Bungie has been helping to innovate the first person shooter genre since releasing Halo on the original Xbox during the fall of 2001. It’s hard to overstate how much that title influenced the next generation of gaming, giving Microsoft an instant killer-app, redefining multiplayer on home consoles, and setting a new touchstone for level design, weapons mechanics, and first person narratives.
Four Halo sequels followed before Bungie passed the series off to 343 Industries, and began focusing on their first new intellectual property in over a decade. This week’s new release, Destiny, is the long-gestating product of that effort, and the result is a mix of a classic first person shooter, role playing game, and expansive MMO – all wrapped in the kind of action, competition, and storytelling the studio built its fan base on.
Among the team helping to create the world of Destiny were a group of seven Full Sail graduates who worked in roles such as gameplay designer, multiplayer designer, and quality assurance tester at Bungie’s Bellevue, Washington studio.
- Danny Bulla (2006 Game Development graduate; gameplay designer)
- Alex Gendron (2012 Game Development graduate; tester)
- Joey Gibbs (2010 Game Design graduate; production assistant)
- Josh Hamrick (2006 Game Development graduate; senior gameplay designer)
- Shaun Martin (2012 Game Design graduate; content BVT tester)
- Ryan Paradis (2006 Game Development graduate; world systems designer)
- Kevin Joel Yanes (2010 Game Development graduate; multiplayer designer)
2006 Game Development grad Josh Hamrick has been at Bungie since the beginning of the project, working as senior gameplay designer to help tune the feel of the character movement, environment physics, and the weapons response. While he knew they were creating a new kind of experience for players with Destiny, it wasn’t until this summer’s open testing with the public when he gained some perspective on what all those years of development had produced.
“When we finally got people to play it during the Alpha and Beta tests the Internet kind of blew up on us in the best way possible, in the way that it never really does,” he says. “We just sat back with these goofy grins on our faces – to watch people react so strongly and be so happy about the whole thing was just insane.”
Destiny will be available on September 9, 2014 for the Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. Even after nearly five years spent helping bring the game to life, you can still expect Josh to be waiting on the other end of a headset to square off against new players.
“During all this time I’ve been most looking forward to playing it – getting to go up against the public and just play with a large group of people,” he says. “As a guy who always wanted to work at Bungie, and as much as I love Halo, I would be thrilled to be on a project as big as it and inspires people the way that game did for me. I hope we do it, it certainly feels promising because people are being very nice to us, they’re digging it so far. Hopefully we’re the game people go to in order to get them through the cold winter ahead.”