destiny’s September 2014 launch.
Smith was not the first on the project either. In fact, many people had already started development on The Taken King, including Executive Producer Mark Noseworthy, who Smith says was “probably on the project the longest” out of everyone at Bungie.
However, Smith made it clear The Taken King has not been complete for a long time, nor was it something that got full attention at all times. After all, Bungie also had to develop and ship the previous two pieces of DLC and patch the game on a regular basis.
“The catch is, it’s not the duration of time we were on the project because even last summer when the core leadership team for [The Taken King] was talking about the project and what it could be, we had some ideas for areas of improvement. We felt like looking at Destiny 1 even before it came out we were going to have opportunities to make story better and to improve missions and think about mission development differently. […] But we didn’t understand the importance of something like Quests or what we, Bungie, were going to learn from something like Thorn. You know, those things became these huge pieces of learning, and those […] could only really happen when the game was out in the wild. And I think for us, that’s something we’ve really had to react to.”
Considering how long game development takes, it’s not surprising that work began so early on The Taken King. Many people on the Internet will assume the content has always been on the disc or that Bungie has been finished with The Taken King for a considerable amount of time. But even though we now know that initial design on the expansion began more than a year ago, it’s obvious Bungie’s experience with Destiny over the past year has influenced and changed the direction in to deliver the final product that players are currently playing.