Although Destiny has proved to be a huge commercial success for Bungie, the title has not been without its share of criticism. The popular multiplayer MMORPG/shooter hybrid was seen as a disappointment by some upon launch, due to a perceived lack of deep content or story. Meanwhile, others have been put off by the excessive pricing of DLC packs, with upcoming The Taken King DLC retailing for $40.00.
There has been turmoil behind the scenes at Bungie as well, with the Destiny developer caught up in a vicious legal battle against former in-house composer Marty O’Donnell. The dispute ended with O’Donnell entitled to $142,500, after allegations that Bungie had acted unlawfully when cancelling his contract. Now, the truth is out, with the lawsuit revealing that O’Donnell’s dismissal was the result of a long dispute between the composer and Activision’s marketing team, who wanted to score the Destiny trailers without O’Donnell’s involvement.
That was not the only detail to be revealed by the legal dispute, however, with plenty of details surrounding the working of Bungie disclosed over the course of the legal process. In fact, the information revealed sheds light on one of the biggest fan complaints surrounding Destiny: the lack of story. According to reports first discovered by VentureBeat, Bungie actually reworked Destiny’s story late in the development process, and led to a series of delays alongside the behind-the-scenes friction between O’Donnell and Activision.
The details reveal that Destiny was originally set to be released in September 2013, but was subject to several delays. As has previously been suspected, the title received a huge plot and narrative reworking as late in the development period as August 2013, which forced Bungie to look at a later release window of March 2014. The information revealed from the lawsuit also shows that O’Donnell’s friction with Activision and Bungie may have led to further delays, with an unengaged attitude cited as a reason for O’Donnell’s termination as the game was pushed back to September 2014.
The extensive rewriting of the game’s story does explain why many fans were left disappointed in the overall plot of Destiny. Upon release, failure to provide a compelling narrative was one of the main complaints levelled at the title, with many gamers criticizing the lukewarm reasons for exactly why the player was engaged in such violent extra-terrestrial combat. Rumors have suggested that there was a much more complex story planned, but unfortunately it never arrived.
The result of the legal dispute will not make easy reading for Bungie, and nor will some of the documents that have been unveiled over the course of the lawsuit. Although some Destiny players may understand exactly why the game’s story was eventually a little on the shallow side, it won’t stop many from wondering what might have been. Let’s see whether The Taken King will give players some of the answers they have been looking for.