When Destiny originally launched last year in September 2014, many people were surprised by the lack of story and depth that the original, or vanilla, Destiny carried when it was released.
Earlier this year, court documents revealed that part of the major delays were because of the fact that the game’s story was changed substantially right before its original target date in September 2013.
Jason Schreier from Kotaku reported that the leadership at Activision and Bungie thought that the story was “too campy and linear” and decided to start the whole story from scratch which would scrap the original plot to find the lost Warmind, Rasputin. Rasputin is still in the current version of Destiny, but is relegated to listening to classical music in a bunker on Earth.
Joe Staten’s original story followed a linear path with major cut scenes before and after missions, and within the first couple missions all of the planets, including the moon which is not a planet, but still a location in the Destiny world, would be accessible to players. After seeing a two hour supercut of these cutscenes and the entire story laid out, the studio leadership at Bungie didn’t like it and wanted to start over.
“In the summer of 2013, just over a year before Destiny came out, the story got a full reboot, according to six people who were there,” Schreier reported, “Bungie ditched everything Joe Staten and his team had written, reworking Destiny’s entire structure as they scrapped plot threads, overhauled characters, and rewrote most of the dialogue. The decision was made against Staten’s wishes, sources say. Destiny project lead Jason Jones and the rest of senior leadership were unhappy with the writing team’s supercut, and their reaction was to scrap it all.”
“So in July of 2013, Bungie’s leadership decided to totally reboot Destiny’s story,” Schreier continued, “They kept much of the lore and mythology—the Traveler, the idea of Guardians, enemy races like Cabal and Vex—but they overhauled Staten’s entire plot.”
Other interesting notes include how the Dreadnaught was originally called Comet and was supposed to be in Destiny’s original release while players chased to save Rasputin. Schreier explained, “Alien Hive would have kidnapped the machine and brought him to their Dreadnaught spaceship, which was later cut from vanilla Destiny and moved to The Taken King. Originally, this Hive ship would have been part of the main story. “The entire last third of the game took place on the Dreadnaught with you rescuing Rasputin,” said one person who worked on the game.”
The full Kotaku report is worth the read and can be found here.