After the release of Halo 3 in 2007, many expected developer Bungie to move on to something new — but soon after, the studio would announce both the single-player ODST expansion and a prequel subtitled Reach. Now, it has emerged that the latter project served as something of a training ground for staff before work began on Destiny.
Bungie started pre-production on Destiny while Halo: Reach was in its final stages of development. Management knew that the project would be a huge undertaking, so with one eye on the future, decisions were made that would hopefully benefit both projects.
"Halo was a high production cost, but this was epic. From that moment, [we realized] we needed to bring extra people on to Halo to train them up, ready [them] for Destiny," said Bungie executive Jonty Barnes in a recent interview looking back at the studio's recent history.
Certain parts of the Reach team were actually overstaffed, because Bungie was already thinking about the resources it would need available once the development of Destiny got into full swing. Looking at the finished product, both games would seem to require plenty of staff with similar skills, but this wasn't necessarily the case along the way.
Barnes also reveals that, at one point, Destiny was being conceived as a third-person shooter. This would certainly have been a major diversion from the game that finally saw release, and it's difficult to say whether the project would have enjoyed the enormous success that it has over the past few years.
However, it was soon decided upon that the decision to make the game third-person was largely inspired by a desire to do something different, after years on the Halo series. Given that many of the staff at Bungie had joined the studio explicitly because of their desire to work first-person shooters and their abilities in that arena, management decided to play to their strengths.
Destiny is available now for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.