We had the chance to throw a few questions at the devs behind Destiny 2: Forsaken

The following are responses from Scott Taylor, project lead on Forsaken, and Steve Cotton, game director on the new expansion.

How long has the expansion been in planning for?

Scott Taylor, Project Lead of Destiny Forsaken: “We’ve been working on Forsaken since before Destiny 2 came out. We knew we wanted to do cool stuff like Gambit, the two new destinations, have Cayde die and a bunch of other exciting features of Forsaken for a bit.” 

What’s the first thing – developer wise – that happens when adding an expansion to the game?

ST: “When we first kicked off Forsaken, the first thing you do is you start looking at when you want it to come out and then you go about figuring out the core team of people who are going to be working on the concept. You then go into concepting and while you’re doing the concepting you’re figuring out how you can accomplish everything you want to do and then you set the team up to be in production and you’re off and going. So, it’s not unlike any other project. You look at the state of the game when informing what you’re doing but apart from that follow the pre-production, production and closing model like anything else.” 

What can you tell us about the new enemy type, the Scorn, and the Barons?

Steve Cotton, Game Director of Destiny Forsaken: “The Barons are the group of bad guys who are in the Prison of Elders and part of the gang that kills Cayde. They’re the ones you’re going to want to seek revenge on, track down and get through before you end up ultimately getting revenge on Aldrin. The Scorn are the new combatant race in Forsaken. They are a group of resurrected fallen corrupted by dark ether. One of The Barons, The Fanatic is able to resurrect these fallen. The Scorn are a completely new combatant race. They’re one of the most interesting races since the original Destiny. They really change the way you play the game. They’re more aggressive, they have different areas which are their critical hit areas, so you have to get used to playing very differently around them and they have different mechanics like totems and things like that are really exciting.” 

Where did the inspiration for the campaign’s story come from? Were you always going in a darker direction?

SC: “When we sat down to think about it we always wanted to do something a little bit different. We wanted to tell a darker story with a Western vibe and so those ideas played into the concept of the story and it turned into a story about getting revenge for Cayde’s death. We wanted to have that revenge story play out and have the player really want to get revenge, track down these Barons, this gang which was responsible for Cayde’s death, and ultimately track down Uldren.”

 How does development on the new class supers usually happen?

SC: “When the Sandbox team thinks about anything that we might add to the game from a Sandbox perspective, they always begin with an idea fantasy that they want to achieve. Whether weapons, exotics or armour. But definitely the new abilities. They think about what the fantasy is they want to achieve. Then they start working on the atoms that are going to make that fantasy a possibility, they get it into the game, they play with it and see if it’s something that’s working and actually fun. They iterate from there. The example I’d use, one of my favourites from Forsaken, the Solar Titan’s new hammer super is one where the Sandbox team had this idea of a tornado of death. They wanted the player to feel like a tornado. So, you would get this hammer out, swing to attack an opponent and every time you connect, you’d get another swing and it would be faster. So, when you go into a big enemy, you trigger this super and go in with your hammer, you hit them over and over again and feel like this tornado. It goes from a fantasy and a concept of a fantasy to actually being a super in the game.”

When developing new weapons, do you have single or multiplayer in mind, or do you try to focus on both?

SC: “In the Sandbox team, the team that is responsible for the abilities and the supers is also responsible for the weapons. When they start down the path of designing the new weapons the most important thing is that the weapons achieve a fantasy that the players want to go after in the game and want to use to get more powerful. Another big, important component is how does this weapon work in relation to other weapons so there’s a sense of balance that’s required. Not just PVP but the PVE game as well. The best way to think about it is the weapons in Destiny need to be good weapons for both PVE and PVP and the Sandbox team thinks about both when doing it.”

What can you tell us about the new raid?

ST: “One of the things we’re most excited about in Destiny 2 Forsaken is discovery. One of the things we’re always looking for is players discovering the raid by themselves on launch day. We all gather in the theatres and watch as players compete for the world’s first. The one thing I can confirm today is that the new raid has a story that is tied to the campaign and general form of Forsaken and takes place in the dreaming city, our all new endgame destination.”

 Why did you decide Forsaken was the right time to introduce Gambit, and will it have its own PVP queue?

ST: “Even before Destiny 2 came out we were excited about Forsaken introducing a new way to play Destiny. We set up a team to start exploring options and they ended up building Gambit. Now Gambit is a whole new way to play Destiny, it’s not PVP, it’s not PVE, it’s a combination of the two, an intoxicating mix of invading other enemies, defeating other guardians and getting cool rewards. There’s never been anything quite like Gambit in Destiny before, although ironically, it’s one of the most ‘Destiny’ things we’ve ever made. It’s not part of Crucible, Gambit has its own node on the top of the director, its own playlist and its own ranking system, along with the new character called The Drifter, who has bounties, exciting gear to collect and a whole new set of law, all his own. Gambit is part of Forsaken, which Destiny is meant to be.”

What’s the story behind weapons slot changes? How long ago did you decide you wanted to give that much freedom to the players and what did it take to implement?

SC: “The changes to weapons for us and for Forsaken literally started with Destiny 2. We actually wanted to give more flexibility with weapons overall for players to be able to use a variety of weapons and use things like two types of the same weapon or two hand cannons or an auto rifle and a scalp, we wanted to give them the ability to have loadouts like that. It wasn’t fully released in Destiny 2, so in Forsaken we are making some change to how weapon slots work, because we want to get weapons like sniper rifles, shotguns and fusion rifles back into players hands more because those weapons really had a tendency to really change up the way encounters would work and the tactical nature of the gameplay. So, the weapon slots in Forsaken are exciting because they do both of those things. They give players the flexibility to play weapons in their kinetic slot or their energy slot that our similar. So, you can roll a shotgun as a kinetic or use a shotgun as your energy weapon. What this is going to do is give real players pretty interesting decisions to make about which weapon type they want to use to bring down shields, what weapon types they want to use to have more ammo and reliable uptime. We’re really excited about what the weapons slits are going to do for Forsaken and Destiny from here on out.”

How long have you wanted to introduce Bows as a weapon type for? What kind of players do they appeal to?

ST: “Actually, we’ve had conversations about Bows going back to before The Taken King, but it really crystallised as we were getting the theme together for Forsaken. That we wanted to have a new weapon archetype that aligned with the release, and delivered a new and unexpected player fantasy, and the Bow does that. It feels incredible to have the Bow and shoot, do precision kills and run around with this Bow on your back. It appeals to players who like having control of their shots.”

If players come back to Destiny 2: Forsaken for one thing only, what do you think that should be?

SC: “The thing that excites me the most about players getting into Forsaken or coming back or playing for the first time is the total package. That the culmination of everything that we’ve been working towards for this whole year, all the updates to the game, to the live game and all the additions and things that we’re are bringing into Forsaken, with the new experience, Gambit, the new supers, the new architype, the Bow. So, I really think the reason it’s a good time to get into Destiny is because this is the best that Destiny has been, this is what Destiny was born to be.”

Destiny 2: Forsaken is out September 4