Senior ‘Destiny’ Designer Heads to Bethesda

By | 2 years ago 

On first glance, the Halo and The Elder Scrolls series are nothing alike. One is a set of sci-fi first-person shooters with  tightly controlled, cinematic stories and competitive multiplayer modes. The other is made up of medieval fantasy role-playing games that prioritize world-building over all else, offering gamers hundreds of hours’ worth of single player content that they can explore at their own pace. They’re both great franchises, but they have almost nothing in common.

Until now. Last Friday, designer Josh Hamrick took to social media to announce his immediate departure from Bungie, the developer behind Halo and Destiny, in favor of a new job at Bethesda Studios, the company that makes the Elder Scrolls and Fallout.

From all indications, the split between Hamrick and Bungie was amicable. Hamrick sends his best wishes to both his former coworkers and Bungie’s legion of fans (particularly members of its official fan club, the 7th Column), and implies that his reasons for leaving Bungie were personal: Hamrick says he’s excited for both “new challenges” as well living closer to his family (Bungie is in Washington state, while Bethesda is located in Maryland).

Hamrick worked at Bungie for about six years; previously, he was employed at Midway Austin, where he worked on BlackSite: Area 51. At Bungie, Hamrick worked on Halo: Reach and Destiny. Hamrick regularly appeared in interviews, videos, and podcasts (he’s commonly known as “Mr. Space Magic,” thanks to a video from E3 2013), and was a feared competitor in Bungie’s Weekend Champion tournaments, during which Bungie developers competed against one another in Destiny’s early multiplayer.

Josh Hamrick Weekend Champion

Hamrick didn’t say anything about his next project, but it will likely involve either the Fallout or Elder Scrolls franchises. Bethesda is split into two groups: Bethesda Game Studios, which spearheads those two series, and Bethesda SoftWorks, which publishes games based on licensed properties, as well as the most recent installments of classic franchises like Doom and Wolfenstein. Both studios have their own Twitter accounts, and Hamrick calls out the former specifically in his announcement. Yes, that could be a typo, but it would be an awfully big one.

Given Hamrick’s experience, a move to Fallout or the next Elder Scrolls game makes a lot of sense. With Destiny, Bungie tried to fuse first-person shooting with open-world sandbox mechanics. While some critics argue that Destiny’s fusion of these two styles isn’t completely successful, the game has clearly caught on with gamers. With Destiny under his belt, as well as work as a Sandbox Designer on Halo: Reach, open-world gameplay is clearly Hamrick’s strong suit, and it’ll be exciting to see how he’ll be able to leverage Bethesda’s decades of experience in that area.

Source: Josh Hamrick